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.
While the weather is cool, focus efforts near the channels and deeper portions of the lake. Largemouth bass can be caught using live shiners or artificial baits along the edge of dense hydrilla. As the weather warms fish these same baits through some of the dense eelgrass patches found closer to shore. Largemouth bass should begin to spawn this quarter. As water temperatures warm and approach 66-68°F, look for signs of bedding along the shore. Recent tournament data has been positive. Good numbers of bass are being caught, with multiple bag winning bag weights over 18 pounds in the last three months. Black crappie anglers should try and find pockets of open, deep water to find schooling fish, but as the quarter progresses, these fish will begin moving into shallow water closer to spawn. Typical black crappie baits such as live minnows, grass shrimp will work well. A variety of panfish species can be found in Lake Rousseau. Fish grass shrimp, crickets, worms, and small jig heads near vegetation and structure. On warm days, the shallow stump fields should be very productive for panfish and crappie anglers. Catfish anglers should focus efforts near hard structures at the edge of deep channels. Past reports have indicated the area above the dam and below the spillway are great places to land big catfish. Let the water current to waft the scent downstream and entice the catfish out of hiding.
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): 96
Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 16
Hall of Fame Club (13+ pounds): 1