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Putnam County

Rodman River

NOTE: A temporary catch and release regulation will be in effect for Rodman Reservoir during the drawdown. It will be illegal to possess Largemouth Bass in Rodman Reservoir from November 1, 2019 through March 15, 2020.

CURRENT UPDATE: Rodman Reservoir is currently drawn down to 8 feet lower than normal water levels as part of the active management of the reservoir. Since the 1990s, the reservoir has been drawn down every 3-4 years to expose the lake bottom, allowing organic material (muck) on the bottom of the lake to oxidize and dissipate. This keeps the muck from building up in the reservoir and maintains hard bottom for fish spawning and native plant growth. The reservoir will remain at the current level until approximately March 1, 2020 when it begins to refill to normal levels. Not only is this an opportunity to scout structure that is normally under water, but the fishing is also usually very good as the fish are concentrated into a smaller area. The reservoir can be accessed via temporary ramps at Kenwood and Orange Springs.

A premier largemouth bass fishery located in north Northeast Florida, covers 9,500 acres and is about 15 miles long. It is located south of Palatka off of Hwy 19. The reservoir was created in 1968 when an earthen dam was built across the Ocklawaha River. A four-gate spillway (Kirkpatrick Dam) controls the water levels of the reservoir. The reservoir from its headwaters at Eureka Dam to Paynes Landing consists of flooded woodlands. The transition section from Paynes Landing to Orange Springs consists of flooded standing timber and areas of floating vegetation. The pool section from Orange Springs to Kirkpatrick Dam, including the river channel and the Cross Florida Barge Canal, consists of floating and submersed vegetation, dead standing timber and submersed and partially submersed trees and stumps. The Barge Canal and river channel have water depths up to 30 feet deep. Submersed vegetation (hydrilla, coontail and eel grass) is common in the pool section of the reservoir. Drawdowns are conducted every three to four years on the reservoir for aquatic plant control and fish and wildlife habitat enhancement.

Local contact:
Gary's Tackle Box 352-372-1791.

Note: Look out for floating logs and exercise caution when navigating.

NOTE: A temporary catch and release regulation will be in effect for Rodman Reservoir during the drawdown. It will be illegal to possess Largemouth Bass in Rodman Reservoir from November 1, 2019 through March 15, 2020.

CURRENT UPDATE: Rodman Reservoir and big bass are synonymous during this time of year, and that’s especially true when the lake is in its drawdown stage. Reservoir levels were lowered 7 feet from normal levels in November 2019, and will remain at this level until March 2020. Generally, the biggest bass are caught from deep water along the river channel and Barge Canal in the Kenwood to Kirkpatrick Dam area. Outside bends in the river channel from Orange Springs to Cypress Bayou are also a good place to try for largemouth bass. Deep diving crank baits and Carolina-rigged soft plastics (worms, lizards, and crawfish) are preferred in the deeper water. Texas-rigged worms, spinner baits and lipless crank baits also work well, while golden shiners are the bait of choice for those seeking trophy fish. During the drawdown, catch-and-release on all largemouth bass is mandatory until March 15th, 2020. Black crappie can be caught along the river channel and Barge Canal on live minnows with floats and plastic tailed jigs. Anglers have their preferred colors, but jigs in chartreuse, yellow, and white colors seem to get the most consistent action. Bluegill, redear, and redbreast sunfish fishing is best this time of year in the riverine section of the reservoir. Beetle-spins and live bait (grass shrimp) work well. Temporary boat ramps are located at Kenwood Landing, Orange Springs, and Hog Valley where anglers can launch into the Barge Canal and river channel. To prevent boating accidents during the drawdown, boaters are asked to watch their wake and be courteous to anglers fishing along the Barge Canal and river channel.

Popular Species

Popular Sport Fish Species

Fish graphics by Duane Raver, Jr.

More species information is available for:

Largemouth bass, Bluegill, Redear sunfishBlack crappie

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 Rodman Reservoir:

Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 485

Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 97

Hall of Fame Club (13+ pounds): 2