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Fish Orlando Clear Lake

Size: 313 Acres

Species focus: Hybrid striped bass

Partner: City of Orlando

Target constituency: Neighborhood residents

Amenities: George Barker Park (northeast corner of the lake) has a nice two-lane boat ramp, and 2 fishing piers one of which is equipped with fish feeders. Clear Lake Park (southeast corner of the lake) also has a fishing pier and is located next to a popular hybrid striped bass fishing spot. Two fish attractors and transplanted eelgrass and bulrush aquatic plants complete the list of angler amenities. For more information on George Barker and Clear Lake Parks call the City of Orlando Parks at 407-246-2283.

Fishery: Located in the heart of downtown Orlando, Clear Lake's fishery is about catching, and keeping, hybrid striped bass. Clear lake's green water and abundant shad are perfect for the fast-growing hybrid striper. Raised in the FWC's Richloam hatchery, the hybrid striped bass is a cross between the striped bass and white bass and usually does not reproduce in the wild.

In most cases, the cross stocked is what FWC biologists call a reciprocal cross (i.e. white bass female; striped bass male). The "street" name for the reciprocal cross is the "sunshine bass". The "street" name for the original cross (striped bass female; white bass male) is the "palmetto bass". Patterned after Medard reservoir in Hillsborough County, Clear Lake has been stocked at rates of 50-100 hybrid striped bass fingerlings/acre since April 1999.

Most of the "hybrids" caught are one (8 - 11 inches) and two-year old (12 - 18 inches) fish. Occasionally, however, a larger 3-6 lb fish is hooked (usually age 3 - 5). The majority of Clear Lake's hybrid stripers do not live past age three because the proper summertime refuges do not exist for longevity of this cool water species.

While the hybrid striped bass may be the FWC's management focus for Clear Lake, the lake is also stocked with channel catfish. Other fish that are caught include largemouth bass, black crappie (speck), bluegill, redear sunfish (shellcracker), warmouth, white catfish (they are not actually white but have large heads and cream-colored barbells) and brown bullhead catfish.

General Fishing Tips: The majority of good fishing for the "hybrids" is in the cooler months (November - March). To be consistently successful at catching hybrid striped bass on Clear Lake, pay close attention to the depth finder. Look for dredge holes, drops and baitfish and use crappie minnows or small domestic shiners at varying depths until you find what works.

Regulations: See the Fishing Regulations page for the current rules.

Fish Orlando Ivanhoe

Size: 125 acres

Species focus: Largemouth bass

Partner: City of Orlando

Target constituency: Greater Orlando residents and visitors

Amenities: Located in the heart of downtown Orlando, this beautiful lake can be seen from I-4 around the Ivanhoe exit. Although locals have dubbed this FMA a water skier stronghold, there are several fishing opportunities for fishermen that know when and where to go. Bank anglers can park their car under the shade of the I-4 overpass along Lakeview Drive (located on the south side of the middle lobe).

Boat anglers put in at the ramp on Ivanhoe Blvd (Gaston-Edwards Park) and often have the lake to themselves early in the morning and during the cooler months. Gaston-Edwards Park also has a volleyball court, restaurant, and playground. For more information on Gaston-Edwards Park call the City of Orlando Parks at 407-246-2283.

Fishery: Lake Ivanhoe was selected as a FAB FIVE based on the lake's potential to produce quality size largemouth bass. When patterned properly, this lake can yield 5 fish, 25 lb stringers of bass. As of 2010 it had one of the highest electrofishing catch rates of memorable (greater than or equal to 20 inch) largemouth bass in Florida. Hard work by the City of Orlando's Streets and Stormwater has allowed for abundant submersed vegetation which along with the lake's abundant nutrients creates a good bass fishery.  Although bass in the 10 lb range are not common, the lake does produce an occasional fish in the 8-9 lb range. Because of its proximity to the urban center and its good reputation, it receives some of the highest fishing pressure of any of the Orlando waters.  This can sometimes result in difficulty in patterning the fish; particularly if they are not active. In addition to largemouth bass, Ivanhoe has black crappie (speck), bluegill, redbreast sunfish, redear sunfish, spotted sunfish and warmouth. The lake is not particularly known as a speck fishery and most of the panfish are abundant but less than 6 inches in length.

