Lake Arbuckle

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Lake Arbuckle ★★★★★ 5 1 reviews
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Lake Arbuckle mapSpecifically, Lake Arbuckle is a few miles southeast of Reedy Lake. Water Management Area WMA consists of 13,531 acres east of Avon Park in Polk County 5 miles south of Frostproof. It connects to Reedy via a shallow creek that is seldom navigable. Like Reedy, it too offers dark water, but that is where the similarities end.

If finding bass during the spring is simplified on Lake Reedy, it is even more comfortable on Lake Arbuckle. Arbuckle is a shallow, bowl-shaped lake with only a few spots dropping to more than 12 feet. Very little offshore structure exists, but there is a broad littoral zone loaded with lily pads and bulrush. There’s will always some bass on the outer portion of the shallow vegetation. This lake is good every season of the year because of its feeding areas. It’s the doorway to shallow spawning during the spring, making this lake pretty simple like many Florida lakes.

Lake Arbuckle Fishing Techniques

The largemouth bass begins to spawn on Arbuckle in January, and completion is usually by early April. Given the water clarity, which is even darker than Reedy Lake, those bass spawn very shallow in 2 1/2 feet or less of water. Before they move onto the beds, however, they can stack up on that outer weed line. And they have definite preferences as to what areas they want to stage in.

The first thing I look for on this lake is a point of bulrush extending out from the main weed line, and that has a bunch of pads just inside each pointed end. This combination of bulrush and pads seems to be a magnet for Arbuckle bass. Through Florida, this pattern will work during the entire spawning period and even well into the summer. Even when bass spawn on the inside shallows, there will be bass coming and going on these points. Concentrating on this cover, especially during the morning hours, is the surest way to find bass on almost any Florida lake.

Lures To Use

Unfortunately, finding them and getting them into the boat can be two entirely different matters. Hooking one of the Florida big bass is another thing; this lake I know has trophy bass up to 15-pound in recent years. To tangle with a “trophy bass” like that in pad roots requires some severe tackle. We usually can toss topwater plugs and crankbaits along cover edges with great success. The usage of Swiming worms, spinnerbaits, and buzz baits through the pads, a great way to catch big fish and quite exciting also.

We seldom throw worms smaller than 8 inches on this lake, and 10″ & 12″ inches isn’t too big. If the outer cover doesn’t produce, especially during an afternoon on a warming trend, move inside to look for bedding fish. Again, there is a crucial cover area.

Even in too shallow water, the bass is tough to spot on a bed before you get close enough to spook them off. The best you can expect is to see is a light-colored spot, and maybe some water movement as a bass patrol the bed. Savvy anglers sight-cast those targets with lizards or plastic worms; smaller worms can sometimes produce larger lures.

Arbuckle access is from the Polk County Parks and Recreation Department boat ramp. It is conveniently located on the north end of the lake off Arbuckle Road. It is free to use and effortlessly handles the largest bass boat.

Lake Arbuckle History

Part of the Lake Wales Ridge State Forest area was purchased to protect numerous rare and endangered plants and animals. Arbuckle occupies a high ridge of ancient dunes and contains fast disappearing pine and oak scrub, home to Florida scrub-jays, and gopher tortoises. Other natural communities include pine Flatwoods, sandhill, and bottomland hardwoods along streams and creeks. Lake Arbuckle, where kayak fishing and canoeing is available for year-round fun, adjoins the area. The area offers excellent deer hunting. On the site is a .8-mile nature trail as well as a segment of the Florida Trail.

Horseback riding is allowed on named roads, numbered roads, and designated horse trails and prohibited on hiking trails during established hunting seasons. Arbuckle WMA is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail. Scrub-jays inhabit the oak scrub along the road into the area. Known areas to observe Short-tailed hawks on the Paula Dockery Trail and at Lake Arbuckle are wading birds, bald eagles, limpkins, and ospreys. Camping permitted at the designated campground off Rucks Dairy Road, and at designated campsites along the Florida Trail and at other sites by Special-Use Permit issued by the Division of Forestry. The Division of Forestry regulates camping, and a daily fee charged per campsite. For information, call the Lake Wales Ridge State Forest at (863) 635-7801.


Boat Ramp:

On the north end of the lake, boat access is on Lake Arbuckle Road off North Lake Reedy Boulevard, south of CR 630, east of Frostproof, minimal bank fishing.

Top Targeted Fish Species

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass

Black Crappie




Frequent Asked Question about Lake Arbuckle

Where is Lake Arbuckle Florida?

Lake Arbuckle is in Frostproof Fl, part of the Polk County Parks Department.

What is Lake Arbuckle?

 A local all-natural lake in Polk County Florida referred to as Lake Arbuckle. Primarily fishing and kayaking are enjoyed and the fisheries are a year-round purpose lake. The area around the lake also offers good deer hunting during the season. Polk County has a nature trail around the lake, it’s .8-mile and part of the bigger trail project called the Florida Trail. Additionally, horseback riding is allowed on firebreaks in designated horse trails.

Is Lake Arbuckle good for deer?

 Fishing and kayaking may be enjoyed year-round on Lake Arbuckle and surrounding areas. The area offers very good deer hunting. On the area is a .8-mile nature trail as well as a segment of the Florida Trail.


When does Lake Arbuckle fish spawn?

On Lake Arbuckle, the bass begins to spawn in January and are normally finished by early April. Given the water clarity, which is even darker than Reedy Lake, those bass spawn very shallow in 2 1/2 feet or less of water. On clear lakes, you may want to fish a bit deeper to find the bigger fish spawning.

Map of Lake Arbuckle

Lake Arbuckle Reviews

Captain Bill is Awesome!

Lake Arbuckle
Captain Bill Goudy is Awesome! When Captain told me I was going to catch a lot of bass, I doubted him for sure. From the first cast to last I was getting strikes and boated over 30 nice fish, several in the 5 lb range. It truly was a great experience!
- Joe Schom
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