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Florida Fishing Trail

Your Guide to the Florida Fishing Trail

an aerial view overlooks three lakes bordered by green trees and fields

The Florida Fishing Trail is a series of waterbodies in Hardee County. The FWC, The Mosaic Company and Hardee County collaborated to create this beautiful area where you will find recreational fishing opportunities for the entire family.

Anglers can cast a line into numerous freshwater lakes along the shoreline, from one of the fishing piers, or by boat, to enjoy the scenery of surrounding forests of pine, oak and palms. Sport fish such as largemouth bass, crappie (specks), bream, and catfish can be found throughout the waterbodies. There are also opportunities to launch boats and kayaks, visit FWC’s Boat Ramp Finder.

About the Location

two men standing in the front a a boat, in front of green vegetation. The man on the left is holding two bass and the the man on the right is holding one bass

FWC’s Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management in partnership with The Mosaic Company and Hardee County are collaborating to provide economic and recreational opportunities through the joy of fishing and spending time in nature. Within Hardee County are freshwater fishing resources available for the public to visit and experience. The community partnerships are creating safe and easy access to these fishing areas. The Florida Fishing Trail is made up of newly established lakes being managed by the FWC, as well as existing waterbodies that are part of the Mosaic Fish Management Area and Hardee Lakes Park.

The property where the lakes exist was once part of the Fort Meade Mine and mined by Cargill back in the 1990’s. The post mining reclamation areas introduced the first lakes into Hardee County which previously had no natural lakes. These created the excellent fishing opportunities and diverse ecosystems present at this location today.

What is ‘reclaimed land’?

Since 1975, government regulations have required that every acre of land that the phosphate industry mines must then be reclaimed back to nature, agriculture, or other productive uses. Prior to mining activities, phosphate companies must demonstrate that post-mining reclamation will result in a net ecological benefit compared with the land before mining.  

Mining reclamation often allows for the recreation of habitat connections, including large-scale wildlife corridors and reconnecting of streams and wetlands as they previously existed. Land once mined for phosphate to help support healthy crops around the world are home to some of Florida’s most breathtaking parks. Located on reclaimed land, the parks welcome visitors from near and far to enjoy the lush green grasses, plentiful trees, wetlands, and wildlife that span as far as the eye can see. The parks also offer recreation, camping, exploration, education facilities and much more.

Hardee Lakes Park 

Located in the heart of Hardee County, Hardee Lakes Park, created for public enjoyment by Mosaic, is one of many parks built on previously mined land. The 1,260-acre public park provides residents with access to community buildings, RV campsites, fishing piers, trails, playgrounds and much more. Recently, Mosaic funded the addition of a BBQ grill shed which will increase the capacity for outdoor recreation, complete with necessary preparation, storage and sanitization areas. For those visiting Hardee Lakes, the shed is a welcome addition, located next to the Mosaic Community Education Center.