Fishing in Gainesville Fl

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Complete Guide to Gainesville Fl Fishing

Gainesville is a major city in northern Florida located in Alachua County. Gainesville is the largest city in the North Central Florida region, full of fun activities and excellent fishing opportunities. The area is known for the University of Florida, world-class museums, live music, performing arts, and numerous scenic outdoor adventures. This north-central Florida city has eight state parks to explore, consisting of over 100 miles of trails for hiking, biking, birdwatching, and clear freshwater springs to swim in. The area is also full of savory cuisines and craft breweries to try. Among all these activities, Gainesville is near some of the country’s best year-round bass fisheries. The area is known worldwide for having giant bass and crappie. These fish run so big, they’ve earned the nickname toads by anglers from around the world. Fishing in Gainesville, Fl, never gets old with its endless shallow & deep lakes and rivers.

Bass Fishing

The best part about Gainesville fishing is how close the city is to the state’s most famous bass fisheries. Great fishing locations are known for their trophy bass, and consistent numbers are Santa Fe Lake, Orange Lake, Lochloosa Lake, and Rodman Reservoir. These fisheries have heavily vegetated dark waters, an ideal habitat for producing giant largemouth bass in large quantities. Fishing in Gainesville Florida is great throughout the year but the best time is in the spring during the bass spawn.

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Fishing in Gainesville Reviews

Rodman Reservoir Fishing!

Best bass fishing ever! Captain Ken is a great guy and knows how to get you on the bass. We were visiting our daughter in school and took a day to have fun! Well worth it, will do it again!
- Lisa Wilson
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Best Fishing Spots in Gainesville, Florida

Lake Santa Fe

Lake Santa Fe is a spring-fed lake and one of the best bass fishing spots located 20 minutes from Gainesville. The lake is the headwaters of the Santa Fe River, which then empties into the Suwanee River. The bass on Lake Santa Fe average two to four pounds but is known for holding numerous trophies reaching double digits. Lake Sante Fe is also full of panfish such as black crappie, redear sunfish, and bluegill. This spring-fed fishery has an abundance of wildlife and consistent fishing, making it the perfect fishing destination for travelers. 

Orange Lake

Orange Lake is a designated Fish Management area located about 20 minutes southeast of Gainesville. The average depth is 5.5 feet, with 12 feet being the maximum depth. This lake is full of aquatic vegetation, including spatterdock lily pads and hydrilla. Anglers are unable to access the shallow marsh areas because of the dense foliage. The species most often caught in these vegetated areas are black crappie, bluegill, redear sunfish, and largemouth bass. The water level on this lake still fluctuates, often making it harder for anybody unfamiliar with the area to find fish consistently. 

Lochloosa Lake

Lochloosa Lake is another fishing spot designated as a Fish Management Area located under 30 minutes from Gainesville, Florida. Old-growth cypress trees border most of the Lochloosa shoreline. Most of the aquatic vegetation here is knotgrass and spatterdock. The most common fish species caught on Lochloosa Lake are bluegill, bream, redear sunfish, crappie, and bass.

Rodman Reservoir

Rodman Reservoir is 40 minutes from Gainesville and provides some of the country’s best largemouth bass fishing. This fishery is known for its Florida trophies exceeding ten pounds. Rodman Reservoir is full of areas that attract basses, such as timber, floating vegetation, and deep water holes. There is plenty of natural bait and cooler waters, which is why the extreme growth rate of the local fish. Rodman is mostly a live bait fishery, especially to catch the giant fish. However, artificial have proven to work as well, just not as consistently.

Saltwater Crystal River Fishing In Gainesville Fl

Top Targeted Gainesville Fish Species

Largemouth Bass Fishing in Gainesville Florida

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Fishing Charters

A Gainesville fishing charter is a great way to experience the famous Florida fisheries, targeting your popular game fish such as bass, crappie, and bluegill. Your local expert will lead you to the best fishing spots while sharing their knowledge about the area, fish habits, and best techniques. A guided fishing trip in Gainesville, Florida removes any guesswork for you, allowing you to fully and safely catch fish and experience the area. Gainesville fishing charters provide a fully loaded boat with everything you will need for a successful fishing day, including high-quality rods, reels, hooks, and lures.

Water Quality

There was a period of low water levels from a large sinkhole on Orange lake and a fish kill on Lochloosa Lake in the 1990s. These events quickly wiped out the trophy bass that was previously thriving here. These fisheries have started thriving in recent years with sufficient rainfall, restoration efforts, and less fishing pressure. There has been an explosion in the fish populations since. All of these lakes are back to thriving with tons of baitfish and consistently producing quality largemouth bass reaching the 10 to 13-pound range.


Fishing with live bait is the best way to increase the odds of catching a trophy bass. Depending on the fishery and season, artificials can work well too. Popular lures used are soft plastics such as Swim Senkos, Speed Worms, Horny Toads, and Flukes.

Local Gainesville Fl Bass Fishing Guides

Meet the team of fishing guides Gainesville Fl, we know the best spots, baits, and techniques to give you the greatest fishing experience in Gainesville.

Local Fishing Ponds in Gainesville

Beautiful state parks and nature preserves fill Gainesville, all holding Florida bass. The local fisheries in Gainesville are Newmans Lake and Lake Alice.  

Newmans Lake

Newmans Lake is the largest fishery located in Gainesville and holds some quality fish in large numbers. It’s a 6,000-acre pond full of lush trees, wildlife, and numerous hiking trails to explore. 

Lake Alice

Lake Alice in Gainesville is a local fishing pond located on the University of Florida’s campus. The lake is home to a lot of wildlife, such as alligators and softshell turtles. You can catch largemouth bass while enjoying stunning views around the lake. 

Saltwater Fishing Near Gainesville

Gainesville is close to Florida’s best saltwater fishing destinations on both the east and west coasts. St Augustine Beach and Flager Beach on the Atlantic Coast are about an hour and a half from Gainesville. Cedar Key is about an hour’s drive to the west. Both coasts offer memorable inshore and deep-sea fishing trips. Inshore fishing charters consist of exploring the shallow waters, Intracoastal waterways, and jetties for popular sportfish such as tarpon, snook, sea trout, and redfish. Deep-sea fishing charters involve fishing in the open waters for pelagic species like mahi-mahi, cobia, sailfish, and mackerel. Deep-Sea Fishing trips can also take place near the deep reefs for species like grouper and snapper.

Things To Do Near Gainesville, Fl

Popular Spots

The Florida Museum of Natural History has fossils and ethnographic exhibits. The campus also has the Butterfly Rainforest, which is home to hundreds of butterflies free-flying and birds. Another popular spot nearby is the Harn Museum of Art, which has a giant collection of African and Asian art.

Palm Point Nature Park

Palm Point Nature Park is a peninsular city park located on the western shore of Newmans Lake. This area provides anglers with some of Gainesville’s most scenic views, known for its year-round water birds and its songbird fallouts during migration. The park is full of vibrant colors from the blooming wildflowers in the spring and summer. Palm Point Park is one of the most popular spots for visitors to hike, birdwatch, and fish from the bank. 


Gainesville is known for the University of Florida, the nation’s seventh-largest university campus by enrollment, and Santa Fe College. If you’re here during the fall, you won’t want to miss one of UF’s football games.

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