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Harris Chain News

What more Harris Chain Information? Please sign up to our Harris Chain email list to get up-to-date information regarding management and research project happening on the Harris Chain. Click here to sign up and check the “FWC Harris Chain News” box to subscribe.” Or you can email us at HarrisChain@myfwc.com.

Lake and Orange County

Harris River

The Harris Chain of Lakes in Lake and Orange Counties is comprised of 8 primary lakes (Apopka, Harris, Griffin*, Eustis, Dora, Beauclair, Carlton, and Yale) totaling about 75,000 acres. Located northwest of Orlando, the Harris Chain of Lakes offers excellent fishing opportunities for all anglers with over 30 public boat ramps (see FWC Boat Ramp Locator) and numerous public fishing piers. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has completed numerous restoration and management activities focusing on improving habitat, fish populations, and water quality throughout the chain including: fish stockings, installing fish attractors, and habitat plantings. Largemouth bass, black crappie, and bream (bluegill and redear sunfish) are the popular sportfish with anglers. Also, FWC has stocked sunshine bass in some lakes within the Harris Chain to add diversity to anglers' catches.

*Lake Griffin includes all Emeralda Marsh water bodies open to Lake Griffin, and including all points lakeward of a boundary line delineated by: County Road 44 and Burrell Lock and Dam on Haynes Creek (formerly Haines Creek); County Road 464c at Moss Bluff Lock and Dam.

Local Bait and Tackle Shops:

Brookers Bait and Tackle 352-460-0695
Lakeside Bait and Tackle 352-742-3336
Owens Fishing and Marine 352-357-3030

Please see below for more information on the Harris Chain of Lakes or contact Scott Bisping at Scott.Bisping@myfwc.com.

Harris Chain angler with bluegill

Largemouth Bass:

Throughout this quarter, we will have bass in pre-spawn, spawning, and post-spawn conditions, and the timing of each will depend on weather and location. In the early parts of the new year, most bass will be in their pre-spawn stage, staging up adjacent to known spawning habitats and in or around vegetation and other cover. With plenty of submersed vegetation offshore in lakes Beauclair and Griffin, you can also try hitting the deeper weed lines with a heavier Texas-rigged worm. The key in other lakes may be finding offshore shell beds and hard bottom. As usual, in colder weather try slowing the retrieve. The first spots to warm up for the spawn will be shallower areas such as canals which are scattered throughout the entire chain of lakes. Once temperatures begin to rise look for the spawn to heat up everywhere. Bass will spawn on hard bottom areas near vegetation and could be in high densities leading to a great day of fishing. Emergent plants such as Bulrush and Pickerel Weed usually will be a good indicator of hard bottom. If you find bass on the bed, you can entice a bite with soft plastics or even running a topwater overhead. Bass will continue spawning throughout the early spring but the length and intensity will depend on how early the spawn began. The bite will slow down and patterning will be more difficult, but targeting the transitions in shoreline vegetation will always be a good option in the Harris Chain.

 

Black Crappie:

Black Crappie season will be in full swing this time of year on the Harris Chain. Trolling throughout open water with minnows or jigs will be the best way to find the fish, but make sure to set your lines to varying depths to find the pattern. Heavily vegetated lakes may hold fish but they will be tough to target unless they’re actively spawning. While spawning, crappie can be caught in shallow vegetated areas (pads, grass) with a jig or live bait. If you find the fish you can have a limit in no time, just pay attention to baits and colors so you know what combinations work best. Expect for lakes like Carlton, Harris and Griffin to be good lakes this year, with some large fish finding their way on to people’s hooks. Options for shoreline fishing would be the Eustis boardwalk and the pier at Hickory Point.

Harris Chain Annual Report

Harris Chain Annual Report

The Harris Chain Annual Report is now available, and includes some great information about FWC's activities benefiting both fish and anglers on the chain in the past year.

Hybrid Striped Bass in the Harris Chain

Hybrid Striped Bass in the Harris Chain

Read our brochure about hybrid striped bass stocking and fishing in the Harris Chain of Lakes!

In recent years, FWC has stocked largemouth bass and sunshine bass in lakes within the Harris Chain to increase angler success and add diversity to anglers' catches. For more information on FWC stockings please visit our Fish Stocking page.

