The following is a generalized quarterly fishing forecast for the Fish Orlando! program. For even more up-to-date information, we suggest you call or visit a local bait-and-tackle shop or guide service. At times we will provide information for some local contacts, which indicated they were willing to be listed herein.
Fish Orlando!'s mission is to create and promote convenient, quality fishing opportunities in the greater Orlando area. Initiated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) in 1998, the program is supported by the City of Orlando, City of Ocoee, City of Winter Park, Orange County, BASS PRO SHOPS and a variety of other businesses and volunteer/civic groups.
For a complete listing of directions to public fishing opportunities in Orange County, contact our office for a free copy of the Fish Orlando! Fishing Map (1601 Scotty's Road, Kissimmee, Florida 34744; phone: 352-732-1225; email: fishorlando@MyFWC.com).
New "Fish Orlando!" iPhone App now available!
This app will give you key information about the "Fish Orlando!" sites, where they are, their amenities, what the target species are at each location, and even a map to show you the way. More information is available at the iTunes store or by searching "Fish Orlando" in the App Store on your iPhone.
New Weekly Freshwater Fishing Guide Reports brought to you by the Wildlife Foundation of Florida.
Starke Lake: Largemouth bass should be done spawning and will have moved into deeper water. Try the fish attractors (marked with a yellow FWC buoy) and recently refurbished in January 2014, with Texas-rigged plastic worms or shaky-head jig/worm combo. The fish attractors are listed on a topographical map, which can be obtained by emailing or calling the Fish Orlando office (see contact information above). Also look for schooling activity first thing in the morning as the bass in the open water chase shad. Soft jerk baits such as a flukes will work, as will small jigs with shad bodies.
Turkey Lake: Like Starke Lake, largemouth bass should be done with spawning. Try the deeper pads, grassy bottlenecks and main lake points with lipless crankbaits, Carolina-rigged plastics (French fries, seinkos, etc.) and soft jerk baits (flukes). Also try casting a zara spook or devil’s horse on the fish attractors (marked with a yellow FWC buoy and recently refurbished in February 2014). The fish attractors are listed on a topographical map, which can be obtained by emailing or calling the Fish Orlando office (see contact information above). If water levels are up and water temperatures are still at or below 80o F look for the fish to stay inside the emergent grass and be susceptible to soft jerk baits and topwaters. Due to deed restrictions there is no public boat access on Turkey Lake, but the FWC, the City of Orlando and Bass Pro Shops have teamed together to provide a Boat Loaner Program where four Bass Tracker Boats can be rented for only $32 a morning (7 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.; Fri - Sun). Call the City of Orlando’s Bill Frederick Park at 407-299-5581 to reserve a boat Friday – Sunday or a guided fishing trip on Thursdays for $125 (maximum of 2 people).
Lake Underhill: Bass fishing should be good this quarter. The edges of the hydrilla and peppergrass with a weightless seinko, fluke or pegged 4 inch work should produce a bass or two greater than 4 lbs. Topwaters that walk the dog (i.e. zara spook, Sammy, etc.) can be productive along these edges first thing in the morning or right before dark.
Ivanhoe: Try fishing for bass on the numerous drop-offs around the lake with wacky rigged plastics or a Carolina rigged finesse worm. In the first part of the quarter most of the fish should still be relatively shallow (6 – 8 feet) with a movement deeper (8 – 12 feet) as the weather turns warmer in May and June. Schooling activity is also a possibility, especially around the aerator diffusers. The diffusers are easily found by the bubbles coming up from the bottom. A rattletrap fished quickly or another shad imitating crankbait or lure will usually catch the schoolers.
Clear Lake: Hybrid striped bass fishing slows down this quarter and the channel catfish action picks up. Liver fished on the bottom around the numerous dredge holes should provide good action for channel catfish up to 10 lbs. The dredge areas are listed on a topographical map, which can be obtained by emailing or calling the Fish Orlando office (see contact information above). If the dredge holes do not hold fish try fishing the mouths of the numerous canals associated with the lake.
Urban Ponds (Barnett Park Frog Pond, Bear Creek, Lake Island Park, and Santiago): Because the URBAN PONDS are put-and-take channel catfish fisheries and channel catfish are a warm water species, this quarter can be good provided the cormorants did not decimate the fall 2013 stocking. Try fishing chicken liver rigged on a #6 or # 8 hook around the “Baited Fishing Area” signs. Night crawlers, hot dogs, bacon and wigglers are good second choices for bait. Barnett Park was stocked in fall 2013 with some larger catfish so there is a chance some made it through. Bear Creek is scheduled to be stocked with 4,500 channel catfish from our Richloam fish hatchery in April so this should be the hot URBAN POND this spring. Lake Island Park was stocked in fall 2013 at very high rates (3 times the usual amount) in the hopes that the large numbers would overwhelm the bird predation; however, in the last 3 years this has only worked once (Bear Creek in fall 2010). Santiago was stocked in spring 2012 with grow out catfish and like last year should have some action for larger fish. Although channel catfish are the management focus of these small ponds, some decent largemouth bass fishing can be had in Bear Creek and Santiago using wacky rigged finesse plastics and topwater plugs thrown first thing in the morning. Because of their abundant small bluegill, the URBAN PONDS are also a good place to take a kid to catch their first fish. A small piece of worm or biscuit dough fished under a small float is usually all that’s needed. Once again focus your efforts around the “Baited Fishing Area” signs.
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