Orlando Fab Five Lakes
Orlando Fab Five Lakes water bodies in the greater Orlando/Winter Park area collectively fall under the Fish Orlando program. Lakes that receive the most attention are the Fab Five and Urban Ponds for less experienced anglers. Lots of other areas also offer good fishing for largemouth bass, panfish, and catfish.
Fish Orlando Lake Information
The following is a generalized quarterly fishing forecast for the Fish Orlando program called Orlando Fab Five. We suggest you call or visit a local bait-and-tackle shop or guide service for even more up-to-date information. At times we will provide information for some local contacts, which indicated they were willing to be listed herein.
Fish Orlando!’s mission is to create and promote convenient, quality fishing opportunities in the greater Orlando area. Initiated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in 1998, the program is supported by the City of Orlando, the City of Ocoee, the City of Winter Park, Orange County, BASS PRO SHOPS, and various other businesses and volunteer/civic groups.
For a complete Orlando Fab Five listing of directions to public fishing opportunities in Orange County, contact our office for a free copy of the Fish Orlando Fab Five Lakes Map (1601 Scotty’s Road, Kissimmee, Florida 34744; phone: 352-732-1225; email: fishorlando@MyFWC.com).
Orlando Urban Lakes
Similar to Starke Lake, largemouth bass will spawn in Winter and Spring. Try the deeper pads, grassy bottlenecks, and main lake points with lipless crankbaits, Carolina-rigged plastics (French Fries, Seinkos, etc.), and soft jerk baits (flukes). Also, try casting a Zara Spook or Devil’s Horse on the fish attractors (marked with a yellow FWC buoy). The topographical map of fish attractors are on the FWC website.
If water levels are up and water temperatures are still at or below 80 degrees, look for the fish to stay inside the emergent grass and be susceptible to soft jerk baits and topwater. Due to deed restrictions, there is no public boat access on Turkey Lake. But the FWC, the City of Orlando, and Bass Pro Shops have teamed together to provide a boat rental program where Bass Tracker boats are rented for only $15 a morning (7 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.; Thurs – Sun).
Call the City of Orlando’s Bill Frederick Park at 407-299-5581 to reserve a boat for Orlando Fab Five.
Bass fishing should be good this quarter. Fishing the hydrilla and peppergrass edges with a weightless Senko or Fluke should produce bass or two greater than four pounds. Topwaters that walk the dog (i.e., Zara Spook, Sammy, etc.) can be productive along these edges first thing in the morning or right before dark.
Amenities: Exit from the 408 East-West Expressway in east Orlando as the Expressway dissects Lake Underhill.
A good lake for bank fishing, places like the southern shore are a great place to start.
Locate the small park on the east end of the southern side is a Public boat ramp. Sidewalk access is all along the south side perimeter, with dog walking, jogging, and peaceful walking.
For additional information on Lake Underhill, call the City of Orlando Parks at 407-246-2283.
Try fishing for bass on the numerous drop-offs around the lake with wacky-rigged plastics or fluke juniors pegged with a small weight (1/32 or 1/64 ounce) approximately two feet above the worm. In the first part of the quarter, most of the fish should still be relatively shallow(six to eight feet) with a movement more profound (eight to 12 feet) as the weather turns warmer in May and June.
Schooling activity is also a possibility, especially around the aerator diffusers. The diffusers are easily found by the bubbles coming up from the bottom. A Rat-L-Trap fished quickly, or another shad-imitating crankbait or lure will usually catch the schoolers.
Amenities: A beautiful lake located in the heart of downtown Orlando, exit I-4 around the Ivanhoe exit, and you can’t miss it. Although local water skiers have a stronghold, they have several fishing opportunities earlier morning, late evening, and during the week. Shoreline anglers park under the shade of the I-4 overpass along Lakeview Drive. Boaters use the Gaston-Edwards Park boat ramp for access to Lake Ivanhoe.
Lake gets little pressure, and often have the lake to yourself in the morning. For additional information on Gaston-Edwards Park, call the City of Orlando Parks at 407-246-2283.
