Lake Sampson and Lake Rowell (Bradford County):

Scenic photo of Lake SampsonBradford County

FWC recently completed a fish community survey on Lake Sampson. Good numbers of bluegill and redear sunfish were found in the south and southwest side of the lake. Live bait, such as earthworms and crickets, is a good choice for bream and can be fished around vegetation in the shallower portions of the lakes and around the masses of vegetation away from shore. Forage fish are abundant in the northern portions of the lake which may attract largemouth bass and pickerel. Also, don't forget to fish any structure you might find in deeper areas late in the year. Bass anglers still tend to head into Lake Rowell where the numbers of larger fish may be better, but keep looking for new areas in Lake Sampson as well. Texas-rigged soft plastics and crankbaits are some of the most popular choices. At the time of this writing, water levels in these lakes were still high enough to allow boat anglers to access Lake Sampson. Additionally, water levels were high enough to prevent some anglers from passing under the railroad trestle to access Lake Rowell; however, most low or small boats can still pass.

Local contact: The Slab 904-964-9374

 Current Forecast:

Bluegill and redear sunfish can be found all over the lake.  Warm spring temperatures will push bream up into shallow waters in preparation for the spawn.  Live bait, such as earthworms, crickets, and grass shrimp are good choices for bream.  Small artificial lures such as beetle spins and small jigs can be effective.  For a real treat, break out your light-weight fly rod and target bedding bream using small popping bugs and rubber spiders.  These aggressive panfish can be a lot of fun on light fly tackle.  Depending on the weather and water temperatures, most of the bass should have spawned already.  Don’t be surprised to find a few fish still on beds however.  Bass anglers should target these shallow-water bass using soft plastics such as worms and flukes or topwater baits.  A proven tactic on these lakes is to target bass in deeper open waters using search baits such as rattletraps or spinnerbaits.  Crappie could still be in shallow looking to spawn.  If fish are in the shallows, target them using small jigs and minnows fished around vegetation – especially floating pads.  Keep an eye out for sunshine bass schooling and feeding on shad at the surface of Lake Sampson as well.  If you happen to see these aggressive fish busting bait, quickly make your way to the activity, but quietly close the final distance with a trolling motor to avoid spooking the fish and driving the school down.  Anything white, shiny, or minnow-shaped should produce strikes in this situation.


FWC Facts:
The FWC operates two freshwater fish hatcheries: the Florida Bass Conservation Center in Sumter County, and the Blackwater Hatchery in Santa Rosa County.

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