Highlands County

Lake IstokpogaLocated five miles northeast of Lake Placid, Highlands County, this 27,692-acre lake has quality fishing for black crappie (specks) and one of the highest largemouth bass catch rates in the state. The best speck fishing occurs during winter months drifting over open water, particularly in the northeast and southwest corners. Predominant aquatic vegetation includes spadderdock (bonnets), bulrush (buggy whips), cattail, and pondweed (pepper grass). Kissimmee grass on the south end is particularly productive when there is flow into the Istokpoga Canal. This canal, located off County Highway 621, provides excellent largemouth bass fishing from the bank when the gates are open. Arbuckle and Josephine Creek mouths are also good areas when there is flow. The island areas and associated grass can hold bass any time of year and the deepest portion of the lake (10 ft) is in the southwest corner. Public boat ramps are located on the north, northeast, and southwest shorelines off of U.S. Route 98, Lake Boulevard off Cow House Road, and Highland Lake Drive off of County Route 621, respectively. There are also six fish camps/resorts on the lake with various accommodations. Anglers can wade fish off of the Cow House Road boat ramp.

For more information contact Henderson's Fish Camp at 863/465-2101, or Cypress Isle RV Park & Marina at 863-465-5241.

Fishhound External link also offers a fishing forecast for Lake Istokpoga External link.


Popular species:

Popular fish species

Fish graphics by Duane Raver, Jr.


TrophyCatchTrophyCatch Tracker

TrophyCatch External link 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 Lake Istokpoga:

Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 327

Trophy Club (10 – 12.9 pounds): 74


 Current Forecast:

Bluegill (bream) and redear sunfish (shellcrackers) fishing has improved, with fish congregating in their usual spawning areas. Use crickets and grass shrimp under a cork for bream and red wigglers on or near the bottom for shellcrackers. Locate areas with bulrush, Kissimmee grass, or cattails for the best action. Speck (black crappie) fishing is slow with the warmer water temperature in the lake. Drift live Missouri minnows and grass shrimp in open water, or troll with Napier deer hair jigs and Hal flies for schooling fish. Lake Istokpoga is one of the best lakes in the state at a chance to get your hands on a fish of a lifetime. As of June 2017, there have been a whopping 372 TrophyCatch submissions of bass larger than 8 pounds since the program was launched in October 2012! A total of 303 fish have been entered into the Lunker Club (8-9.99 lb) and 69 into Trophy Club (10-12.99 lb). Remember, as part of the TrophyCatch program, all of these big bass have been released, so your trophy still swims in Lake Istokpoga. Largemouth bass fishing has slowed a bit with the water temperature rising in the lake, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be caught. Slow working baits like large plastic worms or crawfish style baits in Junebug, black and blue, and red shad colors have been the baits of choice during the “dog days of summer.” Just remember you need to have patience while working these baits to entice a bite! As the sun reaches its highest point in the middle of the day, begin flipping thick vegetation with deeper water nearby for bass seeking shade. Usually this technique is most effective when you pair a large weight (3/4 – 1.5oz depending on thickness of cover) with a crawfish style bait to produce a reaction strike from the pigs lurking below the vegetation mats. Braided line and a heavy action rod is critical in landing fish with this technique. Also, bass can be caught shallow when the bluegill spawn throughout the summer months. If you see colonies of bluegill beds don’t hesitate to throw bladed or swim style jigs in black and blue color to catch bass chasing the bluegill.


FWC Facts:
Encouraging youth and families to get outside and enjoy fishing improves health by reducing the potential for obesity and other threats to public health.

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