New Tenoroc Welcome Center
Tenoroc has opened its new Welcome Center (3755 Tenoroc Mine Road, Lakeland, Florida 33805; Phone:863-303-0093) for the general public! Operational days/hours are Friday - Monday from 6AM-7PM EST, shifting to 8PM after March 13th, 2021 for daylight saving time. The Tenoroc Welcome Center will currently be where all visitors check in and out of the FWC-managed property and includes a drive-thru window to cut back on waiting time. Visitors are authorized to enter the building while wearing a mask or face covering to buy drinks and snacks at their leisure, use restrooms, and obtain information about the PUA from 8AM-5PM. Tenoroc Fish Management Area averages a total of 24,776 anglers a year, providing a wide variety of fishing opportunities to both boat and bank anglers.
Public Access: Open Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. during periods of Daylight Saving Time and 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. during periods of Eastern Standard Time.
Tenoroc Fish Management Area, located northeast of Lakeland, offers a unique fishing opportunity. Tenoroc is an old phosphate mine where 24 lakes ranging in size from seven to 227 acres provide quality public fishing. All anglers are required to register at the area headquarters where a daily use fee of $3 is charged. Access quotas control the number of anglers on all lakes and harvest restrictions on sportfish ensure angler satisfaction. Limitations on the use of boat motors also apply here. Special opportunities are available to children and physically challenged anglers; bank fishing access is provided on many lakes. This intensive management philosophy has created some of the best catch rates in the state for a variety of sportfishes.
Two types of lakes offer different fishing challenges. Unreclaimed lakes have steep banks, brush-covered shorelines and generally greener water color. Reclaimed lakes have gently sloping shorelines vegetated with cattail, bulrush and other aquatic plants. Lakes vary in depth and offer shoreline opportunities, as well as open-water structure fishing. Roads and grounds are well maintained and modern boat ramps are provided on most lakes. Selected lakes also have restrooms and picnic pavilions.
Tenoroc is nationally noted for largemouth bass and provides excellent fishing for panfish (bluegill and redear sunfish), black crappie and several varieties of catfish. Seasonal patterns are well established for these fishes and appropriate fishing techniques are updated quarterly in this report. Most bass anglers prefer to fish the reclaimed lakes, while panfish and crappie anglers target unreclaimed lakes. Nevertheless, all species can be caught in both, so anglers can choose the type of area they wish to fish.
The site also has a shooting and training facility on the property.
Up-to-date fishing reports can be obtained by calling the Tenoroc office at 863-499-2422, Friday through Monday, between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm.
Spring is officially here and as water temperatures start to warm up, so will the panfish action. Bream (bluegill & redear sunfish) have already begun their spawn, so the best chances of finding heavy concentrations of fish will be near overhanging cover, man-made structure (such as piers or docks), submerged timber, vegetation mats, pockets in vegetation, humps, and holes. Keep your nose up in the air as panfish emit a musky, fish-like odor when on bed. The best baits are natural baits (crickets, night crawlers, red wigglers, grass shrimp, grasshoppers, cut hotdogs, and even minnows for bigger individuals) under a cork/bobber or free lining with a split shot weight. Artificial lures (rooster-tails, road runners, beetle spins) are go-to tackle for seasoned panfish anglers. Lakes Cemetery, Coronet, Derby, Hydrilla, 2, 3, 5, A, B, G, Legs, Picnic, Pine, Shop, Long, Horseshoe, & F are good places to target Tenoroc’s bream species.
The catfish bite will also pick up as temperatures rise. Fishing with a piece of chicken liver, cut bait with high oil content like gizzard shad, commercial stink baits, cheese balls, night crawlers, red wigglers, live shiners, live minnows, and even cut hotdogs around holes, humps, vegetation, and fish feeders (for select anglers only at Lakes Pine & Derby) will produce the best action, especially around dusk & dawn. Lakes Cemetery, Coronet, Halfmoon, Derby, Hydrilla, 10, 2, Legs, Lost Lake East, & Picnic are good places to target catfish.
Largemouth bass fishing is as good as it gets this time of the year. These sportfish are finishing up their spawn cycle so now’s the time to catch them while they’re in shallow water. Kayaks and canoes have the distinct advantage of utilizing stealth while sneaking up on big individuals, allowing for opportunities to present lures and live baits they can’t pass up. Continue to fish around points, humps, and ledges at moderate depths (8-16 feet wherever applicable). Fish can also be caught around any vegetation (cattails, bullrush, spatterdock, alligator weeds, Kissimmee grass, submerged lumber, overhanging cover) or man-made structure (piers & docks). Threadfin shad, gizzard shad, bream, and golden shiners are a few of the most common prey species found at Tenoroc, so try imitating their colors with artificial lures such as deep diving crankbaits, heavy spinnerbaits, jerk baits, and jigging lures. Largemouth bass have great eyesight, so wisely choosing the baits/lures color and retrieval at depth can be the difference maker. Fishing with plastic worms/crawfish/flukes/lizards in junebug/red-shad/white/fire-tiger/watermelon have yielded successful results. Always be mindful when choosing lures, it’s all about presentation! Using natural baits (crickets, minnows, shiners, & worms) will also draw in a bite too. Lakes Butterfly, Coronet, A, 2, B, 5, F, G, C, Picnic, Shop, Long, Lost Lake East, Tern, & Lost Lake West are good places to target largemouth bass. Numerous TrophyCatch submissions of largemouth bass larger than 8 lbs. have already been caught and released in 2021 so your trophy still swims at Tenoroc!
Black Crappie (specks) fishing is starting to level-out as the weather & temperatures heat up, forcing fish into deeper/cooler depths. Tenoroc’s regulations require all black crappie to be a minimum of 10” inches, with 10 fish harvested per angler allowed per day. The bite is still on at peak feeding times near dusk and dawn. Beware, crappie shy away from most unusual disturbances so keep your distance from fishable habitat, avoid unnecessary movements or noise, and use the bare minimum light tackle! Use depth finders to locate dredge holes, structure, ledges, or submerged timber and continue to fish them until you find the one holding the specks! You can occasionally find a good crappie in or near vegetation, around points with large underwater shelves, or suspending in the open water during warmer conditions. Drifting a live minnow or small shiner in 8 to 12 feet of water or trolling small jigs/spinners will produce bites. Remember, a slow retrieval looks more natural. Lakes Horseshoe, Cemetery, 4, Hydrilla, 10, 5, Picnic, 3, F, Legs, Shop, Long, & G are good places to target specks.
Tilapia can be found throughout Tenoroc’s lakes. They are not native to Florida and anglers are encouraged to keep them if caught. There are no bag limits when it comes to harvesting these individuals and your efforts can help with fisheries management and they taste delicious!
Check with staff regarding boat launching conditions and lake closures due to habitat restoration activities as well as current fishing reports when you are planning your trip. 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 Tenoroc Fish Management Area:
Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 36
Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 4