General Fishing Tips: In the winter/spring look for bass to be on near the bank. Soft jerk baits and spinnerbaits are good lures to start with. In the summer, investigate the drop-offs that have submersed vegetation on the break. A good rig to try is a small 4 inch plastic worm with a small pinch-on weight a foot or so in front of the worm. If the fish are active try lipless crankbaits or hard jerk baits.

Regulations: See the Fishing Regulations page for the current rules.

Fish Orlando Starke Lake

Size: 225 acres

Species focus: Largemouth bass

Partner: City of Ocoee

Target constituency: Ocoee residents

Amenities: The FWC and the City of Ocoee have partnered together to make this one of the most "angler friendly" lakes in the area. Facilities include: a two-lane boat ramp with adjacent outdoor bathrooms; an ADA accessible fishing pier (baited every Tuesday and Thursday by the City of Ocoee); an enhanced shoreline aquascaped for bank fishing; three fish attractors marked with yellow FWC buoys; picnic tables and a fountain. For information on the Lakeshore Park call City of Ocoee Parks and Recreation at 407-905-3180.

Fishery: This Lake is known among FWC biologists as a "bass factory". However, similar to other Orlando waters (with the exception of Johns Lake) the number of trophies (greater than or equal to 24 inches) caught is relatively few. FWC biologists have tried to improve trophy numbers by protecting golden shiners (banning cast netting) and introducing lake chubsuckers in an attempt to provide larger baitfish (forage) associated with trophy bass fisheries.

Because of its amenities and potential for good bass fishing, Starke receives the highest fishing pressure of any of the Fish Orlando waters. Consequently, some fishermen have reported difficult in catching bass in this lake and catch rates in our creels hover around the state average (0.3 bass/man-hr). However, when patterned correctly this bass population can provide outstanding results with 20 - 30 bass in a half day of fishing not uncommon.

Although the management focus on Starke Lake is largemouth bass, Starke also has black crappie (speck), bluegill, redear sunfish (shellcracker), redbreast sunfish, warmouth and brown bullhead catfish. The speck population is characterized by relatively low numbers while the other panfish are abundant but generally less than 6 inches in length.

General Fishing Tips: In winter/spring try flipping or pitching Texas-rigged craws in the Kissimmee grass and cattails. Also try running lipless crank baits or spinnerbaits along the outside edges of the submerged vegetation. In the warmer months those that keep an eye on their depth finder are the most successful.

Carolina rigged plastics, deep diving crankbaits and flukes fished over drop-offs associated with submerged vegetation will fool their fair share. FWC fish attractors are another good place to concentrate during the late spring, summer and early fall. A Texas-rigged worm is a good standby for fishing the attractors.

Regulations: See the Fishing Regulations page for the current rules.

Fish Orlando Turkey Lake

Size: 339 acres

Species focus: Largemouth bass and black crappie

Partner: City of Orlando

Target constituency: Greater Orlando area residents and visitors

Amenities: Featured in BASSMASTER magazine, FLORIDA SPORTSMAN magazine and ESPN's "Casting Crew", Turkey Lake is located just minutes from BASS PRO SHOPS Outdoor World and Universal Studios.  Thanks to cooperation between the FWC, City of Orlando and BASS PRO SHOPS, fishermen can rent a Grizzly aluminum bass boat at the City of Orlando's Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake, for just $32 boat/day.

The boats are equipped with live wells, trolling motors, anchors and depth finders.

In order to maintain quality, boat fishing is limited to four boats, Thursday - Sunday, 6:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Due to deed restrictions, these loaner boats are the only way the public can legally fish Turkey Lake from a watercraft. The City's boat concession area also has some loaner fishing poles equipped with a limited selection of bait and tackle.

While fishing the relatively clear, shallow grassy natural lake is certainly better from a boat, four floating fishing piers help improve the bank fisherman's odds.

Shoreline fishing is available anytime the park is open or 24 hours/day for those camping. The fixed pier has lights and a fish cleaning station. The three primitive floating piers in the primitive camping area have one fish attractor (marked by a yellow FWC buoy) within casting distance.

Three additional fish attractors (also marked by yellow FWC buoys) and 2 aquatic habitat enhancement projects that improved two-thirds of the lake's fisheries habitat round off the list of angler amenities.

Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake offers RV hookups, campsites, primitive cabins (with AC), a swimming pool, numerous picnic pavilions and bathrooms, a kid's playground area, a Frisbee golf course and a "mock-up" of an old historic Florida farm. For boat loaner reservations or information on the park call Bill Frederick Park at 407-246-4486.

Fishery: The bass population covers the full range of opportunities from smaller fish to an occasional fish in the 10 lb range.

However, it primarily is known as a numbers lake for bass less than 16 inches. By continuing the management strategy of developing and protecting good fisheries habitat and limiting harvest and pressure, the bass population should remain strong for years to come.

The black crappie (speck) population offers the angler a great shot at fish over 12 inches. A few "specks" even make it to 14 - 16 inches! Anglers are encouraged not to keep anymore than they can use, as this low to moderately dense population could be susceptible to over fishing. For now, maintaining quality will be accomplished by limiting pressure with the boats. Further regulations, however, may be necessary if a few anglers get "greedy".

Even though largemouth bass and black crappie are the management focus for the lake, there are times when 8-inch plus bluegill are caught off the fishing piers or by black crappie fishermen. Other fish available at Turkey Lake but not caught as frequently, include redear sunfish (shellcracker), warmouth, brown bullhead catfish and channel catfish.

General Fishing Tips: December through April soft jerk baits and top water plugs tossed in the Kissimmee grass, pads and other aquatic vegetation will usually provide good action on largemouth bass. As the water warms, try fishing lipless crank baits, Carolina-rigged and Texas rigged plastics on main lake points, bottlenecks and the fish attractors.

Speck fishing is usually best October - February.  Missouri minnows (also known as fathead or crappie minnows) drifted at various depths under a float and split shot in the south lobe of the lake is one "time-tested" method of catching Turkey Lake "slabs". If no bites are had with this method try slow trolling or drifting without the floats. Don't give up until you've tried different depths and speeds.

Regulations: See the Fishing Regulations page for the current rules.

Fish Orlando Lake Underhill

Size: 147 acres

Species focus: Largemouth bass

Partner: City of Orlando

Target constituency: Greater Orlando residents and visitors

Amenities: Lake Underhill can be seen from the 408 East-West Expressway in east Orlando as the Expressway dissects the lake in half.

Bank fishing is available along the southern shore. A public boat ramp is located in a small park on the east end of the southern lobe. A sidewalk is located along the south lobe perimeter, providing a convenient place to walk, jog, or take your dog for a stroll. For more information on Lake Underhill call City of Orlando Parks at 407-246-2283.

Fishery: Once again credit goes to the City of Orlando's Streets and Stormwater for creating abundant submersed vegetation that drives this outstanding bass fishery.  This combined with the largemouth bass catch-and-release regulation makes Lake Underhill one of the best of the FAB FIVE to catch a memorable (greater than 20 inch) largemouth bass.  Like Lake Ivanhoe, the good bass fishermen, under good conditions, can experience 5 fish stringers that weigh 20 - 25 lbs. At one time Lake Underhill received less fishing pressure than Starke and Ivanhoe, but the news of the good bass fishing has spread in the last five years and it is not uncommon to share this small lake with several bass boats in a given morning or evening.

Other fish that can be caught besides largemouth bass include black crappie (speck), bluegill, redear sunfish (shellcracker), warmouth and white catfish. Similar to Ivanhoe and Starke, the speck fishery is not reputable and the panfish are abundant but usually less than 6 inches.

General Fishing Tips: During the winter/spring, bass fishing is productive near the bank fishing soft plastic baits (e.g. flukes, worms and crawfish) in 5 - 8 feet of water.  During the summer months, try fishing deeper water (i.e. 10 - 18 feet) adjacent to submersed aquatic vegetation using Carolina, Texas or wacky rigged plastic worms. A topwater right before dark or even into dark can often be the ticket to catching the larger bass. The lake can receive heavy Jet Ski traffic in the warmer months so during this time fish early in the morning and/or target the northern lobe, which is generally less traveled.

Regulations: See the Fishing Regulations page for the current rules.

Fish Orlando App

New "Fish Orlando!" iPhone App now available!

This app will give you key information about the "Fish Orlando!" sites, where they are, their amenities, what the target species are at each location, and even a map to show you the way. More information is available at the iTunes store or by searching "Fish Orlando" in the App Store on your iPhone.