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Oklawaha River

Marion & Putnam counties

Oklawaha River

The Oklawaha 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.

Spring means that the time for catching bass is here, and bass are readily available. Also, as the weather warms up, panfish will start to get active. The Oklawaha River presents an excellent opportunity to catch panfish and catfish. When fishing here, anglers can catch redbreast sunfish, which only reside in rivers and creeks. Anglers also have the opportunity to catch 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 on 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. Catfishing at night during the warmer months can produce good results on this waterbody. Chicken livers, live works, or even cut bait work well for channel cats. 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 water is high and dark after all the precipitation we have had so use care in navigating the river.

Popular Species

Withlacoochee Species

Fish graphics by Duane Raver, Jr.

More species information is available for:

Largemouth bass, Bluegill, Redear sunfish, Channel catfish

FWC Trophy Catch Logo

TrophyCatch Tracker

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 Oklawaha River:

Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 37

Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 16

Hall of Fame Club (13+ pounds): 1