There’s no better place to bass fish than the “bass fishing capital of the world,” also known as the state of Florida. There are endless Central Florida lakes for anglers to catch largemouth bass and have a great time. However, for those looking to increase their chances of landing that dream trophy bass, there are certainly some lakes with characteristics that help those big bass thrive, landing them a spot on Central Florida’s top big bass lakes. Only a small percentage of largemouths live long enough to attain that trophy size, which requires them to live at least ten years. Unfortunately, the average lifespan of bass is only 5 to 6 years. Fortunately, Florida bass grow faster and larger than anywhere else, especially in Central Florida. Many Central Florida lakes have incredibly healthy vegetation and water quality, creating an excellent habitat for the bass to live longer and grow large.
Central Florida has numerous options when it comes to excellent bass fishing. This list will start with the top lakes offering the best chances at a double-digit bass, along with tips from our local experts to achieve success. The article will end with the honorable mentions that consistently offer incredible fishing with good numbers and decent quality throughout the year near the Central Florida area.
Top Central Florida Lakes To Catch Big Trophy Bass
4. Lake Istokpoga
Lake Istokpoga is a natural lake located northwest of Lake Okeechobee, near Lake Placid. It is the fifth-largest lake in the sunshine state, covering 27,692 acres. Lake Istokpoga averages 6 feet in depth and offers an array of shallow vegetation that big bass love, such as spatterdock, cattails, bulrush, eelgrass, peppergrass, and Kissimmee grass. Since its significant restoration effect in the early 2000s, Istokpoga has consistently produced quality size Florida bass. The Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission and its environmental partners drew the lake’s water levels down and removed over 1,300 acres of muck, allowing its native vegetation to flourish. Istokpoga is a top option for those looking to experience Florida bass fishing any time of the year. It has a strong reputation for having quality big bass throughout the year, not only during the spawning season.
Tips From The Local Experts
Live wild shiners are equally effective as artificial lures on this body of water, so if you like artificial fishing, this may be the Florida lake for you to experience. By the end of April, the big bass tend to finish spawning and then move on to schooling fish. Largemouths will begin schooling chasing threadfin and gizzard shad along peppergrass in the open water.
3. Harris Chain of Lakes
The Harris Chain consists of nine major water bodies totaling about 76,000 acres in Central Florida. The Harris Chain of Lakes has hosted numerous national bass tournaments, including the B.A.S.S. Megabucks decades ago. In the recent decades, Harris went through a low period but was since brought back to life. After going through a significant restoration and restocking project, the Chain has since been thriving and is now full of trophy fish. The Chain consistently produces excellent catches now and is one of the top recommended lakes for anglers looking to get their personal best largemouth bass. Since coming back strong, there are several bass tournaments on the Harris Chain of Lakes every year again. Harris is now incredibly fertile with a mostly green-stained water color. The primary aquatic cover is Kissimmee grass, lily pads, eelgrass, and bulrushes.
Tips From The Local Experts
These healthy big bass require power techniques and stout tackle. Because of the strength of these big fish, anglers are risking breaking off an excellent catch when using light tackle on Harris. Sight fishing and casting in deep pockets are two different and popular methods to try here. Lake Eustis is one of the more popular lakes on the Chain, and its residential canals can be very productive at specific times of the year. It also has a famous spot called “Gator Hole,” a deep sinkhole leading off the main lake and produces large numbers of big bass.
2. Lake Kissimmee
Lake Kissimmee covers 34,948 acres and is the southernmost link of the Kissimmee Chain, located east of Lake Wales and 40 miles south of Orlando. Lake Kissimmee has earned its spot on the big bass list because of its perfectly fertile environment that allows the bass to grow large in good numbers. The Kissimmee Chain lake has an extremely bass-friendly habitat consisting of expansive native grass, lily pads, cattail, bulrush, and hydrilla beds. The bass fishing pressure is relatively light on Lake Kissimmee due to its vegetation’s expanse and the endless places for big bass to hide out and ambush baitfish. The local bass can live to a ripe old age without as many angler encounters since there are impossible places to reach with any conventional boat.
