About Lake Winder
This area includes lakes Lake Winder, Poinsett Lake, and Lake Washington. St. Johns River water flow is regulated on these lakes, ensuring water to Melbourne and other surrounding cities. The Upper St Johns River reclaimed drained marshlands by creating reservoirs and replumbing existing canals. The goal is to reduce freshwater discharges to the Indian River Lagoon and improve water quality to enhance wetland habitat.
The habitat dominated the area by emergent sawgrass, arrowhead, Smartweed, and maidencane.
The area offers several primitive camping sites accessible by boat along the river, leading to 7 miles of trail access, where portions of the hiking trail are very dense with hardwood and palms, while others are entirely unshaded.
Lake Winder Fishing
Lake Winder is usually not considered an excellent speckled perch lake, and the other members of the ‘brim’-type clans are often challenging to find. As we will discover later, most anglers find more than their share of these fishes in Lake Poinsett.
The main concentrations of open water vegetation in Lake Winder are found on the western half of the lake and, particularly, along its southern end. The south part is where the entrance point of the St. Johns River lies; the concentration of water-borne nutrients may be a factor causing the growth. Naturally, it is possible to find the north-flowing main river’s entrance, but Lake Winder’s massive development often makes it a complicated process. Some good fishing on the river’s southern stretches, look for vegetation in the shallows. Only anglers with large gas tank reserves should try this extreme distance from the nearest launch, usually, venture into this water section.
The bottom contours of Lake Winder have minimal variation. Other than vegetation, there is little real ‘structure.’ We find a few open-water shell beds along the eastern side of the lake, which are excellent in the early summer and during the winter months. The way to find these shells is to find the two and three-foot depths along the eastern side. Then, try due west until the water begins to drop into four and six feet. The shells will be on small rises or high spots that lie just along or jut out from the falling contour’s trace. Rat-L-Trap and other shallow cranking lures produce well in the summer months. Use chase baitfish lures after the spawn during winter and spring for bass. All months of the year, the plastic worm is productive.
Possibly the western half of the lake holds the most potential for the newcomer to Lake Winder. In general, this part of the lake is part of a collection of open-water grass with open area stretches of sandy bottom. History has shown that most spawning appears on the western side and, especially, in the northwest corner. During the last winter and early spring, when the peppergrass, hydrilla, and milfoil beds are thin, the spinnerbait is an exceptional lure. Additionally, the Devil’s Horse and Bang-O-Lure top-water action is astounding. The spawn’s coming is often the plastic worm, which will entice the fickle fish to strike.
Boat Ramp Access
Several boat ramps are available for access to water.
The entrance is open at 7 am for Car access to the property, which exists at Wickham Road and the western terminus. Then promptly closes at 7 pm each day.
The boat ramp is available at Lake Washington County Park and on State Road 520, U.S. 192. For driving directions and details to get from your location, see the Google Map below.
Please allow gate time to exit the gate at 7 pm.
The Decline & Change
Initially, the first 40 miles of the upper St. Johns River possibly provided the best fishing all-round the World. In recent years, however, the drainage basin comprising and marsh have been severely degraded by rapid silting of the deeper areas. Consistent with Florida water management problems, an explosion of vegetation that’s choking the life out of the lakes.
For years, they have blamed the causes on the livestock and agriculture industry. Many of the problems started when the state dug canals to drain and claim valuable lands and prevented the natural flow of rain and seepage water through the flats, and marshes would have allowed a silt settling. However, the canals rapidly ejected both directly into the three natural drainage depressions at the true river headwaters. Through all parties’ cooperation, including the farming interests, the Government, and interested sportsman-groups, the upper St Johns River basin shows signs of life.
One problem typically always breeds others, and in this case, it was the decline that increased angling further down-river. The population of local anglers and the lack of quality fishing opportunities in Lake Washington areas found all the anglers in a few locations.
This area provides habitat for fish and wildlife species, should as Bald Eagels, Wood storks, River otters, and Florida sandhill cranes. The diversity for a vital recreational resource for anglers, hunters, boaters, and bird-watchers. Visitors may also encounter cattle on the property.
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