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):
In this quarter the bass will move to the deep water drop-offs, ledges, dredge holes and saddles. Find these structure areas (changes in bottom) and look for underwater grass on the 8’-15’ areas. With low light conditions (cloudy or rainy days, early morning, late evening) try top water plugs, lip-less crankbaits and lipped crankbaits. For times when the sun is higher or bass are not as active, switch to a fluke, finesse worm, wacky rig or drop shot rig. Don’t forget to use lighter fluorocarbon or monofilament lines (8lb – 12lb test). Slow trolling a shiner on the drop-offs is another good way to catch bass if live bait fishing is preferred. Anglers’ bass fishing the Conway Chain are encouraged to keep their limit (5 per person) of “skinny” bass less than 13 inches. The local Wednesday night tournament anglers have been assisting Fish Orlando in this effort with the goal of improving the numbers of 20 inch plus bass. Some improvement in the catches of these larger bass has been seen on the Conway Chain since this practice was implemented in 2017.
The Fish Orlando FAB FIVE water bodies:
Hybrid striped bass fishing slows down this quarter and the channel catfish action picks up. Richloam hatchery has stocked approximately 30,000+ catfish since November 2016 so the action should be good. Liver fished on the bottom around the numerous dredge holes should provide some action for channel catfish up to 10 lbs and brown bullhead up to a pound. The dredge areas are listed on a topographical map, which can be obtained by emailing or calling the Fish Orlando office (see contact information above). If the dredge holes do not hold fish try fishing the mouths of the numerous canals associated with the lake.
Lake Ivanhoe: Try fishing for bass on the numerous drop-offs around the lake with wacky rigged plastics or Texas rigged seinkos if they are inactive. If it’s cloudy or rainy they should be active and try a lipped crankbait or fluke. In the first part of the quarter most of the fish should still be relatively shallow (6 – 8 feet) with a movement deeper (8 – 12 feet) as the weather turns warmer in May and June. Some schooling activity may occur in this quarter as well. A rattletrap fished quickly or another shad imitating crankbait or lure will usually catch the schoolers. The I-4 expansion project has created poor water quality conditions in the eastern portion of the middle lobe. The city of Orlando Streets & Storm water is taking steps to improve the conditions. Electrofishing conducted in winter 2021 averaged 127 bass an hour with 6 per hour 20 inches and 56% of the adult population 14 inches or bigger. This “crushed” the management goal of 60/hour with 30% of the adult population > 14 inches.
Starke Lake: The Lake is still suffering from algae issues. Fortunately, the city of Ocoee has pledged to spend 9 million dollars over the next 2-3 years to rectify the problem. Electrofishing samples in January 2021 were similar to the last 3 years (80 bass/hr; goal 100 bass/hr). Try the edges of the submerged vegetation with flukes, lipless crank baits or a Texas rigged seinko. Use dark colored plastics (junebug, redbug, black/blue, etc.) inserted with rattles to help overcome the green water color. This quarter bass fishing should also be good on the 3 fish attractors (marked with a FWC buoy). The fish attractors were each refurbished in November 2020 with 25 mossback artificial trees. These trees have been shown to provide the same bass catch rates as brush. However, the brush must be replaced every 3-5 years. The mossback trees are designed to last much longer (10+ years). Crankbaits (fire tiger colors) that run approx. 6-12 feet will catch their share in the fish attractors when the bass are active. A 1/4oz Texas-rigged plastic worm or shaky-head jig/worm combo will work when they are less active. Once again use rattles in the worm weight or plastic. 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). Lastly, look for schooling activity first thing in the morning as the bass in the open water chase shad. Soft jerk baits such as a flukes will work, as will small jigs with shad bodies.
Turkey Lake: Largemouth bass should be done with spawning. Try the deeper pads, edges of the grassy bottlenecks, main lake points and submersed vegetation edges in the open water with lipless crankbaits, Carolina-rigged plastics (French fries, seinkos, etc.), soft jerk baits (flukes), and wacky rigged plastics. A frog, horny toad, or ribbit frog in the heavy cover can get you a big bite at times. Also try casting a zara spook or devil’s horse on the fish attractors (marked with a FWC buoy). The fish attractors were refurbished in April 2020 with each attractor buoy receiving 25 mossback artificial trees. 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). If water levels are up and water temperatures are still at or below 80o F, look for the fish to stay inside the emergent grass and be susceptible to soft jerk baits and topwaters. Due to deed restrictions, there is no public boat access on Turkey Lake, but the FWC, the City of Orlando and Bass Pro Shops have teamed together to provide a Boat Loaner Program where four Bass Tracker Grizzly Boats can be rented for only $32 a morning (7 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.; Fri - Sun). Call the City of Orlando’s Bill Frederick Park at 407-299-5581 to reserve a boat.
Lake Underhill: The hydrilla in this lake was treated twice in 2020 including in December. However, as always, the treatments were done to make sure there are still plenty of aquatic submersed grasses to drive this good bass fishery. The edges of the hydrilla and peppergrass with a weightless senko, fluke, pegged 4-inch worm, weightless trick worm or wacky rigged plastic should produce a bass or two greater than 4 lbs. If there is any cloud cover try crank baits, hard jerk baits or top waters that walk the dog (i.e. Zara spook, Sammy, etc.).
URBAN PONDS (Barnett Park Frog Pond, Bear Creek, Lake Island Park, and Santiago): Because the URBAN PONDS are put-and-take channel catfish fisheries and channel catfish are a warm water species, this quarter can be very good. All four of the ponds are scheduled for spring 2021 stockings of channel catfish thanks to Orange County and the city of Winter Park promising to purchase fish from a private vendor. The FWC is paying to stock Santiago. Try fishing chicken liver rigged on a #6 or # 8 hook around the “Baited Fishing Area” signs. Night crawlers, hot dogs, bacon, and wigglers are good second choices for bait. Although channel catfish are the management focus of these small ponds, some decent largemouth bass fishing can be had in Bear Creek and Santiago using wacky rigged finesse plastics and top water plugs thrown first thing in the morning. Because of their abundant small bluegill, the URBAN PONDS are also a good place to take a kid to catch their first fish. A small piece of worm or biscuit dough inserted on a #10 to #14 small hook fished under a small float or weightless is usually all that’s needed. Chumming the water with bread or oatmeal can congregate the small bluegill and increase the action. Once again focus your efforts around the “Baited Fishing Area” signs.
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.
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
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.
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): 48
Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 37
FWC's Fish Orlando App
The FWC's Fish Orlando app for mobile devices has been updated and is available again!