Levy and Citrus Counties
An impoundment of the Withlacoochee River, as part of the original Cross Florida Barge Canal project, this large lake is full of cypress trees, pennywort islands and sometimes hydrilla. Abundant cover and structure grow plenty of bluegill, redear sunfish, catfish, black crappie and largemouth bass. The deeper river channel is always good to locate and fish underwater bends. The rest of the lake is referred to as the "flats" or the backwaters.
Lake Rousseau may not get as much attention as Orange Lake, Fellsmere, or Rodman Reservoir when it comes to big fish, but it should. This lake has excellent habitat for all kinds of fish including trophy bass. Vast stump fields, floating tussocks and the old river channel all make great places to find fish in the winter. Also fishing the edges of submersed vegetation using rubber worms should produce strikes from lurking bass. Use snagless rigged worms and lures to fish over and through patches of vegetation. Crappie fishing should be good this time of year, trolling or drifting minnows or jigs often produces the most bites. Trolling near the dam or the barge canal can be effective as well as vertical jigging submersed trees. On cold days expect the bass to be schooled in deeper water away from shore. Panfish are abundant throughout the lake and the bite will be better on the warmest days of the winter. Typical live baits will work well- crickets, nightcrawlers, grubs, grass shrimp. In deeper water, 1/16 oz. or smaller beetle spins tipped with grubs or worms can be bounced along between patches of vegetation or on the edges of stumps. Most people targeting catfish fish near the dam on the west side or upstream to the east where it is more riverlike. Fish cut baits or stink baits on the bottom where there is a bit of current to distribute the scent.
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 Lake Rousseau:
Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 205
Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 42
Hall of Fame Club (13+ pounds): 2