Winter Haven Chain of Lakes
Located within the city of Winter Haven, nine lakes compose this 6000-acre chain where fishing and boating are extremely popular. Boat and shore access to the South Chain are available at lakes Summit, Shipp, Howard, Cannon, and Hartridge. The North Chain can be accessed through lakes Conine, Rochelle, and Haines. Fish attractors are located and marked in lakes Summit, Winterset, Cannon, Smart, and Haines. Bass anglers achieve success by "flipping" plastic worms around shoreline plants such as cattail and maidencane, as well as docks.
Look for schooling Largemouth Bass over eelgrass patches, and fish them with shad-imitating lures. Soft plastic lures in Junebug, green pumpkin, and watermelon red colors will produce Bass around shoreline vegetation. Fish with live wild shiners for the best chance at some big Bass over submerged vegetation. As water temperatures drop in early winter, Largemouth Bass can be caught on the deeper contours this unique system offers. Shell beds and deep submerged vegetation will congregate fish that can make for an exciting day on the water once you get the schools activated. Bluegill (bream) and Redear Sunfish (shellcracker) fishing will begin to slow as spawning congregations disperse. Use crickets and red wigglers fished under a cork for Bluegill and shellcracker, respectively. Black Crappie (specks) fishing should improve as the water temperatures cool in the fall. Try live Missouri minnows drifted over deeper holes in open water. Catfish can be found in the deeper holes in the lakes. Use chicken liver, commercial stinkbaits, and frozen shrimp on the bottom or under a cork. 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 the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes:
Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 191
Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 30
Hall of Fame Club (13+ pounds): 5