Winter Haven Chain of Lakes

Polk County

Winter Haven Chain of LakesLocated within the city of Winter Haven, nine lakes compose this 6000-acre chain where fishing and boating are extremely popular. Boat and shore access to the South Chain are available at lakes Summit, Shipp, Howard, Cannon, and Hartridge. The North Chain can be accessed through lakes Conine, Rochelle, and Haines. Fish attractors are located and marked in lakes Summit, Winterset, Cannon, Smart, and Haines. Bass anglers achieve success by "flipping" plastic worms around shoreline plants such as cattail and maidencane, as well as docks.



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 the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes:

Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 132

Trophy Club (10 – 12.9 pounds): 13

Hall of Fame Club (13+ pounds): 4


Current Forecast:

Navigation between lakes has improved with heavy summer rains this year. Look for schooling Largemouth Bass over eelgrass patches, and fish them with shad-imitating lures. Soft plastic lures in Junebug, green pumpkin, and red shad colors will produce Bass around shoreline vegetation. Fish with live wild shiners for the best chance at some big Bass over submerged vegetation. As water temperatures drop in early winter, Largemouth Bass can be caught on the deeper contours this unique system offers. Shell beds and deep submerged vegetation will congregate fish that can make for an exciting day on the water once you get the schools activated. Bluegill (bream) and Redear Sunfish (shellcracker) fishing will begin to slow as spawning congregations disperse. Use crickets and red wigglers fished under a cork for Bluegill and shellcracker, respectively. Black Crappie (specks) fishing should improve as the water temperatures cool in the fall. Try live Missouri minnows drifted over deeper holes in open water. Catfish can be found in the deeper holes in the lakes. Use chicken liver, commercial stinkbaits, and frozen shrimp on the bottom or under a cork. Tight lines!


FWC Facts:
Dolphin, or mahi-mahi, grow remarkably fast, reaching sexual maturity in just 4-5 months, and growing up to 3 feet in one year.

Learn More at AskFWC