Top 10 Bass Fishing Lakes In Florida - World Fishing Network

Top 10 Bass Fishing Lakes In Florida

Posted by on Jan 25, 2012   12:00 AM  | Fishing Tips & TechniquesFishing Travel Directory
A view of the south end of Lake George when entering from St. Johns River. A view of the south end of Lake George when entering from St. Johns River. TampAGS/Wikipedia Commons

Florida’s not just known as the “Fishing Capital of the World” for its saltwater fishing. For freshwater enthusiasts, there are few better regions in North America to fish for bass than Florida. Especially the central part of the state, which contains dozens of some of the best bass fishing listed around.

While there are many great lakes in Florida, they don’t get any better for bass fishing than the 10 lakes below.

Be sure to check out WFN’s Florida Fishing section for more info on fishing in this great state.

Lake George

At 46,000 acres, Lake George is the second largest lake in Florida, and an absolute premier spot for largemouth bass. Located in central Florida about 29 miles east of Ocala, Lake George has an average depth of ten feet and contains excessive vegetation, making top water and near surface lures a dynamite technique. Drayton Island on the north end is a popular spot for anglers to fish around. There is only one public boat ramp on the lake, located on the south end. There’’s a fishing pier on the east end off of Nine Mile Point Road.

Winning Techniques: Topwater lures, plastic worms, live shiners for trophy-sized bass in the spring on episode 3 of Lindner Angling Edge here!

Crescent Lake

Crescent Lake
Crescent Lake
FloNight (Sydney Poore) and Russell Poore/Wikipedia Commons

Crescent Lake is as good as any when it comes to fishing for bass in the 8-pound range. Located just northeast of Lake George, Crescent Lake is a picturesque lake with lots of vegetation and rather clean water. But, what makes this lake so unique is its variety of bass fishing cover. Like to fish in the grass? Crescent’’s got plenty of that. Prefer submerged logs and hard structure? Yep, Crescent’’s got that too. Shallow water, deep ledges, lily pads and docks. Crescent Lake is the kind of place you can go to and trust that if you can’’t catch bass one way, you likely can another way, no matter your specialties. Which should come as no surprise – Crescent City, located on the shores of this lake, is nicknamed “The Bass Capital of the world” after all.

Winning Technique: Fish open water and near docks with crankbaits outside of the spawn; Fish weedless and topwater around the lilypads during the spawn. Learn the very best bass fishing techniques here.

Lake Tarpon


Don’t let the name fool you, this lake is all about the bass fishing. Only 2,500 acres, Lake Tarpon may not look like much, but anglers can frequently catch one or two dozen fish in one trip, with some approaching the 10-pound mark. Situated near Tarpon Springs just north of St. Petersburg, Lake Tarpon is a great urban area lake for anyone looking to get in some fishing amidst the hustle and bustle of city living. The best fishing i’s on the north end of the lake in the spring and summer. Fish tend to move south as the months get colder. The lake contains two boat ramps, both in county parks, and there are also boardwalks and piers for anglers who would rather avoid the hassle of taking out a boat.

Winning Techniques: Flipping and pitching plastic worms near canals, shad-imitating jigs and crankbaits work well offshore. How to choose appropriate tackle for all conditions?

Lake Tohopekaliga

Lake Tohopekaliga
Luke Clausen fishes Lake Toho at the 2006 Bassmaster Classic – which he ended up winning.

Located just south of the city of Kissimmee in central Florida, Lake Toho is a trophy largemouth bass paradise. It’’s famed for having plenty of monster fish, some even exceeding 16 pounds. Many big-time tournaments have been held here, including most famously the 2006 Bassmaster Classic. The lake is ideal for visiting anglers as it contains five boat ramps, two fishing piers, and many public access points for those who prefer to fish from shore. The fishing is good all year-round. There are eight man-made fish attractors in the lake that bring in heavier concentrations in deeper parts of the lake.

Winning Techniques: Both Texas- and Carolina-rigged plastic worms produce bass in warmer weather; like every lake in Florida, live golden shiners are the go-to choice for anglers who prefer to use live bait. Check out the World Fishing Network guide to learn more about Lake Tohopekaliga.

Lake Okeechobee

Lake Okeechobee
FLW Tour pro Randall Tharp holds up a bass he caught in the reeds at a tournament on Lake Okeechobee.
Rob Newell/FLW

Florida’s largest lake and the second largest lake in contiguous U.S. is Lake Okeechobee, one of the best bass fishing spots in the whole world. Home to some of the world’s biggest tournaments (Bassmaster Elite Series, FLW Tour), Okeechobee is nearly 450,000 acres (730 square miles) of bass fishing heaven. Located in southern Florida, Okeechobee receives a lot of fishing pressure, but restorative measures have helped fish populations thrive in recent years. The lake averages around 9 feet in depth and contains a lot of vegetation, something rather unique for bodies of water its size. Okeechobee is primarily a catch-and-release fishery as only one bass over 22 inches may be kept. The north end of the lake and Moonshine Bay on the west side are the biggest producers of bass, but success can be found anywhere along the coastline.

