Lake County Florida contains 167 square miles of water surface
area with hundreds of fishable lakes. Some are now
closed to the general public but all the larger lakes have
public boat ramps grandfathered in from the days when the
county was less much populated. It would be impossible
to list them all, so I have listed some of the most
accessible. Lake Yale is technically part of the Harris
Chain, but because it is landlocked and must be accessed by
it's own separate ramp I included it in this section.
Yale contains 4,042 acres of water. This lake was very
clear until the mid nineties when chemical weed spraying and
the over stocking of grass carp removed most of the cover.
The introduction of grass carp has been the most troublesome.
Game officials have attempted to physically remove the excess
carp and even had to fence off and replant wide sections
of the shoreline grass. This man-made disaster turned
the once pristine Lake Yale water to a murky algae-bloom
droughts occasionally reduced lake levels to a point where the
lake was not accessible to most anglers for a period of well
over a year. The excellent water quality this lake was
once known for has yet to return and it stands as a stark
testament to another attempt by water managers to fix a
complex problem with quick solutions.
This lake has
always been a favorite of mine and contains a good population
of bass. They seem to run smaller than main Harris Chain
bass but make up for it in numbers. All the Harris Chain
tactics outlined in this website work well. The
lake is deeper than most and has a hard sand bottom, making it
ideal for a Carolina rig. The large pad fields in the
cove nearest to the Marsh Park boat ramp and in the area
behind Rabbit Island hold bass year round. The entire
southern shoreline borders a deep offshore ditch that runs
down the lake creating a great drop off for Carolina rigging.
Crankbaits take the larger bass in this lake. The lake
can be accessed from a nice ramp in Marsh Memorial Park.
The park is located a few miles north of Eustis off State Road
Click here to download a
printable map of the Clermont Chain
Clermont Chain was once a peaceful pristine chain of lakes
near the little City of Clermont, Florida. Tremendous
over development in South Lake County has had a serious
negative effect on this chain. A dispute over the head
waters in the Green Swamp caused water levels to plummet
putting most residential boat docks far above the water.
The dispute was finally resolved but low water levels remain
problematic. Incredibly, amidst all of these water supply
problems the Water Management Authority approved a new water
bottling plant in Clermont doubling down on the problem.
The once clear
waters of Lake Minneola are now stained but the bass are still
there in good numbers. The canals connecting the lakes
are especially good if you can find water in them. These
lakes are best fished on the weekdays as jet-skiers and
cruisers are a distraction on weekends.
John's Lake boat ramp is about 6 miles east of Clermont on
Highway 50. Even with the development of most of the shoreline
and it's close proximity to Orlando, this lake produces
excellent bass fishing. Everything about
this lake is right for bass. The water color is good
with a slight stain, there are many rocky bottom structures
and reefs throughout the lake and there is adequate cover
despite the building of huge homes around the shoreline.
During droughts this lake also suffers from severe water level
problems. Extreme care should be taken when using at the
Highway 50 boat ramp in low water. In the Spring of
2003, the State of Florida restocked the lake with 500,000
bass fingerlings and the lake has regaining it's reputation as
a great bass fishery.
Lake Dorr and the
Lake Dorr is in my opinion the most beautiful bass lake in
Florida. Nestled in the Ocala National forest off
highway 19, this lake looks like it came out of a picture
postcard. Surrounded by pine forest covered hills,
the black tannic colored water reflects a scene out of a
Canadian nature documentary.
Bass fishing in
this lake is a bonus. Top water action can be good early
in the morning with Carolina rigged worms working later in the
day. The bottom is very hard and deep and the bass are
beautiful and full of fight. The lake has a nice ramp in Lake
Dorr Park off highway 19 just north of the City of Umatilla.
Ocala National Forest there are many other small forest lakes.
Most of the bass caught in these lakes run about 1 to 3
pounds, but a few can be very large. The National Park
prints a brochure that can be obtained at the park information
centers detailing all the lakes and providing access
information. Fly fisherman love these lakes as they are
a treat to fish with light tackle.
In case you're
wondering about Rodman Reservoir, Lake Toho or the St. Johns
River, they are not in Lake County. Rodman is about 45
minutes north of my home in Eustis. Lake Toho is about
an hour south and some of the best fishing on the St. John's
River is only about 1/2 hour from my home.
If you have any
questions or comments about Lake County Florida lakes, please