Ocala National Forest Lakes
Lakes & Marion counties
There are approximately 600 natural lakes in the Ocala National Forest with lakes Bryant, Mill Dam, Kerr, Crooked, Wildcat, Lou Echo, Grasshopper, Eaton and Quarry Fish Pond being the most popular. A booklet titles "Fishing Opportunities in the Ocala National Forest" by the Ocala National Forest Interpretive Association is available at the Visitors Welcome Center at the intersection of S.R. 40 and C.R. 315. This booklet describes sport fishing locations, with recommendations for fishing methods and accessibility, as well as a topographic map.
Note: Lake Wildcat has a special regulation requiring all largemouth bass to be released immediately.
All the lake levels are high right now due to our wet winter. Lake Bryant is a very productive crappie lake and a lot of specks have been picked up this year. Lake Kerr can also produce panfish by fishing in the open water where the water depth drops. Fish on the shallow side of the drop on the bottom for panfish. Bass fishing in the forest remains good throughout the summer. Live baits always work well. Shiners free-lined near weed lines can be effective, as can live worms. Soft jerk baits rigged weedless are also proven. Casting such lures into the weed line, then walking the lure on the surface to about 5 feet from the weed line, then letting it slowly sink to the bottom can be effective. Spinnerbaits can also be effective on cloudy days. Night fishing in some of the larger forest lakes (Bryant, Wildcat, and Grasshopper) works well. Fishing with shiners tends to produce the best results. Try fishing on full moon nights to make watching your bait easier.
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 various Ocala National Forest Lakes:
Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 42
Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 12
Hall of Fame Club (13+ pounds): 2