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Manatee County

Lake Manatee

Lake Manatee is a 1,180-acre public reservoir east of Bradenton, in Manatee County. This quiet lake offers plenty of fishing opportunities in addition to the amenities offered in the state park. Two boat ramps provide access to the lake however, boats must be less than 20 horsepower. The east ramp can be accessed off Highway 64, and the west ramp is accessible through Lake Manatee State Park with an entrance fee. The state park also allows fishing from their fishing docks. The west portion of the lake offers good largemouth bass fishing on both north and south shorelines. Panfish are abundant with good sized redear found throughout the lake. Catfish, hybrid sunshine bass, and black crappie fishing can be productive as well. A fish consumption advisory is in effect for Lake Manatee. For more information visit Florida Health.

Bluegill and redear (shellcracker) fishing will improve as the water warms up. For your best chance at catching panfish, try using live worms under a bobber around vegetation and structure. Black crappie (specks) fishing can be excellent. Try using a live minnow under a bobber or small spinner baits. Areas with 4 to 5 feet of water with grass or wood cover are good places to try. Trolling small spinners or spider rigs can also be effective this time of year. Sunshine bass can be found chasing shad this time of year. Trolling shad imitations is a good method to find schools of sunshines. Spoons, crankbaits, and spinners are all good choices. If you are going to target catfish, try using cut shad or chicken livers fished near the bottom. The east side of the lake is a good place to try, particularly around the bridge. At dawn and dusk, try targeting points and flats. Largemouth bass can be found in areas near the bank with 4 to 6 feet of water and emergent vegetation like cattail or bulrush. As the days heat up, target shaded and heavily vegetated areas with a topwater frog or Texas rig. Largemouth bass will also be found on offshore structures in deeper water, try deep diving crank baits and heavy jigs. Tight Lines!

Popular Species

Popular Sport Fish Species

Fish graphics by Duane Raver, Jr.

More species information is available for:

Largemouth bass, Bluegill, Redear sunfish, Sunshine bass, Channel catfish, Black 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 Manatee:

Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 1

Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 1