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Fish Orlando

TrophyCatch 10-Tag Celebration Logo

Johns Lake is a 10-Tag Water!

To celebrate Season 10 of the TrophyCatch program, biologists with FWC have tagged and released 10 largemouth bass with bright pink tags in 10 different locations across the state. If caught, one tag could be worth thousands of dollars in prizes. One of these bass is swimming in Johns Lake, a Fish Orlando BIG WATER BODY! For details and rules see the 10-Tag Celebration web page.

Lake in Orlando

The “Forecast” tab provides a general quarterly fishing forecast for the Fish Orlando program.  For even more up-to-date information, we suggest you call or visit a local bait-and-tackle shop or guide service.  At times we will provide information for some local contacts, which indicated they were willing to be listed herein.

Fish Orlando’s mission is to PROVIDE and PROMOTE convenient quality fishing opportunities in the greater Orlando area. Initiated by the FWC in 1998, the program is supported by the City of Ocoee, City of Orlando, City of St. Cloud, City of Winter Park, City of Winter Springs, Orange County, BASS PRO SHOPS Orlando, and a variety of other businesses and volunteer/civic groups. Because over 90% of those fishing today got started by a family member, Fish Orlando’s marketing slogan is “Bringing Quality Fishing to Families”.

For a listing of directions and tips for public fishing opportunities in Orange County, call 352-732-1225 or email: fishorlando@MyFWC.com for a free Fish Orlando Fishing Map.

A calendar of Fish Orlando Area Events is available.

See the "Regulations" tab for rules. For a complete listing of regulations please see the Freshwater Fishing Regulations page.

Fish Orlando! “We’re bringing quality fishing to families.”

 

NOTE: For more information about Fish Orlando, call 352-732-1225 or email: fishorlando@MyFWC.com.

 

The Fish Orlando BIG WATER BODIES (Butler Chain, Conway Chain, Johns Lake, and Winter Park Chain):

The cooler temperatures of fall often increase the schooling bass activity on both the Butler and Conway Chain. Look for the shad pods on your depth finder or scan the horizon for diving terns and seagulls. Swim baits, flukes, and jigging spoons are good baits to start with. Johns Lake has been trending upwards for bass between 4-12lbs since recent hydrilla and habitat management activities. Slow trolling a shiner on the drop-offs next to submersed vegetation is a good way to catch a TrophyCatch bass (8lbs plus). The Winter Park Chain in the fall usually has the bass still relatively deep (10-15’) and will often be caught on a wacky rigged worm or a weightless senko rigged weedless.

 

The Fish Orlando FAB FIVE water bodies:

Clear Lake: As the water cools this quarter, the hybrid striped bass fishery that this lake is known for begins to heat up. Unfortunately, no hybrids were available from the hatchery in 2022, so only 2 year old fish will be caught this quarter. Crappie minnows or a small domestic shiner fished under a slip bobber at various depths (including right off the bottom) is one of the most effective methods for catching these fish. Drifting the open water or trolling with rattletraps, shad raps, and shad-type jigs also works at times. For starters try the naturally deeper areas (> 15 feet) areas and the numerous dredge holes. The natural deeper areas and dredge holes are listed on a topographical map, which can be obtained by emailing or calling the Fish Orlando office (see contact information above). Use of the depth finder is essential to success and look for shad on the structure (i.e., changes in depth) to find where the hybrids are located.

Lake Ivanhoe: This FAB FIVE has finally seen an improvement in water clarity issues now that the I-4 expansion project is complete. Hydrilla is also expanding and will be addressed with a spring 2023 grass carp stocking. However, as always, the goal will be to stock carp in numbers low enough to still have abundant submersed aquatic plants. This quarter fish relatively deep (8 – 15 foot) for bass. Find this depth range next to submerged vegetation and you double your chances. Texas-rigged worms or a wacky rigged senko (with rattles inserted) are good baits to start with. A four-inch plastic worm (tequila sunrise) with a small 1/8 oz – 1/32 oz weight pinched or pegged a foot or two in front of the worm can also be the key to unlocking bass action on Ivanhoe. If the fish are active, a deep diving crankbait is a possibility, especially around the deeper drop offs.

