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Highlands County


Located five miles northeast of Lake Placid, Highlands County, this 27,692-acre lake has quality fishing for black crappie (specks) and one of the highest largemouth bass catch rates in the state. The best speck fishing occurs during winter months drifting over open water, particularly in the northeast and southwest corners. Predominant aquatic vegetation includes spadderdock (bonnets), bulrush (buggy whips), cattail, and pondweed (pepper grass). Kissimmee grass on the south end is particularly productive when there is flow into the Istokpoga Canal. This canal, located off County Highway 621, provides excellent largemouth bass fishing from the bank when the gates are open. Arbuckle and Josephine Creek mouths are also good areas when there is flow. The island areas and associated grass can hold bass any time of year and the deepest portion of the lake (10 ft) is in the southwest corner. Public boat ramps are located on the north, northeast, and southwest shorelines off of U.S. Route 98, Lake Boulevard off Cow House Road, and Highland Lake Drive off of County Route 621, respectively. There are also six fish camps/resorts on the lake with various accommodations. Anglers can wade fish off of the Cow House Road boat ramp.

For more information contact Henderson's Fish Camp at 863-465-2101, or Cypress Isle RV Park & Marina at 863-465-5241.

In these late spring and early summer months, continue the pattern of fishing mixed vegetation with lily pads and reeds or cattails for bream, dipping a red worm, cricket, or freshly caught grass shrimp into holes in and around the vegetation, specifically the lily pads. Bream (bluegill and redear sunfish) will start to move into the foliage to prepare for spawn by April/May. Use a long ultra-lite combo or cane pole with a small bobber, split shot, and hook.

By mid-April, black crappie will have completed the peak spawn, and it will be time to start Spider rigging out the front of the boat, pushing poles in deeper, open water when water temperatures rise. Other late spring/early summertime options for catching black crappie when they have moved to deeper water include drifting with minnows and a bobber or trolling with jigs. Whichever technique you try, it will be a fun day on the water fishing for black crappie on beautiful Lake Istokpoga. Refrain from being surprised if you find an occasional bonus bass or two while black crappie fishing.

If you are fishing for a Florida Trophy largemouth bass, moving baits such as swim worms, jigs, chatter baits, or topwater choices such as a hollow body frog, popping frog, or a topwater Swim bait are always fun and exciting. Also, fishing with live bait, such as wild-caught golden shiners, using a weedless hook and bobber along the edge of the weed line, can be thrilling and fun for the entire family.

So get out on the water and fish; it's lots of fun for all, and you'll make memories that will last a lifetime!

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 Lake Istokpoga:

Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 517

Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 97

Hall of Fame (13+ pounds): 2