Indian River County
Fellsmere Reservoir, also known as Headwaters Lake or Lake Egan, is a 10,000-acre manmade lake in Indian River county adjacent to Stick Marsh/Farm 13. Water levels are managed by the St. John’s River Water Management District (SJRWMD) and extensive habitat work was conducted by FWC and SJRWMD prior to flooding the lake. Numerous underwater structural features and habitat were created in hopes of providing the ideal bass fishing lake. There were already a number of existing small ponds and pits on the property prior to flooding that contained bass and other sport fish. Once the lake was flooded, nearly 1,000,000 Florida bass were stocked along with bluegill, redear sunfish, and crappie. The bass population has flourished in this habitat rich environment. There are thousands of acres of submerged vegetation, mostly hydrilla, along with thousands of acres of emergent vegetation, such as cattails and spatterdock pads. Flooded timber is present in small amounts. The average depth is approximately 6 feet deep with some areas deeper than 30 feet.
Anglers can catch more than 40 bass on a good day at Fellsmere, with the chance at a bass over 8 pounds. The average size bass is 1.5 to 3 pounds. With the abundance of vegetation, the most productive lures are topwater lures and weedless soft plastic jerkbaits or stickbaits.
The lake is located off Fellsmere Grade Road less than 10 miles west of Fellsmere, FL off I-95. Parking for around 44 trailers and restroom facilities are currently available. See the News Release for more information about the newly-completed boat ramp here. Note that additional parking is available 2 miles away at the Stick Marsh/Farm 13 boat ramp.
It’s hard to go wrong in this bass factory. There is an abundance of quality habitat everywhere, target open water pockets and canals along the weed edges. Fishing topwater baits near pads and emergent grasses in the morning and evening is fun and productive. When fish head deep as the temperature rises, fish weighted senko worms and swim baits on hydrilla edges. The deep pits in the southern half of the reservoir, as well as the contoured channels in the “enhanced zone” can be good options in the middle of the day. Look for bass to be feeding as they fatten up for spawning. Large wild shiners can be the ticket if you are looking for a trophy bass, but many >8 pound fish are being caught on artificial lures. With the abundance of vegetation, the most productive lures are topwater lures and weedless soft plastic jerkbaits or stickbaits.
Crappie and bream will be plentiful in the vegetated canals. Small jigs and minnows are the top lures and be ready because a big bass may grab a little jig at times. Keep in mind waterfowl hunting during the season is allowed on Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays in the mornings. The boat ramp is open from one hour prior to sunrise, until one hour after sunset.
- A couple of regulatory reminders to anglers:
Fellsmere Reservoir follows the statewide bass regulation of a five-fish bag limit and a maximum size of 16 inches with an allowance of one fish over 16 inches. Anglers are reminded that holding more than one bass over 16 inches in their live-well is a possession limit violation and places extra stress on fish, especially in warmer weather. To minimize stress on larger fish that you are releasing, please release immediately after any photos or measurements are taken.
- The Water Management District has also imposed a lake-wide 25 mph speed limit, and limits opening hours from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset.
Hunters must abide by the same hours as all other users, including at the old kayak launch area. No access is allowed to Fellsmere until ONE HOUR BEFORE SUNRISE.
Statewide bag and length limits apply.
– Boat speed shall not exceed 25 mph in all areas of the reservoir. Outside of the access canals, the reservoir contains a mixture of habitats, which combined with varying water levels create shallow water obstacles and navigation hazards.
– Boating speed limits within the boat basin, designated portions of canals, and when passing other boats will be “idle speed,” no wake. The area’s access canals are narrow with blind corners and are vulnerable to erosion from boat wakes. The reservoir is also popular with kayak and paddle-craft anglers; please use caution and be aware of low draft vessels. If fishing from a kayak, it is recommended to use an elevated flag to increase visibility.
Hunters and anglers must abide by the same hours as all other users, including at the old kayak launch area. No access is allowed to Fellsmere until ONE HOUR BEFORE SUNRISE.
Fellsmere Reservoir Maps
This Depth Map link provides detailed contour information for Fellsmere Reservoir. Note that you can ZOOM IN very far on this high resolution document to see a great level of detail.
NOTE: Please check the MAIN FELLSMERE FAQ AT THIS LINK first.
Additional information is provided below:
- Rules are posted on the SJRWMD website.
- What are bass regulations? /What are regs for other species?
Statewide bag and length limits apply.
- Since there is no special bass reg can we host tournaments?
Currently, FWC is not issuing length exemption permits for tournaments, but does not ban tournaments from taking place if following statewide regulations. FWC is considering seasonal length exemption permits based on stakeholder input that is currently being collected.
- Can we use airboats?
No, Recreational and Commercial Airboats are prohibited.
- What time does the ramp open/close (specifically when does the gate open/close)?
The parking lot and ramp will be open from one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset, please plan to be off the water and out by this time.
- Are there going to be closures to anglers for waterfowl season?
No, please use caution and be respectful of others using the reservoir.
- Where can we duck hunt?
Hunting is allowed in the Fellsmere Area 1 Public Small Game Hunt Area, located within FWMA, as depicted in the FWC Hunt Brochure and as shown on the Headwaters Lake Boat ramp informational Kiosk.
- Is the whole reservoir 25 mph or just the canal? (lots of reports of boats driving during unsafe light at high speeds or boats driving very close to other boats in the canal at high speeds)
The speed limit is 25mph throughout the reservoir unless posted otherwise, such as idle speed in boat basin and when passing other boats. The area’s access canals are narrow with blind corners and are vulnerable to erosion from boat wakes.
- Are kayaks allowed to go anywhere? (some boaters were saying kayaks had to stay within so far from the ramp)
The entire reservoir is open to both kayaks and motorized boats. Kayakers are encouraged to use the primitive launch at the Northwest corner of the reservoir and park in the Stick Marsh parking area. Please exercise caution when navigating the reservoir and be respectful to other users.
- Why are we not going to pave the road?
Fellsmere Grade was recently upgraded and recapped with lime rock, and is maintained weekly by the SJRWMD.
- Why are there no lights at the ramp?
The initial boat ramp design did not include many items, including lighting. As funding allows, lights may be considered.
- Can we include a PSA for trucks to turn their headlights off when close to the ramp for others unloading a vehicle?
Boat ramp etiquette tips are welcomed. A PSA should also remind folks to put their passenger and back windows up once they park. We have noticed quite a few parked and left vehicles with open windows.
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 Fellsmere Reservoir:
Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 101
Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 24