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Top Spots Striper

The Top Spots were selected by Florida's freshwater fisheries biologists as being the most likely to be highly productive for stripers, striper hybrids (sunshine bass) and white bass this year.

Stripers may weigh up to 60 pounds.


Striped bass are found primarily in the Apalachicola and the St. Johns rivers and their tributaries, and to a lesser extent in Lake Talquin and the Ochlockonee, Blackwater, Nassau and St. Marys rivers. Striped bass need long stretches of flowing water to reproduce successfully, and these conditions are rarely found in Florida. Stripers do not tolerate water temperatures over 75℉ for long; during Florida summers, striped bass become less active and must find cool water springs or canopied streams to survive. Because of this, striped bass populations are maintained only through annual stockings from Commission and federal hatcheries.

When to Fish

The best striper fishing occurs from fall through spring, when fish are actively feeding.


In the St. Johns River, the Croaker Hole and the jetties at the south end of Lake George are good fall and spring striper areas, and the first few miles of the Wekiva River have several locations where stripers congregate.

White bass are found in the Apalachicola River, Ochlockonee River and Lake Talquin.

Some of the best fishing is found in the Apalachicola and St. Johns rivers. The mouth of the Escambia River near Pensacola has good hybrid fishing, and sunshine bass feed around the fish attractors in Newnan's Lake near Gainesville. 

Tackle and Bait

Shad Imitation

Live shad are very effective, particularly below Jim Woodruff Dam on the Apalachicola River. Live menhaden, golden shiners, croakers or eels are good choices as bait. Lures, like rattletraps, that resemble baitfish also produce impressive strikes, including heavy jigs, as well as sinking and floating lures in white, chrome or chartreuse. Use heavy tackle with 3- to 4-oz. weights in high flow areas.

Small crayfish or grass shrimp on #4 hooks fished in deep river bends or at the edge of sand bars are effective baits. Put a 1/4 oz. egg sinker above your swivel, with an 8- to 12-inch leader tied to your hook; use lighter line for the leader, so if you get snagged you don't have to replace the complete rig. Small jigs in white or brown are often productive.

In urban lakes, shrimp, squid and even cut-up pieces of hot dogs will attract sunshine bass. Sunshine bass readily concentrate around mechanical feeders that periodically dispense food pellets.

These are the sites most likely to be best for Florida striped bass fishing in 2024.



Escambia River Marsh
(Santa Rosa and Escambia counties)
Features: Bass numbers, striped bass numbers, catfish size and numbers

The marsh area of the Escambia River promises to yield high catches of harvestable size Largemouth Bass as well as many other species including monster flathead catfish. The Escambia is also known for its hybrid striped bass fishery stocked by the FWC. The Escambia River also supports one of the richest assemblages of native North American freshwater fish of any Florida river with 85 know native freshwater species. The lower river and delta marshes may be accessed easily from numerous points between Pensacola and Pace along Highway 90.

Yellow River
(Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties)
Features: Bass special opportunity, striped bass size, bream numbers, catfish size and numbers

The Yellow River is home to monster Flathead Catfish and currently boasts the location of the new Florida State Record Flathead Catfish caught in August 2020. This behemoth weighed in at 69.9 pounds. In addition to behemoths, catfish may be caught and harvested in ample numbers. During the winter months, there is also the opportunity to hook one of the large striped bass that move through the Yellow River. The upper Yellow River provides anglers an assortment of largemouth bass, spotted bass, redear sunfish (shellcracker), bluegill, spotted sunfish, warmouth, and shadow bass. Sixty-one miles of the Yellow River flows in a southwesterly direction into Blackwater Bay, an arm of Pensacola Bay, through Florida’s Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton counties. The Yellow River’s one major tributary, the Shoal River, joins the Yellow near Crestview, Florida.

Ochlockonee River / Lake Talquin
(Leon, Gadsden and Liberty counties)
Features: Bass size, crappie size and numbers, striped bass size, catfish size and numbers

A unique wintertime Striped Bass fishery can be found downstream of the Jackson Bluff dam on the Ochlockonee River and in Lake Talquin. Lake Talquin is also famed for a world class Black Crappie fishery. Also, if you’re looking to battle a monster Flathead Catfish, the lower Ochlockonee will oblige you! There are some true river monsters lurking there.

