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 create, conserve and promote convenient quality fishing opportunities in the great Orlando area. Initiated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) in 1988, the program is supported by the City of Orlando, City of Ocoee, City of Winter Park, City of St. Cloud, City of Winter Springs, Orange County, BASS PRO SHOPS Orlando, and a variety of other businesses and volunteer/civic groups.
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.”
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 can often result in a TrophyCatch bass (8lbs plus) on the Butler Chain and Johns Lake. One guide fishing shiners posted a 12lber caught in February 2020 on the Butler Chain. While biologists were electrofishing Johns Lake (February 2020), they talked to two gentlemen from out of state that caught 41 bass over 5lbs in nine days; part of the catch was two trophy bass including a 10-lber.
The Fish Orlando FAB FIVE water bodies:
Starke Lake: The Lake is still suffering from algae issues. Ongoing studies and plans with the city of Ocoee are being conducted to rectify the problem. However, the peppergrass and eelgrass are back to nearly optimal levels. The slight improvement in water color in 2018 and part of 2019 seems to have taken a step back in the last several months. At the time of this writing the bass have not been sampled in 2020; there will be largemouth bass electrofishing conducted in March 2020. 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). Crankbaits (fire tiger colors) that run approx. 6-12 feet will catch their share 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 scheduled to be refurbished in April 2020 and 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.
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 are scheduled to be refurbished in April 2020 and 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 has expanded out to almost 19’ in some areas. A treatment is scheduled for March 2020, but as always, it will be 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 seinko, 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.).
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 bridge demolition associated with the I-4 expansion project, which sealed off the central and western lobes from December 2019 – February 2020, is supposed to be done by March 2020. This will allow access to all three lobes for this quarter. Electrofishing conducted in winter 2019 indicated record number of bass was sampled 20 inches or bigger. No electrofishing is scheduled for 2020 as this lake is on a two-year rotation.
Clear Lake: 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.
Urban Ponds (Barnett Park Frog Pond, Bear Creek, Lake Island Park, and Santiago): The channel catfishing in this quarter is usually a bust because migrating cormorants have eaten the catfish stocked in the fall. However, thanks to a proposed December 2019 stocking of grow out largemouth bass for Barnett, Bear Creek and MLK Jr Park, there should be an abundance of 8 inch – 12 inch largemouth bass in January and February. Try a small 1/32 oz twister tail jig, or a night crawler with a small split shot. Santiago has not been impacted by cormorants the last few years, so if the weather warms during this quarter try for catfish using chicken liver rigged on a #6 or # 8 hook 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).
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): 39
Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 35
FWC's Fish Orlando App
The FWC's Fish Orlando app for mobile devices has been updated and is available again!