This 5850-acre lake has a "little" northern area and a "big" southern arm connected by "the pass" where shad school and fishing is usually good for schooling largemouth and stocked sunshine bass. Numerous homes surround the lake, most with docks and ski boats; fishing is always best early and late or at night and on weekdays. In spite of development, the fish habitat is outstanding with many areas of cypress and healthy maidencane grass beds.
Local contact: Chappini's Bait & Tackle 352-475-9496
Bluegill and redear can be found around docks and cypress trees scattered around the lake. Target those fish using crickets, earthworms, and grass shrimp. If you are targeting black crappie, the cooling water temperatures should have the fish moving up into shallow grass and floating pads. Anglers should target holes in the pads and grass shorelines using minnows and small artificial jigs under floats or tight-lined. As with the crappie, cooling water temperatures should bring the bass closer to shore in preparation for the spawn. Anglers should look for bass in near-shore maidencane beds, under docks, and around cypress trees. Soft plastics flipped, pitched, or dragged near structure or around holes in the vegetation should draw strikes. Anglers looking to target larger bass should consider slow-trolling live golden shiners along near-shore grasslines. As with Lake Sampson, keep an eye open for roving schools of feeding sunshine bass offshore. Look for birds diving or surface commotion to find these feeding fish. Approach these feeding schools with stealth, and you should be able to catch multiple fish before the action stops. Effective lures include anything shiny, white, or minnow-shaped. Be prepared for either schooling largemouth bass or sunshine bass, as they can both display the same feeding behavior offshore. Look for the cooling water temperatures in the coming months to improve bass and crappie fishing as these fish move in closer to shore.
As we approach the cooler months and cooler water temperatures that follow, largemouth bass fishing should improve. Larger spawning fish should become more vulnerable to anglers, resulting in the possibility of some truly impressive catches. Register online with FWC’s TrophyCatch program and enter your trophy bass for a chance to win prizes and help provide FWC biologists with valuable information. There were several recent rule changes to the Trophy Catch program that anglers will want to note.