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.
Black Crappie anglers should already be gearing up and ready to hit the water. Crappie should already be schooling and will soon begin their spawn within the first month of the new quarter. Slow troll live minnows in search of schools of fish. If this proves unsuccessful, try bouncing jig heads tipped with minnows along the edge of dense vegetation and around woody stumps. Largemouth Bass anglers should monitor water temperatures and look for signs of spawning activity as the lake temperature approaches 65°F. Area 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. 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 Inglis 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.
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): 138
Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 20
Hall of Fame Club (13+ pounds): 2