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.
As we move into February and March, the Largemouth Bass fishing should begin to peak. Bass will begin spawning when water temperatures reach 65 degrees. Fishing in the shallows where fish spawn can produce good results. Lake Kerr is a sure bet to catch fat Black Crappie, with the possibility of some good sized Red Eared Sunfish. FWC biologists noted a big uptick in these species this year during our Fall sample. Lake Kerr also has an abundance of big Largemouth Bass with four over eight pounders tagged during the fall. It is resources such as these that FWC fisheries biologists encourage the harvest of smaller Bass under the current regulations. For good catches of moderate to large sized bass, Lake Bryant or Wildcat Lake would be a winner. Targeting areas with moderate vegetation with soft plastics or weedless spinnerbaits can produce well. Lake Bryant is producing large Black Crappie and Hybrid Stripers. Lake Half Moon is loaded with big Bream. Fishing along the weed line with crickets or worms should bring an abundance of large Bluegill and Red Eared Sunfish also known as “Shellcrackers”. New “Mossback” fish attractors were added to the old brush fish attractors on Lakes Bryant, Halfmoon, and Dias. The attractors have settled and will attract many species of sport fish such as Black Crappie and Hybrid Striped Bass.
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): 115
Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 53
Hall of Fame Club (13+ pounds): 3