Starke Lake: The bass fishing this quarter requires flexibility. In the early part of the quarter most of the largemouth bass will still be in deeper water (> 10 feet). Fish attractors (marked with a FWC buoy) and the edges of deep (5 – 10 feet) submerged eelgrass and pepper grass will hold their share of fish. The fish attractors are listed on a topographical map, which can be obtained by emailing or calling the Fish Orlando office (see contact information above). All of the three fish attractors were refurbished in November 2020, using artificial mossback fish attractor trees. Our research team in Eustis found that these artificial trees work just as well as natural brush. By December there is a good chance that a significant number of largemouths will have moved shallow into a pre-spawn/spawn pattern. The shorelines along Lakeshore Drive and from the boat ramp to Silver Star Road are both places to start. Effective baits on the attractors include crankbaits that dive to 10 feet, as well as Texas-rigged and Carolina-rigged plastic worms. Lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits, soft jerk baits, and finesse worms have all produced in the past when the fish move shallow. Management objectives on this lake (100 bass electrofished per hour) have not been met since a 2012 hydrilla treatment eliminated most of the submersed vegetation. The removal of the submersed vegetation caused a shift to an algae driven system creating water that was too green. In the winter/spring 2022 electrofishing survey, the numbers of largemouth bass sampled reached an all-time low of 60 bass per hour. An alum treatment was done in the Prima Vista lobe in July 2021 to improve the water quality issues and millions are being spent to create a retention pond near the city Hall property which will hopefully improve the situation. Approximately 10,000 hybrid striped bass were also stocked in April 2021 to add to angler’s options until the bass fishery can be restored in full. These 2 year old hybrid stripers should start to be caught in November/December once the water cools and should be somewhere between 12 – 17 inches long.

Turkey Lake: This quarter has historically been tough for largemouth bass fishing. However, last fiscal year’s boat loaner creel survey showed a record high catch rate for largemouth bass (over 1.2 bass/angler hour; 1 per hour is considered excellent). As the first fronts of the season blow through, the bass in this shallow basin lake can get a serious case of “lock jaw”. However, during stable weather the bass will be active, most likely along the grass edges or schooling out in the open water. Soft jerk baits, lipless crankbaits and topwaters will all work well under these stable conditions. This quarter marks the start of the black crappie (speck) season. Troll or drift jigs or jig/minnow combinations in the south lobe for best success (minnows can be purchased at Get Hooked Bait & Tackle in Ocoee @ 407-347-3072). The schools of speck are fairly concentrated so do not give up if the first hour or so produces nothing. When trolling vary the depth and speed until a successful combination is found. When drifting make sure the baits are presented at all depths. Due to deed restrictions, there is no public boat access on Turkey Lake, but the FWC, the city of Orlando, and Bass Pro Shops Orlando have teamed together to provide a Boat Loaner Program where four Bass Tracker Boats can be rented for only $32 a morning (7 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.; Thurs - Sun). Call the City of Orlando’s Bill Frederick Park at 407-246-4486 to reserve a boat.

Lake Underhill: Like last quarter, the edges of the submerged vegetation in 12-18 feet of water will most likely hold the fish. We did a 34 acres June 2022 hydrilla treatment to knock back this edge to approximately the 15 foot break line. As always, we made sure there was still plenty of submersed aquatic vegetation in the lake even after the treatment and only 7 acres of the 34 acre treatment was done in the north lobe. Try Texas-rigged worms, wacky rigged plastics, drop shots, or Zara spooks along the edges of the hydrilla. A deep diving crankbait is another good option. In December, try casting to some of the emergent vegetation such as the Kissimmee grass and bulrush (buggy whips) with a small 4-inch worm or flipping this vegetation with a creature bait or small craw. The patches of submersed vegetation just off the emergent vegetation line will also hold fish in December. Try a spinnerbait when they get active and fluke-type bait fished slowly when they are not.

 

URBAN PONDS (Barnett Park Frog Pond, Bear Creek, Lake Island Park, and Santiago): The URBAN PONDS are managed as put and take channel catfish and hatchery reared largemouth bass fisheries. For catfish, try fishing chicken liver rigged on a #6 or # 8 hook around the “Baited Fishing Area” signs or aeration diffusers (where you see bubbles coming to the surface). Barnett, Bear Creek, and MLK Jr Park Pond will be stocked in September 2022 with smaller catfish (6 – 10 inches) and should be good until the end of the quarter when cormorants will most likely deplete the numbers. Lake Santiago was stocked in May 2022 with larger grow-out catfish and should still provide good fishing. MLK Jr Park Pond was dry in 2020 – 2021 due building renovation projects. Although the pond has now refilled, and the aeration system reinstalled, we have been struggling to get the eelgrass under control to allow good fishing access. If available, grow out largemouth bass (6-12 inches) will be stocked in fall 2022 into the Barnett Park Frog Pond. These aggressive small bass should take a 1/32 oz twister tail jig and provide good fishing for approximately 2 months after stocking.