Hybrid striped bass fishing slows down this quarter, and the channel catfish action picks up. Chicken livers fished on the bottom around the numerous dredge holes will provide action for channel catfish up to 10 lbs. The dredge areas listed on a topographical map are also listed on the FWC website or by calling the Fish Orlando Fab Five Lakes office. If the dredge holes do not hold fish, try fishing the mouths of the numerous canals associated with the lake.
Boat Ramp: George Barker Park on the northeast corner of the lake has a nice two-lane boat ramp. The lake has two fishing piers, one of which has a fish feeder.
Clear Lake Park on the southeast corner of the lake has a fishing pier, located next to a popular hybrid striped bass fishing location. Two fish attractors and transplanted eelgrass and lush underwater plant life.
For additional information on George Barker and Clear Lake Parks, call the City of Orlando Parks at 407-246-2283.
A modern fishing pier (equipped with fish feeders), four marked brush fish attractors, and an enhanced western shoreline make this 225-acre Fab Five Lake worth checking out. Located in the town of Ocoee (northwest of Orlando), Starke Lake FMA has the potential to provide catches of 10-20 largemouth bass per day. Boating access is available via a ramp located adjacent to Ocoee City Hall.
Successful winter and spring patterns include shallow crankbaits and any natural shad colors. Fish them along the outside eelgrass edges, and be sure to hit the southwest corner of the lake. On warmer days, slow down and use soft plastic crayfish watermelon color cast inside the Kissimmee grass and cattails (try the cattail point a long cast away from the boat ramp).
In the summertime, largemouth bass often congregates on fish attractors and areas that drop from 12 to 20 feet of water. Carolina- and Texas-rigged plastic worms (tequila sunrise-colored) are both goods in this deep water. Contact the Orlando Fab Five Lakes office for a free topographical map of Starke Lake.
Amenities: The City of Ocoee & FWC have partnered together to provide an “angler friendly” lake in the area.
- Two-lane boat ramp with outdoor bathrooms.
- An ADA accessible fishing pier (baited every Tuesday and Thursday by the City of Ocoee).
- An enhanced shoreline aquascaped for bank fishing.
- Three fish attractors, marked with yellow FWC buoys.
- Picnic tables and a fountain.
For information on Lakeshore Park, call the City of Ocoee Parks and Recreation at 407-905-3180.
(Barnett Park Frog Pond, Bear Creek, Lake Island Park, and Santiago): Because the URBAN PONDS are put-and-take channel catfish fisheries and channel catfish are a warm water species, this quarter is usually outstanding. Try fishing chicken liver rigged on a #6 or #8 hook around the “Baited Fishing Area” signs. Nightcrawlers and wigglers are excellent second choices for bait.
However, increases in the last decade of cormorant (fish-eating bird) activity have required our project to try various stocking techniques to overcome this challenge. Barnett Park will be stocked with 4,500 channel catfish from our Richloam fish hatchery by the first week in April. These should be approximately half a pound each and large enough to avoid the cormorants.
The City of Winter Park purchased 2,750 large channel catfish (one pound each) from Georgia Select Hatchery that Pawere stocked in Lake Island Park in September 2010, and these also should result in good catfishing. Because it is difficult and expensive to stock the larger channel catfish, stocking smaller catfish at very high rates in Bear Creek and Santiago works to overwhelm the bird predation.
By the end of April, the migration of the majority of cormorants migrated north should happen. It will remain a test of how successful Bear Creek’s and Santiago’s channel catfish stocking program can be. However, channel catfish are the management focus of these small ponds. Decent largemouth bass fishing spots near me can be successful on Bear Creek using wacky-rigged finesse plastics, and topwater plugs are used first in the morning.
Because of their abundant small bream, the URBAN PONDS are also an excellent place to take a kid to catch their first fish. A little piece of worm or biscuit dough fished under a small float is usually all that’s needed. Once again, focus your efforts on the “Baited Fishing Area” signs. Also notable, places like Leesburg are all within a short drive of any of these fisheries!
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