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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):

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 seinko rigged weedless.

 

The Fish Orlando FAB FIVE water bodies:

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 yellow 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). 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. However, in the last three years, the submersed aquatic vegetation has returned close to its historical norms, the water color has improved slightly and the winter bass surveys have showed decent electrofishing numbers (80 bass shocked per hour). Plans to improve the water quality issues have recently gone from the evaluation stage to the planning and fundraising stage.

Turkey Lake: This quarter has historically been tough for largemouth bass fishing. 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 at 407-347-3072). The schools of speck are fairly concentrated so don’t 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 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). All four boats should receive new batteries in October 2019. 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 8-15 feet of water will most likely hold the fish. During the last vegetation survey in June 2019, the lake had plenty of healthy hydrilla and native submersed vegetation. Try Texas-rigged worms, wacky rigged seinkos or zara spooks along these edges. 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.

Ivanhoe: The bass in this FAB FIVE will most likely be relatively deep (8 – 15 foot) for most of the quarter. Find this depth range next to submerged vegetation and you double your chances. Texas-rigged worms or a wacky rigged seinko (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 also a possibility, especially around the deeper dredge holes. Flipping a Texas rigged crawfish in some of the deeper (10-12’) coontail can also be effective if nothing else works. The I-4 widening project is in full swing and the curtain of trees along I-4 has been cut down so the appearance of the lake in the east and part of the middle lobe is different. However, other than one isolated incident last year, the silt screens used by the construction process have kept any dirty water out of the lake.

Clear Lake: As the water cools this quarter, the hybrid striped bass fishery that this lake is known for begins to heat up. 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 rattle-traps, shad raps and shad-type jigs also works at times. For starters try the areas around the 2 fish attractors and the numerous dredge holes. The fish attractors and 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 don’t work try the deeper areas in the south and east shorelines where shallow water connects up quickly to the deeper water. 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.

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. With the weather cooling the fishing should be good for longer periods of time. 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). Night crawlers and wigglers are a good second choice for bait. Barnett, Bear Creek and MLK Jr. Park will be stocked in September/October 2019 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 last stocked in May 2019 with larger grow-out catfish and should still provide good fishing. Although channel catfish are the management focus, grow out largemouth bass (5-7 inches) will be stocked in October 2019 into Barnett and MLK Jr. Park. These aggressive small bass should provide good fishing for approximately 2 months after stocking. The short survival period comes from their domestication i.e. they do not fear predators (they are easily eaten by wading birds and raptors) and they are very aggressive (quickly caught by fishermen)! For these grow out bass try a 1/32 oz twister tail jig, mini Rapala or a red worm on a #8 hook. Because of their abundant small bream (bluegill, redear sunfish, etc.), 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 fished under a small float is usually all that’s needed. Once again focus efforts around the “Baited Fishing Area” signs. Also try the mouths of culverts, around the piers and bridges, and in the case of Lake Santiago, the edges of the lily pads.

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 App

"Fish Orlando!" iPhone App

This app will give you key information about the "Fish Orlando!" sites, where they are, their amenities, what the target species are at each location, and even a map to show you the way. More information is available at the iTunes store or by searching "Fish Orlando" in the App Store on your iPhone.

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): 38

Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 35

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