Lochloosa Lake (5700 acres) is designated as a Fish Management Area and located 5 miles south of Hawthorne near the town of Lochloosa. Most of the shoreline is bordered by old-growth cypress trees, and knotgrass and spatterdock (bonnets) are the predominant aquatic plants in the lake. A public boat ramp provides access to the lake from U.S. Highway 301 in the town of Lochloosa, and at Lochloosa Harbor Fish Camp just north of the town of Lochloosa, also accessed from U.S. 301. In addition, a public pier is located south of the town of Lochloosa on Burnt Island and is a popular fishing site for those without a boat. Lochloosa Lake offers good bluegill, redear sunfish and warmouth (bream) fishing during April through September; however, some bream can be caught year-round. Anglers targeting bream should fish with grass shrimp in deep-water spatterdock or deeper grass patches. Black crappie fishing is best from January through April in the spatterdock with grass shrimp and minnows. During summer and fall, crappie anglers should drift open water with grass shrimp and minnows.
Black crappie fishing took a while to get going this past winter, but finally produced some nice catches this spring. As we move into late spring and summer, the warmer weather will increase water temperatures and black crappie will return to open water. While most anglers move onto fishing for other species, black crappie are still there but efforts to catch them should change back to trolling in open water with a minnow or jig. This is also the time when bream start to move up on shore and during the late spring and summer, the bream fishing on Lochloosa Lake is the number one attraction. Sampling results by FWC biologists over the past several years have shown that Lochloosa Lake is full of lots of big bluegill and shellcrackers measuring between nine and ten inches. These fish will be spawning up in the shallows near pads and cypress trees during the warmer months and will be ready to bite a hook. Use grass shrimp for best results. If you don’t have a boat, you can fish off the pier on Burnt Island at Lochloosa Wildlife Management Area off of Hwy 301. Anglers should be aware of tagged black crappies with rewards. If you catch a tagged crappie, call the number below to receive information on how to claim your reward.
Travis Tuten, FWC fisheries biologist: 352-415-6964
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 Lochloosa Lake:
Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 21
Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 11