Okeechobee Bass Fishing Getting Hot!
Capt. Michael Shellen
November 15, 2010
Lake Okeechobee - Freshwater Fishing Report
Lake Okeechobee has experienced a rebirth of sorts, the extreme drought of several years ago served to dry out the marsh areas of the lake. The South Florida Water Management District then performed scraping projects, removing thousands of truck loads of muck and sediment that had built up over the years. The following spring and summer when the water again reached normal levels native vegetation started growing in all of the scraped areas. The areas of native vegetation, plus hydrilla have served as hiding places for young fry to grow and proliferate, leading to a boom in the numbers of fish in the lake.
This past summer was incredible, anglers with varying levels of bass fishing experience were able to catch bass and a lot of them. We did not have to take shiners in order for our customers to catch bass, opting instead to use soft plastics to catch large numbers of bass. As the summer progressed the fishing outlook got better and better with 50 to 80 bass days being normal.
With the arrival of fall we were excited with the anticipation of the first waves of large female pre-spawn bass moving toward the shallow grass lines. The big females showed up early. Normally the full moon in November is when we will experience an influx of big fish. This year however, around the full moon in October we started catching big bass like crazy, with 6 to 8 pound bass being an almost every day occurrence, the largest bass our clients caught was a 9 1/2 pound, 26 1/2 inch long female that ate the largest shiner in our bait well.
There is great anticipation surrounding the upcoming winter season. The water level is around 13 1/2 feet, moving the bass toward the outside edges of available cover, where the odds of them being caught increase greatly.
Around the North end of the lake an angler can start fishing and catching bass at Lock 7, located right in the town of Okeechobee. If you work your way West all the way to Sportsmen's Canal you will experience great fishing. Launch your boat, put the trolling motor down and go fishing. It is a great time on lake Okeechobee.
For many years I have been a proponent of sizing up the relative health of a fishery by the state of its bird/wildlife. There are more birds on the lake than in many years. Eagle, Osprey, Roseate Spoonbill, Herons, Marsh hens, Coots, King Fisher, and too many others to mention them all. We have been watching Manatee, Alligators, Otters and Snakes as well as seeing Deer and wild Hogs feeding along the dike or canal banks. The lake is a thing of great beauty, beautiful sunrises and sunsets as well as breath taking views are an everyday occurrence. The town of Okeechobee is situated on the Northern edge of the Lake and has long been known as a wonderful place to visit and catch fish. However Okeechobee has grown into a destination for travelers from all over the world, come visit us and see what your missing!
Cpt Mike Shellen
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