Winning Techniques: Flipping and pitching in cover with a plastic warm; rattling crankbaits in more open water.

Lake Kissimmee

Lake Kissimmee
Even on a lake as busy as Lake Kissimmee you can find some privacy to fish.
Photo used under Creative Commons from Kissimmee – The Heart of Florida

Lake Kissimmee is a favorite destination for visiting anglers – and fishing families – due to its consistent bass production and double the average catch rate for the state. To make things better, it’s renowned for producing big-time bass as well. The largest water body on the Kissimmee River in central Florida, Lake Kissimmee has plenty of cover, perfect for anglers who like to flip and pitch. Thanks to Kissimmee’s popularity, there are several public boat ramps sprinkled around the lake. Fly Fishing enthusiasts take heart – there are plenty of great wading spots for bass, too. Popping bugs in spring and summer always seem to produce.

Check out the American Bass Anglers Touranment to see how plentiful Lake Kissimmee is.

Winning Techniques: Check out Bob Izumi pitching and flipping into cover; for summer and fall, plastic frogs and worms, soft jerkbaits, and loud crankbaits in open water here!

Lake Monroe

Lake Monroe
A view of Gemini Springs, which flows into Lake Monroe on the northwest side.
U.S. Geological Survey

Lake Monroe sits on the north side of Sanford, near Orlando. This 9,400-acre lake is perhaps the top producing body of water connected to the St. John’s River, with bass over eight pounds a common catch. Monroe is an ideal lake for boaters, not only because it has two public ramps, but also because shore fishing can be difficult with its variable water depth and habitat. There was a time when this lake would not have made it on any list, but concerted efforts by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission to restore the wetland habitat have made it a prime destination for spring time bassin’.

Winning Techniques: Near the spawn, use top-water lures and and plastic worms and crayfish, preferably red, black, or blue; after the spawn, shad-like crankbaits and spinnerbaits are your best bet.

Learn how to catch your own world record fish here.

Lake Istokpoga

For anglers who prefer a little more privacy when they fish, Lake Istokpoga doesn’t get anywhere near the exposure of Okeechobee or Kissimmee, but its bass fishery is just as good as any lake in the state. Over 27,000 acres in size, Istokpoga is rather shallow, little more than 6 feet in spots, and contains a variety of different cover (lots of bulrush and cattails). This south central lake hits its peak for bass fishing in cooler months, especially in April and October. For spring and summer, stick to the southern part of the lake for best results, as it grows the most vegetation that bass love to take cover in. Arbuckle Creek enters into the northwest corner of the lake, a hotspot for bass in prespawn and spawning stages.

Winning Techniques: Top-water lures, jerkbaits, and spinnerbaits work well in the warmer months; in open water, use rattling crankbaits. Learn more about the top freshwater fishing spots in Florida here.

Lake Harris

Lake Harris
A view of Lake Harris.
Ebyabe/Wikipedia Commons

There are many bodies of water along the Harris Chain of Lakes, but Lake Harris itself –is the largest of the bunch and – takes the cake for bass fishing. A popular lake for bass tournaments, Harris is filled with vegetation like lily pads and grass, a haven for anglers who like to punch through or glide over the green stuff to catch their bass. The lake’s located near Tavares, west of Orlando. It’’s a much deeper lake on average than most in Florida, especially on the south side where there’’s a ridge dropping as low as 20 feet. If you’’re looking for something a little smaller than 14,000 acres, Little Lake Harris connects at the southeast end of the bigger lake. Great bass fishing here as well, with less boats on the water than its big brother (though boat traffic pales anyway in comparison to Okeechobee and Kissimmee).

Winning Techniques: Topwater and weedless baits are key. Spring and fall are the best seasons. To catch a big fish you better have the best lure possible. Check out World Fishing Networks list of the top lures.

Lake Talquin

Lake Talquin
Lake Talquin has a lot of submerged stumps and plenty of great shoreline cover for bass.
Tim Ross/Wikipedia Commons

If you want to fish for bass outside of central Florida, then Lake Talquin is your best bet. This 8,800-acre reservoir sits just outside of Tallahassee, and unlike most bass lakes south of it, Talquin contains a lot of stumps and other submerged snags. Because there’’s an 18-inch minimum size limit rule imposed on Talquin, there’’s a lot of quality bass available for anglers. The upper end of the lake is your best bet, not only for the increased cover, but also for all the different creeks that flow into it, which bass love. There are both boat ramps and fishing piers off of highway 20 and 267.

Here are the results from the AFT even held on Lake Talquin.

Tune In: Check out Hookin’ Up with Nick and Mariko, a World Fishing Network original, and their trip to Florida here.