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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.

Local contacts:
Big Bass Village 352-447-3474, toll free 1-877-463-4742
Lake Rousseau RV Park/Fishing Resort 352-795-6336,
Dunnellon Bait and Tackle 352-465-2755

Lake Rousseau has been one of the best Largemouth Bass fishing lakes across the state over the last year and boasted 62 approved TrophyCatch submissions between January and September 2022. This was third behind other excellent bass fisheries at Fellsmere Reservoir and Rodman Reservoir. Largemouth Bass anglers should expect this trend to continue into the new year and bass fishing to be top notch this spring. Largemouth Bass anglers should monitor water temperatures and look for signs of spawning activity as the lake temperature approaches 65°F. Areas of sparse vegetation and sandy bottom will attract bass looking to spawn. Finding open areas edged by eelgrass or hydrilla, and fishing those edges using rubber worms should produce strikes from lurking bass. Use snagless rigged worms and lures to fish over and through patches of vegetation. During the cooler winter months, Black Crappie fishing should improve. Anglers report the best catches coming from the deeper waters in the west end of the lake, trolling in front of the Inglis Dam and through the barge canal. While it is cold, expect the bass to be dispersed throughout the deeper portions of the lake. Target the stump fields and areas of vegetation away from shore. Panfish should be abundant throughout the lake. For most of the quarter, expect the panfish to be offshore in deeper water while the lake is still cool. On warm days, these fish will migrate into shallower waters looking to feed. Anglers should target the late afternoon/dusk hours of warm, sunny days to take advantage of this shoreward movement. 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. Catfish anglers should target deep water areas in the reservoir, particularly the western end near the Dam. Fish cut baits on the bottom near stumps or other submersed structures. Don’t soak one piece for too long, or the bait will lose its scent and its effectiveness. Catfish have a strong sense of smell; the smellier the better.

Popular Species

Popular Sport Fish Species

Fish graphics by Duane Raver, Jr.

More species information is available for:

Largemouth bassBluegill, Redear sunfishSunshine bassStriped bassChannel catfishBlack crappie

FWC Trophy Catch Logo

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 Lake Rousseau:

Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 187

Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 38

Hall of Fame Club (13+ pounds): 2