Florida is one of the best states to visit for freshwater fishing trips. It has over 7,500 lakes in addition to numerous reservoirs and rivers, with dozens of different fish species to catch. You're so spoiled for choice that it can be difficult to pick the best spots for freshwater fishing if you're planning a trip. Here's a list of some of my favorite locations.
Also known as Lake Toho, this is an 18,000 acre lake that is part of the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, just south of the city named Kissimmee. It is well known for both a high catch rate and enormous largemouth bass among trophy fisherman, which is why it is used for many large tournaments. It has five ramps, two piers, and numerous spots along the shore. A lot of enhancements have been added to help attract fish in concentrated areas, to make it easier to find hopping fishing spots while out on your boat.
This is the biggest lake in Florida at almost 450,000 acres, and also one of the best lakes for fishing in the whole of the United States. Some of the largest global fishing tournaments are held at Lake Okeechobee, which helps boost its profile for international anglers. Its size helps to prevent it becoming too crowded, and a number of restorative measures are taken to ensure the fish population can continually thrive. For bass fishing, the north and west sides have the biggest concentrations but there are also has plenty of good spots along the shoreline. This is a mainly catch-and-release fishing spot, however, so keep that in mind if you wanted a trophy.
Lake Harris is the largest of the Harris Chain of Lakes, at around 14,000 acres. It might not be as big or as popular as the first two, but that can have its own appeal. You'll see far fewer boat traffic at any time compared to more popular lakes, and for a specific reason. Around 20 years ago it was much more popular, but due to numerous factors, the fish population plummeted. Most anglers avoided it. However, in the last several years, a concerted effort to replant reeds and other plants has helped to replenish the fish population. Now you'll find lots of lily pads and grass as well, making it great quiet and scenic spot for good quality fishing once more.
Around 20 miles southeast of the city of Gainesville, is the 12,500 acre Orange Lake that is known for its heavy vegetation. The quality of fishing here is characterized by peaks and valleys — during a drought, its connection to the Floridan Aquifer causes Orange Lake to enter a drawdown period. During such a period, the quality of fishing declines sharply, but when the water levels return to normal the fishing opportunities increase by a lot too. If you're planning a fishing trip, check the status of Lake Orange's water levels before you leave. If they're good, it can be a great spot to visit.
Lake Lochloose is very close to Orange Lake, but very different. It is smaller, at only 5,700 acres, and is surrounded by cypress trees draped by moss and patches of grass rather than lily pads. There is a public pier south of the town with the same name, as well as a public boat ramp off the highway. Due to its smaller size, it is not frequented as much as other bigger and more popular lakes, but the cypress trees make it a very scenic fishing spot full of largemouth bass in the 8 to 12 pound range.
Steven Seigel is the owner of Ultimate Fishing Charters in Miami. He has been providing clients access to the highest quality luxury fishing charters nationwide, and have a love for travel. Steven has worked with a wide array of world travellers including fishermen, families, first timers, corporate groups, VIP’s and celebrities. He went from specializing only in day charters, to higher-end multi-day charters in a number of exotic locations and offers the most exclusive fishing & diving packages available around the world. Steven love to share his travel advice and stories with the novice and more advanced adventure seeker, and hope to continue doing it for many years to come.