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.
Bluegill (bream) fishing will improve with warmer water temperatures. Use crickets and red wigglers fished below a cork near shoreline vegetation. Black crappie (specks) fishing will be slow until water temperatures cool in the fall. Drift live Missouri minnows or troll with Hal flies and small spinners over grass beds and open water for the best action. Largemouth bass fishing has reached its summertime pattern. Bass can be caught on live, wild shiners, and plastic worms fished slowly around cattails and bulrush (buggy whips) during dawn and dusk hours. Bass can also be caught shallow when the bluegill spawn throughout the summer months. If you see colonies of bluegill beds don’t hesitate to throw bladed or swim style jigs in black and blue or green pumpkin colors to catch bass chasing the bluegill. Winning bags of over 20 pounds in tournaments are not uncommon for anglers capitalizing on this pattern during new and full moon spawning events on this chain of lakes. Most bass will move to deeper grass lines to find cooler water during these “dog days” of summer. If you can locate them, some quality fish can be caught. Try using lipless and deep diving crankbaits, large spoons, swimbaits, “Ned” rigs, and “Neko” rigs along deeper 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 the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes:
Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 205
Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 31
Hall of Fame Club (13+ pounds): 5