Tips From The Local Experts
Soft jerk baits, rattling crankbaits, and Carolina or Texas-rigged plastic worms casted in the open water or along the vegetation edges are effective during the summer and fall. Fishing a smaller shiner, such as a hatchery shiner, is a good option during the year’s warmer times. Our local fishing guides go to great lengths to ensure the proper size shiner when fishing Lake Kissimmee during any time of the year. Fishing with Live Bait in the heavy cover is always a great option and will often bring feeding big bass to the attack. During certain times of the year, fishing with wild shiners is preferred since they are hardy and more active than a hatchery-raised shiner. Largemouth bass will go for shiners in all sizes, but the giant trophy bass will likely go for a shiner in the 4 to 6-inch long range. Our Central Florida guides suggest choosing your artificial lures based on the watercolor, wind, temperature, cover, and time of year. Plastic worms are always a good bet, as are rattle traps, buzz baits, weedless spoons, spinnerbaits, and frog baits. Numerous big bass are taken regularly on top waters and shallow crankbaits. Flipping and pitching the weed lines can land you a trophycatch in the heat of the day.
1. Lake Tohopekaliga (Lake Toho)
West Lake Tohopekaliga, Lake Toho for short, is an 18,810-acre fishery located southeast of Kissimmee and is the uppermost part of the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes. Lake Toho is one of the best bass fishing lakes in Florida, earning the number one spot on our list because of its consistency. It’s an excellent fishery any day of the year and the most recommended by our team; however, Lake Toho has been on another level during the spawning season. Almost every fishing trip on Lake Toho during the peak season lands one big bass over 8 pounds, many reaching the ten-pound mark, and numerous bass over 6 pounds. Like most Central Florida bass lakes, Lake Toho is abundant in aquatic vegetation to support its healthy big bass population, including shallow grass flats, maidencane, natural bullrush, and hydrilla. Lake Toho hosts numerous well-known bass fishing tournaments every year. According to Bassmaster magazine, Lake Toho is considered the most consistent bass lake in the country for producing both numbers and trophy bass.
Tips From The Local Experts
The mouth of Shingle Creek, the shorelines east and west South Port Park, Goblets Cove, and Lanier Point are all top spots in Lake Toho holding trophy largemouth bass. The offshore hydrilla patches near channel marker 24 and Little Grassy Island also are good spots to check. Live shiners are the most effective, but artificial lures also produce in these spots. When exploring Lake Toho, look for some healthy vegetation in the water that could serve as a suitable habitat for big bass, include its bulrush, lily pads, weed mats, Kissimmee grass, and fish attractors put in by The Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission. Fishing in the canals and tributaries after heavy rains is a good idea because the runoff sends a good flow throughout the lake, creating a hot bite in these connected areas. Some of the top techniques and lures used on Lake Toho to catch big bass include pitching craws and beavers or flipping Texas-rigged worms. Frogs, swim jigs, and spinnerbaits are also productive.
There are several excellent bass fishing locations in Central Florida, and conditions are constantly changing, making certain ones better at specific times year after year.
Butler Chain of Lakes
The Butler Chain of Lakes, located less than 30 minutes from Orlando, covers 5,000 acres consisting of 11 small interconnected lakes that are extremely deep, averaging 20 to 40 feet. The Butler Chain of lakes near Orlando is one of the best bass fishing spots for numbers. An angler visiting Orlando looking for non-stop action should experience this Florida lake. The Butler Chain of Lakes certainly has its fair share of big bass, but it doesn’t provide as high of a likelihood of landing a trophy as the other Central Florida lakes. The Butler Chain of lakes has a high abundance of submerged vegetation, making it a top-notch spot for large numbers of small to medium-sized fish.
Johns Lake in North Park, located northwest of Orlando, Florida, used to be well-known for producing largemouths over ten points and was rated in the top 10 lakes in Florida. Recently, Johns lake has gone through some low water conditions, but it remains producing consistently well.
Clermont Chain of Lakes
The Clermont Chain of lakes located in Lake County, in Clermont Florida consists of 11 connected lakes and has over 167 square miles of fishable waters. It’s home to various fish species including a healthy largemouth population.
North Central Fl
No big bass list would be complete without mentioning Rodman. The 9,500-acre reservoir is located in Northern Central Florida but is trophy largemouth bass central. This fishery is best known for offering quality over quantity. Its flooded timber and healthy vegetation make for excellent fishing for good size fish.
South Central Fl
Lake Okeechobee is located on the southern end of Central Florida but is the largest fresh body of water in the state and the most famous bass fishing destination in the country. Its full of productive vegetation allowing for consistent numbers and many good size fish to be caught on almost every trip.
