Saddle Creek Park is a series of phosphate pits on 740 acres of mined phosphate land east of Lakeland off U.S. Route 92 in Polk County. The park provides convenient opportunities for family outings, picnics, boating, and fishing. An abundance of bank fishing makes this a unique Fish Management Area. Channel catfish are stocked regularly by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and largemouth bass are popular with Saddle Creek anglers. The special regulations on largemouth bass (15-24 inch protective slot limit, 3 fish bag limit) and catfish (6 fish bag limit) are needed to maintain desirable fish populations under intense fishing pressure. Fish feeders are operated and maintained near a number of bank fishing sites. Fishing for catfish and bluegill is often good in these areas. Willow is the major shoreline vegetation. There are a number of public boat ramps on Saddle Creek Park Road, which runs through the middle of the park.
For more information contact Phillips Bait and Tackle at 863-666-2248.
Anglers can also check out this outstanding Web site.
TrophyCatch is FWC's citizen-science program that rewards anglers for documenting and releasing trophy bass 8 pounds or larger. The following TrophyCatch bass have been submitted from Saddle Creek:
Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 10
Trophy Club (10 – 12.9 pounds): 2
Bank fishing opportunities here, as well as boat fishing, are excellent. Numerous open bank spots, two fishing piers and five public boat ramps give anglers several options for fishing the park’s three lakes. Bluegill (bream) fishing is good, with the warmer water concentrating fish in spawning areas or around vegetation, where they can be caught with crickets and red wigglers. Be sure to fish around the full and new moons for some of the better action. Catfish are being caught on chicken livers and commercial stinkbaits around deeper holes. Largemouth bass fishing can be explosive at times and the lakes support some very large bass. Use live wild shiners for the best action, and try plastic worms in Junebug, red shad, and Christmas colors fished slowly along the edges and near drop-offs. In the late afternoon, keep an eye out for schooling bass chasing shad. Try throwing shad imitating or topwater baits for some quick action. Black crappie (specks) fishing is slow, but a few fish can still be caught. Live Missouri minnows and small jigs trolled or drifted are the best bets for specks. Night time fishing for several fish species can be productive as well.