Scenic photo of Lake Istokpoga

Highlands County

Located five miles northeast of Lake Placid, Highlands County, this 27,692-acre lake has quality fishing for black crappie (specks) and one of the highest largemouth bass catch rates in the state. The best speck fishing occurs during winter months drifting over open water, particularly in the northeast and southwest corners. Predominant aquatic vegetation includes spadderdock (bonnets), bulrush (buggy whips), cattail, and pondweed (pepper grass). Kissimmee grass on the south end is particularly productive when there is flow into the Istokpoga Canal. This canal, located off County Highway 621, provides excellent largemouth bass fishing from the bank when the gates are open. Arbuckle and Josephine Creek mouths are also good areas when there is flow. The island areas and associated grass can hold bass any time of year and the deepest portion of the lake (10 ft) is in the southwest corner. Public boat ramps are located on the north, northeast, and southwest shorelines off of U.S. Route 98, Lake Boulevard off Cow House Road, and Highland Lake Drive off of County Route 621, respectively. There are also six fish camps/resorts on the lake with various accommodations. Anglers can wade fish off of the Cow House Road boat ramp.

For more information contact Henderson's Fish Camp at 863/465-2101, or Cypress Isle RV Park & Marina at 863-465-5241.

Special Regulations for Largemouth Bass on Lake Istokpoga. A slot limit protects quality largemouth bass by requiring that all bass between 15 and 24 inches in length must be immediately released back into the lake. The daily bag limit is three fish per day. Only one of the three fish may be greater than 24 inches. This means you may keep three bass less than 15 inches, or two bass less than 15 inches and one bass greater than 24 inches. For more information on the special regulations or tournament exemptions, contact  Bill Pouder at (863)648-3200.

Fishhound External Website also offers a fishing forecast for Lake Istokpoga External Website.

 Current Forecast:

Lake Istokpoga is one of the best lakes in the state at having a chance to get your hands on a fish of a lifetime. Largemouth Bass fishing has been red-hot in Lake Istokpoga and should only improve as water temperatures continue to drop over the next few months. As of September 2015, there have been a whopping 233 TrophyCatch submissions of bass larger than 8 pounds since the program was launched in October 2012. Lake Istokpoga continues to lead the state in Trophy Catch submissions for any single resource and is second only to the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes for total fish submitted. A total of 187 fish have been entered into the Lunker Club (8-9.99 lb) and 46 into Trophy Club (10-12.99 lb). Remember, as part of the TrophyCatch program, all these big bass have been released, so your trophy still swims in Lake Istokpoga.  Try using lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits in areas with moving water. Also try plastic worms and lizards in Junebug and red shad colors to fish offshore hydrilla beds when the bite slows down.  Fishing with live wild shiners will be the best bet for larger bass during late fall and early winter.  Black Crappie (specks) fishing is slow right now, but should really get going as the water temperature drops.  Fish with live Missouri minnows under a cork, or troll with small spinners and jigs for some good speck action.  The best areas to target specks are Henderson’s Cove, deeper cuts around the islands, and open water areas near submersed vegetation.  Bluegill (bream) and Redear Sunfish (shellcracker) fishing will begin to slow over the next month as spawning slows down, and many anglers will begin to fish for specks.  Bass and crappie have been tagged on the lake.  If you catch a tagged fish, remember to remove the tag and call the number provided.  You will need it to collect your reward!

FWC Facts:
Least killifish rarely exceed 1 inch in length and are the smallest of Florida’s freshwater fish.

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