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Fish Orlando

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 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):

With the warmer temperatures, spend most of your time in the deeper water especially where it connects to aquatic submersed vegetation. Finesse baits such as wacky rigged worms and drop shots on fluorocarbon line are one effective way to catch the bass when they are inactive. Deep diving crankbaits along these deeper vegetation edges is another effective method. First thing in the morning, the last few hours of light in the evening, and after dark, try top waters such as spook type lures and buzzbaits. Start by fishing them slightly shallower along the deepwater breakline. Lastly keep your eyes out for schooling bass chasing shad, especially first thing in the morning. Lipless crankbaits, swim baits, umbrella rigs and flukes will often catch these schoolers.

 

The Fish Orlando FAB FIVE water bodies:

Starke Lake: This FAB FIVE is still being affected by blue green algae blooms which have suppressed the bass numbers this lake is historically known for. With this said there has been some improvement in the water color and the numbers of bass we electrofished the past few springs. Most of the largemouth bass will be in deeper water (> 10 feet) this quarter. For a starting point try the fish attractors (marked with an FWC buoy). Good baits on these attractors include Carolina and Texas-rigged worms. If the fish are active try a crankbait that runs between 4 and 8 feet but make sure you bring a lure retriever. We hope to refurbish the 3 fish attractors with mossback artificial trees sometime this quarter, dependent on the status of operations given COVID19. The fish attractors are listed on a topographical map, which can be obtained by emailing the Fish Orlando office (See contact info above). Also try casting wacky rigged seinkos, flukes or weightless trick worms along the drop offs; trolling diving crankbaits along this same structure works as well. Schooling bass may also be present in the early morning or late evening hours. A fluke or swim bait is good lures for these fish.

Turkey Lake: Many of the largemouth bass will be out on the fish attractors (marked with an FWC buoy). The three fish attractors were just recently refurbished in April 2020 with mossback artificial trees. The tree limbs are made of recycled toothpaste tube and have been proven to be environmentally safe and provide catch rates equal to that of natural brush. Try Texas-rigged (1/4 oz) watermelon seed trick worms, zara spook type topwaters and deep diving crankbaits (shad or bluegill patterns). The fish attractors for this FAB FIVE are listed on a topographical map, which can be obtained by emailing the Fish Orlando office (see contact information above). Although not always consistent, schooling bass in the open water may also be another option this quarter; particularly first thing in the morning. Cast lipless crankbaits, topwaters and shad imitating jigs right into the area where the fish are surfacing. If bites in the open water do not produce, try flukes and Texas and wacky rigged seinkos on the edges of the deeper Kissimmee grass and pads. The edges of the submersed vegetation in 8-10 feet of water are also worth checking with these baits. 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). Due to COVID19 the boat loaner program has been shut down since March 25th. However, there are plans to open it back up again during the quarter. Call the City of Orlando’s Bill Frederick Park at 407-246-4486 to get the latest status on availability and/or to reserve a boat.

Lake Underhill: The FWC Invasive Plant section partnered with Fish Orlando and the City of Orlando to do a small hydrilla treatment in March 2020. The goal is always to keep plenty of deep water hydrilla in this lake and as of Memorial Day 2020, the vegetation looked great. Try fishing this deep water edges of this hydrilla during this quarter. However, try fishing slightly shallower (10 – 15’) in overcast or low light conditions. Flukes, Texas rigged senkos, wacky worms and light weight (1/16 oz) Carolina-rigs are all good consistent producers. Also try deep diving crankbaits such as the Strike King 5XD. If small hydrilla areas become “topped out”, try flipping a plastic crawfish Texas rigged on a heavy ½ or 1 oz weight; especially if the conditions are bright and sunny. Zara spook type top waters may draw strikes first thing in the morning, right before sunset or right before summer storms roll in. Night fishing is also a good option during this quarter. Use black colored Texas-rigged worms or black top waters.

Ivanhoe: The bass in this FAB FIVE should be in the 8 - 15 foot depth range next to the submerged vegetation. Try a 4 inch Texas-rigged worm with a small bullet weight a foot or so in front of the worm. A lipless crankbait is another good lure to try, especially if you see bass chasing shad on or near the surface. Unlike Starke and Underhill where the deeper productive water is usually out of reach of the shore angler, Ivanhoe’s narrow littoral zone (vegetation zone) allows for this area to be reached with a 20 – 50 foot cast from the bank, making it appealing to non-boaters even in the warmer months.

Clear Lake: Although this FAB FIVE is managed for hybrid striped bass, because hybrids are a cool water fish it would be best to focus on the channel catfish action this quarter. Approximately 15,000 channel catfish were stocked in fall 2017 and fall 2018. Liver fished on the bottom around the numerous dredge holes is a good way to “hook up”; sprinkle the liver with unflavored gelatin prior to the trip to help keep the bait on the hook. The dredge areas are listed on a topographical map, which can be obtained by emailing the Fish Orlando office (fishorlando@myfwc.com). 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 URBAN PONDS are managed as put and take channel catfish fisheries. Three of the four URBAN PONDS (Barnett, Bear Creek and Santiago) received spring channel catfish stockings in early May thanks in part due to the generous support from Orange County. MLK Jr Park pond is currently dry due to a library expansion project next to the pond. It is scheduled to be refilled by the end of June and restocked with grow out channel catfish sometime in July. In all four ponds, focus your efforts early or late in the day around the “Baited Fishing Area” signs and aerator diffusers (bubbles coming to the surface mark the diffusers). For catfish try chicken liver, hot dogs, bacon or night crawlers fished on the bottom. For more bites use light monofilament lines (< 8 lb test). Because of their abundant small bluegill and redear sunfish, the URBAN PONDS are also a good place to take a kid to catch their first fish. A cricket, or small piece of worm fished under a small float is usually all that is needed.

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).

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): 45

Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 37

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