March Okeechobee Fishing Trip
Lake Okeechobee is one of the most world-renowned fishing destinations in the world. Every year anglers come to Lake Okeechobee to explore and get the chance to catch the biggest bass of their life. You never know what is going to be on the other end of your line and this fishery is the perfect place to get addicted to the outdoors. Enjoy a March Okeechobee Fishing Trip for Florida largemouth bass.
Lake Okeechobee is alive and well. During these winter months of the year for the United States, cold fronts do move through the state of Florida. When this happens, your early morning temperatures tend to drop. During the day, the weather is absolutely beautiful once the sun comes out. The early morning bite is the best during this time and almost all year round.
Our local experts have years of experience to help you have the best possible fishing trip. They also can help you develop and cultivate your skill level. Whether you want to learn more about live bait fishing or how to target bass with artificial lures, they have you covered. We hope to get the chance to show you around why we love Lake Okeechobee on your next visit to Florida!
Check out this Lake Okeechobee Bass Fishing Update:
Fishing with Captain Mark Shepard
“Some of my favorite fishing trips are the ones with young anglers looking to learn more about bass fishing. My years of experience and becoming a guide has made me love sharing along with my passions with anglers.
I had the opportunity to fish with Brian. He was traveling from Canada looking to explore what Lake Okeechobee had to offer. We fished out of Clewiston, Florida, a hot spot for Okeechobee bass fishing. This young man was an exceptional fisherman and battled some tough conditions.
Brian came out fishing on the backside of a cold front. Right off the bat, he caught several nice fish. This was a full day of fishing with only artificial baits. We were in store for a grind with a ton of great learning lessons in the mix.
As the day progressed, we caught numbers of more largemouth bass. You can tell the fishing is starting to get really good here on Lake Okeechobee!
Brian had a great time fishing with artificial baits. The most productive lures on this trip were the Wow Factor Fishing crankbait, soft plastic worms, and flukes. Slow-moving presentations when the bite slows down is key when looking to cash in on a quality bite.
Looking forward to next time!” – Captain Mark Shepard
Fishing with Captain Mark Rogers out of Okeechobee City, FL
“I had the pleasure of fishing with Pete, who was traveling from Wisconsin to catch some Okeechobee bass. Lake Okeechobee bass fishing was always something that he wanted to do and he loved every moment of fishing on the lake.
It was a beautiful day on the water with perfect conditions. Water temperatures are on the rise which helps the bite after having some cooler weather. The warm sun was an added bonus for Pete who enjoyed the wonderful Florida weather on this trip.
The artificial bite was productive in the early morning and then slowed down as the day went on. Pete was catching male bass with senkos and swimbaits. You could tell that some bigger females were on the way with how these males were acting.
During the early afternoon hours, we switched over to wild-caught live shiners. Pete caught a total of 15 largemouth bass on this fishing trip. Most of the fish were in the 2-4 pound range. Unfortunately, a giant bass got away but that is why they call it fishing.
I am looking forward to having another great day on the water with Pete again in the near future!” – Captain Mark Rogers
Fishing with Captain Mark Rose out of Belle Glade, Florida
“Lake Okeechobee fishing has been amazing this month and is only getting better. It was a great pleasure to fish with Ken and his wife, who was traveling from Pittsburgh, PA looking to enjoy some Florida sunshine. While doing so, getting out on Lake Okeechobee is always a great experience.
One of the main goals on this fishing trip was to catch their very first largemouth bass. They spent two days out on the water and had a blast every minute. Slim’s Fish Camp out of Belle Glade, Florida is a great place to be introduced to the amazing fishing here in South Florida.
Ken landed the biggest bass of the trip with a new personal best weighing in at 5.50 pounds. Most of the bass were caught on flukes and senkos. Soft plastics are a great way to get addicted to catching bass here in Florida. The key to landing fish is finding clean water. Once you do, then throw out a watermelon red fluke Senko near the grass structure and hold on.
Ken and his wife enjoyed the beautiful sunny days in the outdoors landing over 15 bass on each trip. I am looking forward to getting them back out on the water in the near future!” – Captain Mark Rose
Come Visit Florida and Catch Yours Today.
The bass fishing here on Lake Okeechobee is getting better and better. Stay tuned for more great action with our local experts. You never know where your next fishing adventure will take you. We hope we get the chance to show you around, get you out on the water, and help you catch that fish of a lifetime. Bring your whole family along for an adventure you will never forget!
See you on the water next time!
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