Lake Hancock

Lake Hancock FlLake Hancock is located north of Bartow, in Florida, between Lakeland Ridge and Winter Haven. Lake Hancock is one of the biggest lakes in Polk County. It is mainly shallow and has a max depth of 16 feet and an average depth of about 4 feet. The lake has a significant American alligator presence and wading bird crookeries.

There is an abundance of algae and hydrilla, which occasionally constitutes an issue. Polk County is known for its fantastic freshwater lakes that provide incredible fishing opportunities, with Lake Hancock specifically being excellent for Largemouth bass, Black crappie, and Bluegill.

Lake Hancock, Florida Fishing

The most popular fish species caught in Lake Hancock include suckermouth catfish, blue tilapia, Bluegill, bass, threadfin shad, alligator gar, and Black bullhead. However, one prominent fish anglers flock to Lake Hancock for is the Florida Largemouth bass. The lake’s average bass size is about two pounds, although you will occasionally find a four-pounder.

As a result of Lake Hancock’s water fluctuations and other issues, the largemouth bass size cannot exceed four pounds consistently, making it a lake more known for its numbers and popularity among recreational bank fishermen. But, like all lakes, it can produce big ones also.

As previously mentioned, Lake Hancock is a shallow lake, and during summer, there may be summer droughts that may lead to oxygen issues and the death of some fish.

There is a reasonable population of tilapia that makes for good fishing for anglers who visit the lake. Catfishing, Black crappies, and bream fishing are also great on the lake. These may not reach slab level like in the more immense reservoirs produced. Bass fishermen use the shoreline to find and catch fish. You will find fallen timber, cypress trees, aquatic vegetation, and stickups on the banks.

Tips and Techniques

The fish move too much shallower areas in the spring to spawn and often go close to the bank. During this period, the best way to catch fish is via small jigs, chartreuse colors, weightless worms, spinnerbaits, and plastic lizards.

Another excellent bait for the lake is a 7-inch worm in tequila sunrise or red shad fished around grasses or lily pads. Bream fishing is ideal around the lake banks, and one of the most popular ways to catch bream is by using red worms beneath a cork. Crappie usually hangs from the shore close to the deeper waters unless it’s spring and they are spawning. You can use small jigs and shiners as excellent lures.

Lake Hancock, FL Boat Ramp

Lake Hancock’s Boat Ramp has a structure that acts as a legacy for the flood control district of the 1930s vintage. The ramp has improved from the informal launching site on Winter Lake Road, dating from the construction of the road in the 1960s.

It has been under construction for a while and has now been open. Although there are still a few restrictions, visitors can take rides.

Lake Hancock Fl Alligators

Lake Hancock has a massive presence of American Alligator, especially along its shoreline. It feeds on one of the enormous bird rookeries in Florida. Lake Hancock is known to be one of the best sites to go alligator hunting.

Circle B Bar reserve has had one of the most significant expansions of alligators since the water levels and wetlands areas were restored. Many of the alligators are usually large, and trails will usually be closed during the nesting season so that interspecies conflicts do not occur.

Large alligators are regularly observed in Circle B’s marshes. Sometimes, trails adjacent to the wetlands are closed during alligator nesting season to avoid interspecies conflicts.

Lake Hancock Things to Do


There is an area for launching kayaks, small motorboats, and canoes with beautiful crystals and a rocky shoreline. You can go ashore by paddling to the left, leaving the launching area onto conservation land. You will find substantial granite slabs that extend into the water, giving it beautiful features that make it perfect for a swim, or picnics, except on days when it gets windy, and you have to be careful. Plan for your food and drink, as you will not find any places to purchase drinks or food.


The Circle B Bar Reserve is a great hike spot close to Lake Hancock. It was set aside mainly to protect Lake Hancock’s floodplain area. In addition, some trails and paths have been set out for biking.


You can picnic with your family for a fun and simple daytime activity. You will find many picnic facilities, with beautiful surroundings having vibrant cypress forests, black willow trees, and red maple. You could scan the water in search of algae and hydrilla.

Bird Watching

If you are interested in birds and new species, there is a bird population to take some time in at the lake. You will find different species like waterfowl, wading birds, ospreys, and even eagles. There’s also an alligator presence, and you should be careful. 

Visit the Discovery Center

A local nature center is widely known as Polk’s Nature Discovery Center. There are usually many exciting shows, events, and accessible information about the Circle B Bar Reserve. In addition, some exhibits teach you about the environment, the animals, the wetlands, and the plants that thrive there.

Lake Hancock Winter Garden FL

Lake Hancock’s winter garden used to be called Beulah. It has a humid, warm subtropical climate with two significant seasons annually; one is the hot, rainy season, and the other is the cool season with lower temperatures and less rainfall. Its humid climate results from its low elevation and nearness to the Tropic of Cancer. On the other hand, its weather is influenced by the Gulf stream’s movement.

Winter Garden is known for its charm and old Florida style and is one of the best places in Central Florida to visit. It is a historic place with restaurants and shops along the famous West Orange Trail.

Those into music and arts should certainly visit Winter Garden, Florida. Here, you will attend events like the Garden Theatre’s live performances, live music on the weekends downtown, and even visual art events at an art gallery called SoBo. On Saturdays, there is the bustle of the Winter Garden Farmers Market. The market offers a wide range of produce vendors, baked goods vendors, soap vendors, flower vendors, and live entertainment. Winter Garden is a tiny, charming city that embodies a wide range of natural and historical assets. It’s a place worth exploring between your Polk County fishing adventures.

Top Targeted Fish Species

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Largemouth Bass

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Channel Catfish

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 Lake Hancock Map