Lake Sampson and Lake Rowell
FWC recently completed a fish community survey on Lake Sampson. Good numbers of bluegill and redear sunfish were found in the south and southwest side of the lake. Live bait, such as earthworms and crickets, is a good choice for bream and can be fished around vegetation in the shallower portions of the lakes and around the masses of vegetation away from shore. Forage fish are abundant in the northern portions of the lake which may attract largemouth bass and pickerel. Also, don't forget to fish any structure you might find in deeper areas late in the year. Bass anglers still tend to head into Lake Rowell where the numbers of larger fish may be better, but keep looking for new areas in Lake Sampson as well. Texas-rigged soft plastics and crankbaits are some of the most popular choices. At the time of this writing, water levels in these lakes were still high enough to allow boat anglers to access Lake Sampson. Additionally, water levels were high enough to prevent some anglers from passing under the railroad trestle to access Lake Rowell; however, most low or small boats can still pass.
Local contact: The Slab 904-964-9374
In Sampson Lake, crappie are a good fish to target as water temperatures decrease. They will gradually become more active as the season progresses. Spider-rigging with a minnow tipped jig is the most effective way to find crappie and learn what depth and jig colors they prefer that day. Bass can be caught against the weed line or offshore this time of year given the time of day and conditions. Weedless soft-plastics and topwater frogs will help you fish the thick cover along the shore and the thick vegetation mats on Lake Rowell. In open water, look for any disturbance on the water’s surface that may indicate bass corralling shad and feeding at the top. Spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, crankbaits, or spoons that can get a bass’s attention from a long way off and may be the way to get strikes. Again, select your colors based off the water clarity as that can change throughout the year. Bream can be found anywhere in these two lakes, but Sampson will be easier to access and navigate. Live bait like grass shrimp and crickets fished under a bobber are universally effective for panfish anywhere.
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 Sampson and Lake Rowell:
Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 19
Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 3