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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 have slowed down with cooler water temperatures. For your best chance at catching panfish, try using live worms under a bobber around deeper structure. If you are not getting bites, do not be afraid to change the depth of your bait or try a new spot. Black crappie (specks) fishing will start to improve as weather gets cooler. Try using a live minnow under a bobber or small spinner baits. Areas with 4 to 5 feet of water with aquatic vegetation or wood cover are good places to try. Specks may also be suspended in open water near structures or humps. Try trolling small spinners or spider rigs. You may also have good luck trolling a shad imitation for hybrid sunshine bass. Look for these feisty fish chasing shad in open water. 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. The bass population in Lake Manatee is healthy with quite a few plump bass. Areas near the bank with 4 to 6 feet of water and emergent vegetation like cattail or bulrush are good places to try a Texas rigged worm or creature bait. Spinner baits or crankbaits along weed edges may also produce some bites. As water temperatures begin to warm back up in the spring, bass will be feeding to prepare for spawn. Swimbaits, jerkbaits, and skirted jigs are great lures this time of year. 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