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.  These tasty panfish should continue to spawn throughout the summer months, and live bait, such as earthworms, crickets, and grass shrimp are good choices for them.  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 provide a lot of fast action and fun on light fly tackle.  At this point in time, most of the bass should have spawned already.  With increasing water temperatures, anglers should target bass in deeper water, especially on the edges of the maidencane grass.  Flip and pitch jigs and soft plastics or run search baits along the edges of cover.  Another proven tactic on these lakes is to target bass in deeper open waters using search baits such as rattletraps or spinnerbaits.  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:
Four species of black bass occur in Florida's fresh waters. The most popular is the Florida largemouth bass, which can grow to larger than 20 pounds.

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