For the latest freshwater fishing rules please see the Freshwater Fishing Regulations page.

 

Statewide bag and length limits (if no other regulations apply): No person shall take in any one day more than the following bag limits of freshwater game fish:

  • 5 largemouth bass, only one of which may be 16 inches or longer in total length. There is no minimum length limit for largemouth bass.
  • 50 Panfish (no minimum length) including bluegill, redear sunfish (shellcracker), spotted sunfish (stumpknocker), warmouth and redbreast sunfish, individually or in total.
  • 25 Crappie (also call speckled perch or “speck”; no minimum length).
  • 20 Striped bass and sunshine bass (individually or in total), of which only 6 may be 24 inches or longer in total length.

 

BIG WATER BODIES (Butler Chain, Conway Chain, Johns Lake, Winter Park Chain):

Statewide regulations apply.

 

The FAB FIVE:

Clear Lake: Statewide regulations except possession of cast nets are prohibited. For convenience, all the regulations have been posted in informational kiosks at two locations (George Barker Park boat ramp and Clear Lake Park).

Lake Ivanhoe: Statewide regulations except panfish bag limit of 20 and possession of cast nets is prohibited. For convenience, all the regulations have been posted in an informational kiosk at Gaston-Edwards Park boat ramp.

Starke Lake: Statewide regulations except panfish bag limit of 20 and possession of cast nets is prohibited. For convenience, all the regulations have been posted in informational kiosks at the city of Ocoee boat ramp and at the fishing pier.

Turkey Lake: Statewide regulations except catch-and-release for largemouth bass, panfish bag limit of 20, channel catfish bag limit of 6, possession of cast nets is prohibited. Except for sanctioned events, gasoline motors may not be used on boats. For convenience, lake regulations have been posted in informational kiosks at three locations (boat concession, fixed fishing pier and primitive camping area).

Lake Underhill: Statewide regulations except catch-and-release for largemouth bass, panfish bag limit of 20, channel catfish bag limit of 6, possession of cast nets is prohibited. For convenience, lake regulations have been posted in an informational kiosk at the boat ramp.

 

URBAN PONDS:

Barnett Park Frog Pond: Statewide regulations. For convenience, these have been posted in an informational kiosk at the pond.

Bear Creek Park Pond: Statewide regulations except panfish bag limit of 20, channel catfish bag limit of 6, possession of cast nets is prohibited. For convenience, lake regulations have been posted in an informational kiosk at the pond.

Lake Island (MLK Jr. Park): Statewide regulations. For convenience, lake regulations have been posted in an informational kiosk at the pond.

Lake Santiago: Statewide regulations except panfish bag limit of 20, channel catfish bag limit of 6, possession of cast nets is prohibited, and boats are prohibited. For convenience, lake regulations have been posted in an informational kiosk at the pond.

 

OTHER WATER BODIES:

Lake Baldwin (225 acres): Statewide fisheries regulations but boats with motors have to abide by a “no wake” restriction.

Lake Fairview (401 acres): Statewide regulations apply.

Hal Scott Preserve (approx. 30 acres): Largemouth bass catch-and-release. Panfish bag limit of 20. Channel catfish bag limit of 6. Cast nets are prohibited. Gasoline motors may not be used on boats.

Little Econlockhatchee River: Statewide regulations apply.

Secret Lake: Panfish bag limit of 20. Channel catfish bag limit of 6. Cast nets are prohibited. Personal watercraft are prohibited.

Shadow Bay Park: Channel catfish 30 inch minimum size limit (1 fish bag limit). Largemouth bass catch and release, bluegill 12 inch minimum size (5 fish bag limit).

Fish Orlando Brochure

Fish Orlando Brochure

It's here! Several years in development, the Fish Orlando Brochure is loaded with fishing information and helpful details about the many waters within FWC's Fish Orlando program. This is a must-read for anyone fishing in Orlando or planning a trip to the area.

Trophy catch

TrophyCatch Tracker

TrophyCatch 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 Fish Orlando sites:

Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 71

Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 43

Fish Orlando App

FWC's Fish Orlando App

The FWC's Fish Orlando app for mobile devices has been updated and is available again!

Fish Orlando Report

Fish Orlando Annual Report

The Fish Orlando Annual Report is now available online. It includes fisheries research and information on the Fish Orlando waters straight from the biologists!

Popular Sport Fish Species

Fish graphics by Duane Raver, Jr.

More species information is available for:

Largemouth bass, Bluegill, Redear sunfish, Sunshine bassChannel catfish, Black crappie