imageFishing Haines Creek and the Dead River


Where to Fish in Haines Creek


Haines Creek is a six mile long natural waterway connecting Lake Eustis with Lake Griffin. There is a manned lock about midway through the creek. The lock is normally operated from 7:00 AM until 7:00 PM. The lock operator takes off for lunch around noon and returns within the hour. Parts of Haines Creek on the Eustis side of the lock have been channelized, but the oxbows of the original creek remain. The main creek averages about 6-8 feet deep and contains prime bass habitat. Grass, holes, drop offs, a spillway and numerous canals offer a wide variety of bass fishing opportunities. The entire creek is a major bedding bass area in the spawning season. Major bass bedding activity starts around the first full moon in January and some years can continue well into May. Bass fishing in the Haines Creek is good year round as numerous resident fish make the creek their full time home.  There is an entrance to a flooded former vegetable farm on the Griffin side of the Haines Creek lock. In times of high water, fishing the newly created marsh can be worthwhile.



The entire length of Haines Creek holds good bass.  In wet years, the Water Authority occasionally drains water from the upper lakes by opening the spillway on Haines Creek. This creates current in the creek which makes fishing at the spillway on the Griffin side excellent. The establishment of an idle zone from the first bend on the Eustis side all the way to the lock, makes for undisturbed fishing on weekends and holidays.


Haines CreekThe water quality in Haines Creek is normally good, especially in the residential canals which can be clear. A major bedding area is located in the mobile home park of Mid Florida Lakes. The marina in this development is a large round basin with deep water and rocks along the shoreline. Many tournaments have been won in the basin sight fishing the numerous beds found along the seawall. Another small lake in the rear of the development is full of dredge holes, pads and grass.


The "S" bend on the Eustis side of Haines Creek is overgrown with bulrushes and holds quality bass year round. Large cypress trees can be found along the creek which always hold a few bass in their roots. The most productive way to locate bass in the creek is to get in close to the bank and parallel cast a Rattle Trap or Spinner bait along the sides of the creek. Occasionally, the bass can be found holding close to the bottom of the creek by fan casting a Carolina rigged worm. Never pass up a downed tree or large stump in the creek, especially in the winter months. Harris Chain bass go to wood in cold water and tend to congregate in these areas.  If the water is high, flipping the Kissimmee grass bed and tree stumps in the creek is productive.


The Harris Chain's Dead River Bass Fishing


The name "Dead River" does not have anything to do with anything being dead. A dead river is the old Florida name for a waterway connecting two large lakes, usually filled with pads and other cover. It's dead because there is no sustained current flowing through it.


Where to Fish in the Dead River


The Harris Chain's Dead River is approximately 3/4 mile long and connects Big Lake Harris and Lake Eustis. The River has two waterfront restaurants and numerous canals leading off the main waterway. A large concrete bridge carries traffic on highway 441 over the river. The River averages about 6-8 feet deep and is totally navigable for the average bass boat. The entire length of the river is an idle only no-wake zone. Where to fish in the Dead River


Harris Chain Dead RiverThe best time to fish the dead river is in the spring or in any time of high winds. High wind causes currents to form in the river which turns on the bass. The entire river holds bass and the no-wake zone makes for pleasant fishing. Shoreline cover is made up of grass, reeds, cypress trees and cat tails. Spinner baiting and rattle trapping are consistent producers. The pilings under the 441 bridge can be excellent fishing. The area under the bridge is littered with rocks and debris left over from the bridge construction.


The pads in the center of the dead river hold large bass in the spawning season. Many a tournament has been won by flipping these pads. This is slow fishing to be sure, but very worthwhile. Another way to fish these pads is to get in close and cast a spinnerbait as close as possible paralleling pads. Holes in the center of these pads are also worth fishing. A few old sunken boats are buried in these pads that hold nice fish.

There are at least 5 canals leading off the dead river and they all hold bass year round. The most productive canal is the Imperial Terrace West canal. This canal is deeper than most and runs a good way back into the manufactured home development. Top water action can be good, but most anglers choose to fish the canal with Carolina or Texas rigged plastics. Summer night fishing in this canal is excellent.


The entrance to Lake Harris at the Dead River is an excellent area to fish. A large dredge hole and numerous high spots and drop-offs in this area make for good fishing. One of the largest tournament bass ever weighed on the Harris Chain came from this spot (13 pounds plus). Carolina rigged worms are the usual rig of choice. The Dead River can also be a great place to pull a deep diving crankbait. Dredging bottom with one of these baits is a good way to catch a quality bass.


If you have any questions or comments about the Dead River bass fishing, please contact me.









Captain Phil Kelley

Lakefront Marketing LLC
P.O. Box 325

Tavares, FL 32778