Lake Tarpon is a 2,534-acre Fish Management Area near Tarpon Springs, in Pinellas County. Although the largemouth bass population and size structure is excellent, fishing pressure is relatively low. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) fisheries biologists regularly sample bass during electrofishing surveys on this lake. In fact, Lake Tarpon is rated one of the Top 10 bass lakes in the state of Florida by FWC fisheries biologists. Primary largemouth bass fishing areas are found among the weeds which rim the shoreline. Bulrush (buggy whips), cattail, and tape grass beds are good places to try. Offshore humps, particularly with submerged vegetation, are productive and bass will school and chase shad in open water during the summer months. Public boat ramps are located at the county parks off U.S. Route 19 and County Road 611 (also known as East Lake Road). These parks are open sunrise to sunset and also offer fishing piers.
Redear Sunfish (shellcracker) can be caught all year from the shell bars on crickets and red wigglers fished below a slip bobber near the bottom, and Bluegill (bream) can be caught on crickets and grass shrimp fished along shoreline vegetation. Largemouth Bass fishing has been good, with two to four-pound fish making up the bulk of the catch. Recent electrofishing surveys indicated a high abundance of Bass from 14 to 20 inches, with a few bigger ones mixed in the samples. Try fishing a Texas-rigged plastic worm or slow rolling a spinnerbait around the shell bars near deep water. Live wild shiners should be very productive when drifted over grass beds or dropped into holes in the grass. Shad-imitating baits are a good choice in early fall and leading into winter as Bass chase schools of Shad. Black Crappie (specks) fishing has slowed with the warmer summer water temperature, but as water temperatures continue to drop throughout the fall and early winter the fishing will improve. Try drifting live Missouri minnows, or trolling small jigs and spinners in open water over the grass beds to find the schools. Tight lines!
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 Tarpon:
Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 11
Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 1