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 with live Missouri minnows while fishing for black crappie (specks). Largemouth bass fishing can be good in between the cold fronts during this time of year. 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. Bass will begin to spawn in late January, so try flipping with a variety of soft plastics such as tube jigs, crawfish, lizards, and worms in the canals and shallow bays. Black crappie (specks) fishing is good. Try drifting live Missouri minnows, or trolling small jigs and spinners in open water to find the schools. The best bet when using artificial is a small red and chartreuse tube jig drifted over the grass beds. 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): 8