September 18, 2020
There are thousands of freshwater fishing spots throughout the Sunshine State. And most are filled with largemouth bass hiding among the grass beds. We’ve already listed our favorite water systems of the state; today we’ll focus on North Florida.
From the Panhandle to Jacksonville and to parts of the North Central Florida area, such as Gainesville and Ocala, there are plenty of water systems calling you to come fish. In no particular order, here are some of the best bass fishing spots of North Florida:
Lake Seminole is such a great fishing spot that it stretches across two states. Florida anglers share this 37,500-acre lake with the state of Georgia (about 80% of the lake is in Georgia), also known as Jim Woodruff Reservoir. It’s a location known for boating and fishing and you’ll find lots of activity on the lake throughout the year. Florida anglers can start their trip from Chattahoochee, FL and either fish from a boat or from the banks. Along with largemouth bass, anglers can catch striped bass, white bass, and crappie among the plush vegetation of Lake Seminole.
Coming right off Lake Seminole is the beginning of the Apalachicola River that runs 112 miles to the Apalachicola Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Locals of the area know that the undeveloped parts of Florida have some of the best fishing in the world. Here anglers will find largemouth bass in good numbers and good sizes. Fish with live shad and you could reel in eight-pound lunkers consistently. This area is also one of our favorites because it seems to go unnoticed by other anglers. Whether you fish up river near the dam or down river near the bay, watch the current breaks for best fishing spots.
Located to the west of Florida’s state capital Tallahassee is Lake Talquin, an 8,800-acre reservoir. It’s one of our favorite bass fisheries because of the constant action each time we fish this lake. During the spring spawn season largemouth bass are found near the grass flats in waters 4 to 7 feet deep. As the temperatures warm up they’ll move to the deeper channels and drop-offs of the lake. Along with largemouth bass, anglers will find striped bass (stocked each year), bluegill, and crappie. The quality crappie fishery of Lake Talquin also brings anglers to this top-rated system.
Located 20 miles southeast of Gainesville is this 12,550 acre lake that bass fishermen and women visit often. Head to the east side of Orange Lake where lily pads and vegetation create a habitat that largemouth bass love to eat and spawn. Cane Hammock is another part of the lake on the eastern shoreline that anglers love to visit. When the water levels are high enough, anglers can pass through a small canal to Lochloosa Lake, another fantastic fishing spot for largemouth bass.
Yes, it’s technically a river, but the St. John’s is also a major Florida water system. The system runs near the east coast of Florida, from Vero Beach to Jacksonville. The river section between Lake George and Jacksonville has some of the best fishing spots in the state. As you get closer to the coast the salinity levels are higher and you’ll start to see saltwater species such as redfish, trout, and snook. Depending on which part of the St. John’s you fish, you could end up with a very mixed bag of both freshwater and saltwater species.
Lake George is technically a part of the St. John system, but it’s certainly a lake that can hold its own when it comes to largemouth bass fishing. The vegetation throughout the 46,000 acres creates a premiere habitat for the lunkers living here. It’s located on the east side of the Ocala National Forest and can be accessed by the public off Highway 40. It’s the second largest lake in the state (just behind Lake Okeechobee in South Florida) and measures 11 miles long and 6 miles wide. Largemouth bass may draw the anglers to this large North Florida lake, but you’ll also find bluegill and crappie available for the taking.
Located to the north of the Ocala National Forest, somewhat between Lake George and Orange Lake, the Rodman Reservoir is a 9,500-acre reservoir built in 1968. The submerged structures of timber and grass beds create healthy habitats for the local fish species. Largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, and sunfish are found in good numbers throughout the reservoir. Anglers will either have a great day fishing for lunkers, or get completely skunked. But the size of the largemouth bass that are caught keep bringing anglers back for more. Fish with a local guide to help improve your success rate.
No matter what lake you decide to fish, either one listed above or your own favorite, it’s a great day to be on the water. Fish with live shad, or give yourself a challenge and use artificials. If you don’t have a fishing boat you can either fish from the banks (as long as you’re on public land) or hire a local guide to take you to where the fish are. Fishing for bass can happen any time of the year, with peak season happening during spring when the bass are spawning. Get your favorite fishing buddy and hit the North Florida lakes for some fantastic fishing!
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