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
During our latest surveys completed March 2013 we found lots of bass lurking in the dead grass beds on the north-west side of the big lake. Little Lake Santa Fe seems to be holding larger fish but the big lake returned higher numbers of bass per sample site. Keep looking for those tagged fish. Bass numbers are still high with sample catch rates higher than past years. Chunky bluegill and redear sunfish are still common around flooded cypress trees and the specks started hitting again in late March. Crickets, earthworms, and grass shrimp are always good choices of bait for panfish. Rubber worms or suspending jerk baits fished along the maidencane edge and through the dead grass can be very effective on largemouth bass and chain pickerel. Fishing over submerged structure in the deeper portions of the lake can also be a productive approach.