Tsala Apopka Chain
The Tsala Apopka Chain of Lakes is 19,111 acres of shallow, heavily vegetated marshes intermingled with open water pools. Water control structures separate the chain of lakes into three main pools named after nearby towns: Floral City, Inverness and Hernando.
Public boat ramps are available for each pool:
- Hernando Pool: 1/4 mile east of the intersection of U.S. Hwy 41 and SR 200
- Inverness Pool: Highway 44 Boat Ramp, Eden Park, and North Apopka Boat Ramp
- Floral City Pool: Duval Island Road
Local Contacts: River Land Bait and Tackle (352-465-2755) for more up-to-date information.
The entire Tsala Apopka Chain of Lakes can be a haven for trophy bass fishermen. Interested anglers would be wise to check with local bait and tackle shops for weekly and daily spawn updates. These local experts can provide up-to-date reports during the early spawn: what lakes are producing fish and which baits are being used. Generally, plastic worms and flashy baits fished quickly near vegetation can produce strikes from bass. Watch weather reports as cold fronts will push fish away from shore into deeper water, while sunny, warm days will draw fish into shallower water to feed. Look for Largemouth Bass to begin spawning as water temperatures approach 65°F. The bass spawn typically occurs in the Tsala Apopka Chain earlier than other NC Region waterbodies. Black Crappie anglers should expect to find these fish already schooling in open water and beginning to spawn withing the first month of this quarter. Try slow trolling or spider-rig fishing multiple lines at varying depths to find where the fish are holding. Once found, stay put until the bite slows. Live minnows are the preferred baits for many crappie anglers, though crickets and grass shrimp can be used as well. Panfish movements should mimic weather patterns- as weather warms, these fish will move into shallower water, and push back into deeper water during cold fronts. On warm, sunny days target shallow, well vegetation areas with sandy substrate. Typical baits, including crickets, nightcrawlers, and grass shrimp, will work well here. Catfish can be found in deeper water near structures. Target concrete pilings, rip-rap, and woody structures, fishing stink baits on the bottom. Catfish have a strong sense of smell, so be sure to change baits frequently to ensure the scent stays “fresh” and enticing to a big, hungry cat.
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 the Tsala Apopka Chain:
Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 235
Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 106
Hall of Fame Club (13+ pounds): 5