Marion & Putnam counties
The Ocklawaha River originates at the north end of Lake Griffin in Lake County. The upper reach is largely channelized but is in a natural condition for most of its length. Rodman Reservoir is a 16 mile impoundment lying between Highway 316 near Ft. McCoy to Highway 19 near Palatka. The river is again natural from the Rodman Dam to its confluence with the St. Johns River near Welaka.
Public boat ramps are at Moss Bluff off Highway 464, Ray-Davidson Park at Highway 40, Gores Landing off CR 415, Eureka East and West on Highway 316, Orange Springs, Kenwood Landing and Hog Valley on Rodman Reservoir, Rodman Dam off Highway 19 and Highway 19 south of the barge canal.
The Ocklawaha River presents an excellent opportunity to catch Panfish and Catfish in the fall. When fishing here, anglers can catch Redbreast Sunfish, which only reside in rivers and creeks. Anglers also can catch Spotted Sunfish, locally known as “Stumpknockers”, in abundance. The best way to fish in the river is to find structure, which can come in the form of fallen trees, vegetation, deep holes, or tree roots. A good method is to fish a worm or a cricket on the bottom using a small hook and enough split shot to hold the bait still. Keep the line tight and watch for the pole to twitch to determine when you have a bite. The entire river is typically good for this type of fishing. The numerous species of Catfishes are still productive during the fall months. Chicken livers, live worms, or even cut bait work well for Channel, White, Snail, or Bullhead Catfish. The bigger the bait, the bigger the Catfish you will usually catch. Target deep holes, outside bends, or deeper creek mouths that have some type of additional cover (i.e., logs, aquatic plants, docks, etc.). Be patient if at first you don’t catch fish. Catfish hunt primarily using their sense of smell, so it may take them a little longer to locate your bait. The old barge canal is always a good bet to target Black Crappie and Bream. Fish near fallen trees or the edge of Lily pads with minnows. Anglers need to be aware that, with the amount of rain we have had recently, the water is up and fast moving.
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 Ocklawaha River:
Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 63
Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 22
Hall of Fame Club (13+ pounds): 1