Lakes & Marion counties
There are approximately 600 natural lakes in the Ocala National Forest with lakes Bryant, Mill Dam, Kerr, Crooked, Wildcat, Lou Echo, Grasshopper, Eaton and Quarry Fish Pond being the most popular. A booklet titles "Fishing Opportunities in the Ocala National Forest" by the Ocala National Forest Interpretive Association is available at the Visitors Welcome Center at the intersection of S.R. 40 and C.R. 315. This booklet describes sport fishing locations, with recommendations for fishing methods and accessibility, as well as a topographic map.
Note: Lake Wildcat has a special regulation requiring all largemouth bass to be released immediately.
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 the various Ocala National Forest Lakes:
Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 5
Trophy Club (10 – 12.9 pounds): 5
As we move into the spring, largemouth bass fishing in the Ocala National Forest should improve. Live baits always work well. Shiners free-lined near weed lines can be effective, as can live worms. Soft jerk baits rigged weedless are also proven. Casting such lures into the weed line, then walking the lure on the surface to about 5 feet from the weed line, then letting it slowly sink to the bottom can be effective. As the water temperatures warm in late spring, fish will become more responsive to more aggressive lures and faster presentations. For a chance at a true giant, fish Wildcat Lake (Lake County) before and during the spawn. Remember, Wildcat Lake is catch and release only for Largemouth Bass, so bring a camera.