As bass fishing slows a little with the onset of the post-spawn period, bluegill and redear sunfish angling should pick up as these species begin their own spawn. Butterfly peacock bass fishing should also begin to pick up as the winter chill fades.
Otherwise, little has changed from last quarter and FWC's most recent sampling data remains a good way to pick among the many canals to be found in southeast Florida:
Between October and November 2012, fish in 9 southeast Florida canals were stunned with electricity, netted, weighed, measured, and released unharmed back into the waterway from which they were collected. The overall electrofishing catch rate of largemouth bass was 48 fish over ten-inches-long every hour, 50% higher than the 1997-2011 average of 32 fish/hour. This increase is due in large part to exceptionally good catches of bass in the West Palm Beach (C-51; 130 fish/hr), Hillsboro (G-08; 106 fish/hr) and Boynton Beach (C-16; 97 fish/hr) canals. A total of 635 largemouth bass >10 inches were counted from 9 canals.
The populations of butterfly peacock in several well-known-to-angler Miami-Dade canals are doing extremely well despite cold water temperatures in January 2010 and a great deal of fishing pressure, a testament to the good conservation ethic of catch and release practiced by many urban canal anglers for butterfly peacock and largemouth bass. The electrofishing catch rates of butterfly peacock larger than ten-inches-long in six Miami-Dade and Broward counties continue to increase from the 2010 winterkill, and in 2012 they averaged 28 fish every hour, up from 25 fish/hr in 2011 and 22 fish/hr in 2010. A total of 208 butterfly peacock >10 inches were counted and released from these canals.
The electrofishing catch rate of bream (bluegill, redear sunfish, Mayan cichlid, and jaguar guapote) was 27 fish over six-inches-long every hour which is lower than the 1997-2011 average of 37 fish/hr. This catch rate is expected to increase as Mayan cichlid continues to recover from cold water temperatures in 2010.
These results are from an annual electrofishing survey designed to monitor sportfish populations in urban canals in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. Each canal is sampled for approximately eight hours and based on these findings, fisheries biologists at the Non-Native Fish Laboratory in Boca Raton predict that anglers will enjoy excellent catches of largemouth bass and butterfly peacock, and good catches of bream this quarter.
The recent survey produced some interesting facts:
--Southeast Florida urban canals produce good numbers of quality largemouth bass but have few “lunkers” over 6 pounds.
--Some of the best canals for largemouth bass were the Tamiami (C-4) and Parkline (L-31W) canals in Miami-Dade County, Hillsboro and Cypress Creek (C-14) canals in Broward County, and West Palm Beach, and Boynton canals in Palm Beach County.
--Some of the best canals for butterfly peacock were the Tamiami, Cutler Drain (C-100), Black Creek (C-1) and Parkline canals.
--The best canals for largemouth bass and butterfly peacock combined were Snake Creek (C-9), and Parkline canals in Miami-Dade County. Low catches of butterfly peacock in north Broward and Palm Beach counties were likely the result of low water temperature related kills experienced early in January 2010. These periodic kills were predicted and expected when butterfly peacock were originally stocked and a few consecutive mild winters will likely enable them to bounce back to historic levels.
--One canal yielded largemouth bass over six pounds, two canals yielded largemouth bass over five pounds, and six canals yielded bass over four pounds. The largest largemouth bass collected this year weighed 8.2 pounds and measured 22.1 inches.
--The highest number of largemouth bass were shocked in the West Palm Beach Canal, and the Tamiami Canal had the most butterfly peacock.
--Three canals yielded butterfly peacock over five pounds, and three canals yielded four pound butterfly peacock. The largest butterfly peacock collected this year weighed 5.2 pounds and measured 20.0 inches.
--Some of the best bream canals were Snake Creek and Tamiami canals in Miami-Dade County, Cypress Creek and Hillsboro canals in Broward Canal, and West Palm Beach and Boynton canals in Palm Beach County.
--Snook and tarpon are found in many southeast Florida canals and the highest numbers of these sportfish were observed in the Tamiami, Snake Creek, and Black Creek canals, all in Miami-Dade County.