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Fellsmere Freshwater Fishing Rules Update – Feb. 24, 2022

The catch and release and circle hook regulation changes for Fellsmere Water Management Area (commonly known as Headwaters Lake and Egan Lake) are not effective yet as there is an administrative process to complete prior to the rules going into effect. There will be another public meeting to gather additional input on the regulations prior to them taking effect. The date, time and location of the public meeting will be publicized once it is finalized.

Indian River County

Fellsmere Reservoir

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.

The weather is warming up and the fishing remains excellent. This lake is quite popular but there are a lot of places to go so it fishes big and people can find their spot. April through June is time to get after post-spawn fish that are aggressively feeding. Aggressive vegetation management by the Water Management District has converted a lot of shallow flats on the east side of the lake from impenetrable masses of cattails into flats of SAV. Drop-offs and other edge habitat near those flats will likely be an excellent place to look for hungry post-spawn bass to be ambushing bait. Swim baits and jigs might be a good option if that is the feeding pattern on the day. Or you might be able to drag your choice of weedless noisy topwater lure right across the top of the hydrilla depending on the day. The panfish population is excellent in Fellsmere Reservoir as well. Fishing a jig along the deep grasses could yield a big bluegill, slab crappie, and a nice bass on consecutive casts. Try to match the natural forage, which is primarily mosquitofish and grass shrimp.

A couple of regulatory reminders to anglers. Largemouth bass in Fellsmere Reservoir are currently regulated under the statewide regulation of a five-fish bag limit and a maximum size of 16 inches with an allowance of one fish over 16 inches. Anglers that are holding numerous bass over 16 inches in their livewell for group photos are reminded that this places extra stress on fish that you intend to release and is also a possession limit violation if you have more than one fish over 16 inches per angler. To minimize stress on larger fish that you are releasing, please release immediately after any photos or measurements are taken. Also, the Water Management District limits opening hours from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset and has imposed a lake-wide 25 mph speed limit.

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 map

Fellsmere Reservoir Maps

This General Map link provides a general overview of the Fellsmere Reservoir area including the nearby Stick Marsh.

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.


Additional information is provided below:

  1. Rules are posted on the SJRWMD website.
  2. What are bass regulations? /What are regs for other species?
    Statewide bag and length limits apply.
  3. 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.
  4. Can we use airboats?
    No, Recreational and Commercial Airboats are prohibited.
  5. 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.
  6. Are there going to be closures to anglers for waterfowl season?
    No, please use caution and be respectful of others using the reservoir.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.

See this document for a summary of recent FWC work and enhancements to the Fellsmere Reservoir.

See this document for recent FWC fish stocking activities on Fellsmere Reservoir.

Popular Species

Popular Sport Fish Species

Fish graphics by Duane Raver, Jr.

More species information is available for:

Largemouth bass, Bluegill, Redear sunfishBlack crappie

FWC Trophy Catch Logo

TrophyCatch Tracker

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): 141

Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 35

Hall of Fame (13+ pounds): 1