2022

Lake: Eustis
Species: Hybrid Striped Bass
# of Fish: 52,390
Size: Fingerling

Lake: Harris
Species: Hybrid Striped Bass
# of Fish: 116,132
Size: Fingerlings

2021

Lake: Eustis
Species: Hybrid Striped Bass
# of Fish: 56,381
Size: Fingerling

Lake: Harris
Species: Hybrid Striped Bass
# of Fish: 92,783
Size: Fingerlings

2020

Lake: Eustis
Species: Hybrid Striped Bass
# of Fish: 34,624
Size: Fingerling

Lake: Harris
Species: Hybrid Striped Bass
# of Fish: 70,451
Size: Fingerlings

2019

Lake: Eustis
Species: Hybrid Striped Bass
# of Fish: 101,760
Size: Fingerling

Lake: Harris
Species: Hybrid Striped Bass
# of Fish: 159,212
Size: Fingerlings

2018

Lake: Eustis
Species: Hybrid Striped Bass
# of Fish: 111,144
Size: Fingerlings

Lake: Harris
Species: Hybrid Striped Bass
# of Fish: 219,243
Size: Fingerlings

Aquatic plants play an important role in Florida lake management including the Harris Chain. Therefore, FWC monitors submersed vegetation on most lakes within the Chain. To find out more information on aquatic plant management please visit:

Aquatic Plant Management page

Aquatic Plant Treatment Schedule

 

Three fwc staff on a flat boat with about 9 artificial fish attractors

In recent years FWC has installed numerous fish attractors on lakes within the Harris Chain (Lakes Dora, Harris, and Griffin). Please see the Harris Chain Fish Attractor List for locations and coordinates of these attractors. Also, please check out our Interactive Fish Attractor Map for statewide fish attractor locations.

Lake Harris

  • Hickory Point Fishing Pier
    27341 State Road 19 Tavares, FL 32778
  • Singletary Park Fishing Pier
    1902 S. 14th Street Leesburg, FL 34748
  • Venetian Gardens Park
    109 E. Dixie Ave Leesburg, FL 34748
  • Ski Beach
    Lake Harris Drive, Leesburg, FL 34748
  • Griffin Park
    105 S Lakeshore Blvd, Howey-In-The-Hills, FL 34737

Lake Beauclair

  • Trimble Park
    5802 Trimble Park Road Mt. Dora, FL 32757

Lake Eustis

  • Eustis Lake Walk
    601 Northshore Drive Eustis, FL 32726

Lake Griffin

  • Herlong Park Fishing Pier
    700 North Blvd E, Leesburg, FL 34748
  • Lake Griffin State Park
    3089 US-441, Fruitland Park, FL 34731

Lake Dora

  • Wooten Park
    100 E. Ruby Street Tavares, FL 32778
  • Gilbert/Palm Island Park
    411 S. Termain Street Mount Dora, FL 32757

Lake Apopka

  • Newton Park
    31 W Garden Ave, Winter Garden, FL 34787

Popular Species

Popular Sport Fish Species

Fish graphics by Duane Raver, Jr.

More species information is available for:

Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, Redear Sunfish, Sunshine Bass, Channel Catfish

Other species found within the Harris Chain include:

Lake Eustis Pupfish, Atlantic needlefish, Blue Tilapia, Bluefin Killifish, Bowfin, Brown Bullhead, Brook Silverside, Bluespotted Sunfish, Chain Pickerel, Dollar Sunfish, Florida Gar, Gizzard Shad, Golden Shiner, Golden Topminnow, Inland Silverside, Lake Chubsucker, Least Killifish, Longnose Gar, Mosquitofish, Pugnose Minnow, Redbreast Sunfish, Sailfin Catfish, Swamp Darter, Nile Tilapia, Tadpole Madtom, Taillight Shiner, Threadfin Shad, Warmouth, White Catfish, and Yellow Bullhead.

TrophyCatch Harris Chain Leaderboard

Trophy catch

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 Harris Chain of Lakes:

Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 148

Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 27

TrophyCatch Harris Chain Lake Leaders

Lake Date Angler Size
Apopka 02/28/2021 Earnest Thompson 11 lb 13 oz
Beaulcair 01/20/2021 Ross Tanner 11 lb 3 oz
Carlton 02/04/2018 Brandon Franks 10 lb 9 oz
Dora 02/08/2014 John Bozeman 12 lb 4 oz
Eustis 02/15/2020 Kevin Wright 10 lb 10 oz
Harris 01/01/2016 Tommy 12 lb 8 oz
Griffin 02/13/2021 Cheri Bloom 11 lb 9 oz
Yale 01/17/2020 Garry Watkins 12 lb 11 oz