Anglers be advised, if you do decide to cast your lines for striped bass below the Jackson Bluff dam, be advised there is a new size limit regulation in effect for the Striped Bass fishery:

In the lower Ochlockonee River: The bag limit for striped bass is 3, only one of which may be 24 inches or longer in total length. There is no minimum length limit.

Apalachicola River
(Jackson, Gadsden, Calhoun, Gulf, Liberty, and Franklin counties)
Features: Bream numbers, striped bass numbers, catfish size and numbers

The 160-mile Apalachicola River in Florida is a wide, winding river rolling down to Apalachicola Bay through nationally significant forests, with some of the highest biological diversity east of the Mississippi rivaling the Great Smoky Mountains. This river has the highest diversity of freshwater fish species in the state including both freshwater and saltwater species, leading to some of the best fishing in Florida's Panhandle. The numerous creeks and tributaries feeding into the Apalachicola offer scenic runs with deep, quiet pools. Amble numbers of fish, such as catfish and bream, may be caught and harvested as well as Striped Bass in the cooler months. These pools are also home to monster Flathead Catfish. The Apalachicola was at one time the reigning home to the Florida State record for Flathead Catfish until recently broken by a fish caught in the Yellow River. The Apalachicola is still a monster Flathead Catfish destination for anglers as well as an assortment of fresh and saltwater species.



Hanna Park
(Duval County)
Features: Panfish numbers, sunshine bass numbers, catfish numbers

Despite being right on the beach, Hanna Park Fish Management Area (27-acre pond) has some of the best freshwater fishing in the Jacksonville area. Large panfish and bass can be caught here in good numbers. Additionally, stockings of Sunshine Bass (Hybrid striped bass) and channel catfish provide additional angling opportunity. Fish grow fast and large here due to a lot of phytoplankton in the water and robust populations of shad and mullet. The best species to target here would be catfish, Sunshine Bass and panfish. Chicken liver can be a great bait to try for catfish and Sunshine Bass, the trick is keeping it on your hook. There are countless articles and videos about how to keep liver on your hook. Check it out and see what works for you. Crickets, grass shrimp, and worms fished under a bobber work well here for panfish, and crappie have even been caught using those baits. Tilapia are commonly caught on worms here, but if you are targeting them also try corn kernels, bread balls, or a homemade dough bait. These tasty fish are invasive and should be harvested when caught.

When at Hanna Park you will likely notice bubbles in the water from an aeration system. The aeration system helps prevent fish kills during times of low dissolved oxygen in the water. Fish feeders are also placed across the pond to increase populations of forage fish and catfish while attracting them to easily accessible shoreline areas. The other smaller ponds in the park do not have these pieces of equipment but still support fish populations. There is a gravel boat ramp on the main pond at Hanna Park, but keep in mind that the use of gasoline motors or cast nets is not allowed.



St. Johns River and Lake George
(Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Putnam, Seminole, St. Johns & Volusia counties)

Features: Special opportunity for unique species (Sunshine Bass & Striped Bass)

The river from Astor to Welaka, including Lake George, are good areas to target Sunshine and Striped Bass. Anglers generally have good luck in the cooler months targeting these fish either in the river leading into Lake George, generally beginning around Parramore’s Fish Camp. Anglers can troll Rat-L Traps or diving plugs, or fish live bait like shad, shrimp, or eels. In Lake George, popular spots are Nine Mile Point, the Jetties (Cowpens) on the southern end of the lake, or in some of the spring runs. The Croaker Hole, a spring in Little Lake George north of Lake George, is a warmer weather hotspot, with anglers anchoring and fishing live bait.

Public access for Lake George can be obtained from Blue Creek Road to Lake George Road off of Highway 40 and Shell Harbor Park and Boat Launch at 1800 Shell Harbor Rd., Pierson. Private access to Lake George can be obtained from Pine Island fish camp (386-749-2818) or Georgetown Marina & Lodge (386-467-2002). Public access to the St. Johns River can be found at the Butler Street Boat Ramp in Astor and the Welaka Boat Ramp on Elm St. in Welaka. Private access to Lake Geroge can be obtained from South Moon Fish Camp (386) 749-2383 and Parramore’s Campground (386) 749-2721.



