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 the fall, Largemouth Bass fishing in the Ocala National Forest during the daytime will improve. As the water temperatures fall, fish become less lethargic and are more active. 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 to catch fish. 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. Sunshine Bass have been stocked yearly into Lake Bryant. These fish should be up to around three pounds. Target these fish using minnows near the fish attractors, or drift in the open water. Cold, overcast days are the best time to target them. Lake Half Moon is loaded with big Bream right now. Fishing along the weed line with crickets or worms should bring an abundance of large Bluegill and Red Eared Sunfish also known as “Shell-Crackers”. 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): 72
Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 32
Hall of Fame Club (13+ pounds): 3