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Fishing in Florida: Top Spots for Freshwater Angling in the Sunshine State

By    |   Wednesday, 10 February 2016 10:08 PM

While the popular image of Florida is a land of beaches and people frolicking in the ocean, it is also a terrific place for an inland activity: freshwater fishing. Annually, 1.4 million people get fishing licenses in the Sunshine State and enjoy the fact that freshwater fishing in Florida has no closed season, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The state has 3 million acres of lakes, ponds, and reservoirs as well as roughly 12,000 miles of river, streams, and canals.

The FWC website offers a wealth of information helpful in finding the right place to land a largemouth bass, catfish, or other freshwater fish.

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1. Top Spots for Black Bass (Including Largemouth Bass)
One of the top spots is Lake George near Deland and Ocala in northeast Florida. It is the second largest lake in the state with 46,000 acres. Another good place for bass fishing is Lake Kissimmee in central Florida, which is more than 34,970 acres. At Lake Kissimmee, anglers catch 0.61 bass per hour – double the state average. Lake Okeechobee in South Florida is a total of 730 square miles, making it the second largest freshwater body in the contiguous United States. It is considered by many anglers to be the black bass capital of the world, sporting millions of largemouth bass, year-round fishing, many boat ramps, and 100 miles of lakeside access.

2. Top Spots for Catfish
The Yellow River in northwest Florida is home to record-breaking flathead catfish. The state record flathead was caught here in 2011, weighing in at 55.05 pounds. The area from the Alabama line to the Interstate 10 bridge is recommended. The Choctawhatchee River in northwest Florida boasts plentiful channel, flathead, and blue catfish. Smaller ones can be caught year-round. Larger catfish are found in the northern reaches, near the Alabama line, and in river bends and holes with woody debris. The Medard Reservoir in southwest Florida was stocked with channel catfish in 2011, and they are mature enough now for trophy fishing.

3. Top Spots for Striped Bass
The Lake Seminole and nearby Apalachicola River from the Florida/Georgia line at the Chatahoochee River flowing south to the town of Apalachicola is a prized area for fishing striped bass, sunshine bass, and white bass. Record catches have been made here. Meanwhile, the St. John's River from Deland flowing northward to Jacksonville is plentiful with striped bass and sunshine bass in the fall and winter. Jetties and bridges, such as those in Green Cove Springs and Jacksonville, are especially good areas to fish. Finally, Lake Apopka, a 30,600-acre lake west of Orlando, is stocked with sunshine bass. The best fishing area is Gourd Neck Springs.

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While the popular image of Florida is a land of beaches and people frolicking in the ocean, it is also a terrific place for an inland activity: freshwater fishing.
fishing, Florida, top spots
Wednesday, 10 February 2016 10:08 PM
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