Tenoroc Fish Management Area
(Polk County)
Features: Bass size and numbers, bream size and numbers, special opportunity for Sunshine Bass, special opportunity for catfish, catfish numbers 

Tenoroc Fish Management Area is an 8,300-acre former phosphate mine in Lakeland, Florida which provides a special opportunity to catch several species of fish. Tenoroc is located on Highway 659 (Combee Road) and can be accessed from Highway 33, just south of Interstate 4. Call the Tenoroc Headquarters at 863-606-0093 for more information or to make fishing reservations. The area is open to public fishing four days a week, Fridays through Mondays. All anglers must check-in and out at the Tenoroc Entryway Building, deposit their valid fishing license if applicable and pay $3 for a daily fishing permit unless exempt.

With 30 lakes to choose from on the property, these lakes ranging from six to 242-acres were created years ago by draglines during phosphate surface mining operations. As a result, lake bottoms have irregular contours with depths up to 35 feet. Most Tenoroc lakes have ADA accessible boat ramps and facilities. Numerous bank fishing opportunities are also present for anglers who don’t have a boat and a few lakes even have picnic pavilions and restrooms.

Bass anglers who want to catch good numbers of fish should cover lots of area, probing deeper waters with chrome-colored lipless crankbaits and chartreuse ("Firetiger" color) diving crankbaits. Once anglers catch a few fish in a general area, it’s time to slow down and fish the area thoroughly. Plastic worms are often the best all-around lure for fishing slowly. Red shad and junebug are great worm colors. If fishing with live bait, shiners have proven to be a go to for anglers at Tenoroc to catch trophy bass Anglers who fish submersed islands or sandbars off points will often find good concentrations of bass.  In addition, many of the lakes are connected with water control structures. When in operation, bass are often concentrated in areas of flowing water and can be caught using crankbaits or plastic worms. During the spring, flipping plastic worms or crawfish imitation baits in thick cover will often produce some bigger largemouth bass.

Anglers who want to catch panfish (bluegill, shellcrackers) at Tenoroc will have several good lake choices to try. Anglers should look for shorelines with an abundant supply of woody brush, tree-tops or vegetation that are perfect locations for panfish to hide out. Anglers should also look for signs and white crab pot buoys pointing out underwater gravel beds or other fish attractors on several Tenoroc lakes. Presenting natural baits (crickets, night crawlers, red wigglers, grass shrimp) under a cork and bobber or free lining them with a split shot weight on light tackle will entice a bite around structure, submerged timber, pockets in vegetation, underwater humps and deeper holes. Fishing artificial lures (rooster tails, road runners, beetle spins) can also be productive in deeper areas or near any type of structure.

Fishing for catfish in Tenoroc lakes is also popular and rewarding as channel catfish are stocked annually by FWC in several lakes. Some lakes have good naturally reproducing populations of brown bullhead as well. Fishing with a piece of chicken liver, cut bait with high oil content like gizzard shad, commercial stink baits, cheese balls and night crawlers around the deeper holes and fish feeders, if available, will produce the best action at the height of the day. Fishing with family or friends for catfish from one of the many lakes with open shorelines is a favorite pastime for many Tenoroc anglers.

FWC biologists have recently reintroduced sunshine bass to Tenoroc to provide anglers with more opportunities to catch different varieties of sport fish species. Stocked in both Derby & Picnic Lake, sunshine bass have fast growth rates and ravenous appetites, preferring to focus on small prey species such as threadfin & gizzard shad. Anglers looking to target this species with natural baits should use live shiners or minnows on a free line or under a bobber. If using artificial lures, try to use tackle that imitates the color of their favorite food items: silver or gold spoons, white and silver jerk baits, rooster-tails, jigs, and grubs that give off the “flash” of an evading baitfish. Sunshine bass like to school up and corral baitfish to the surface, so if you see feeding activity in the morning or evening hours, cast away and have fun!



Lake Osborne-Ida Chain of Lakes
(Palm Beach County)
Features: Unique opportunities for Peacock Bass and Sunshine Bass

Conveniently located in the heart of Palm Beach County, this system of smaller lakes interconnected by canals provides many excellent fishing opportunities. Bank fishing access is ample thanks to county parks, in particular, John Prince Park. Lakes Ida and Osborne have been producing excellent catches of Butterfly Peacock bass in addition to good largemouth bass fishing. Regionally, this is the top spot to target Sunshine bass. Clown Knifefish are an unusual surprise that are sometimes caught when targeting Sunshine bass. As a result, lipless crankbaits (Rat-L-Trap, for example) and hard jerk baits (Rapala, for example) can be top choices here, producing all of the species mentioned. Locally caught live threadfin shad are also effective baits.