Fishing Lake Dora


Lake Dora, Beauclair and Carlton make up the eastern Harris Chain lakes. Located in Central Florida's Lake County, Lake Dora is approximately 6 miles long and about 3/4 miles wide. Covering 4,502 acres of water, the lake is the connected to Lake Eustis via the Dora Canal and Lake Apopka through the Apopka Beauclair Canal. Lake Beauclair (1,135 acres) is accessed through a short cut between the City of Mount Dora and Deer Island. Access to tiny Lake Carlton (385 acres) is through a small inlet in the bottom of Lake Beauclair. The Apopka Beauclair canal system contains two canals leading into a residential neighborhood and a gold course. Lake Dora is the location of some of the most expensive real estate in Lake County. The City of Mount Dora draws hundreds of thousands of visitors a year to it's art, crafts and antique festivals. The lake is also the home of an active antique boat community. The annual antique boat show, now held in Tavares, is a popular and well attended event. Read more...




Lake Dora and Beauclair are the lakes closest to Lake Apopka and are most effected by it's outflow. In recent years, the water quality has improved somewhat and a solid growth of eel grass has taken hold. The lake is the first lake to turn on in the spring and many tournaments have been won by those knowledgeable enough to fish this area. Many people are surprised to find good fishing in the Apopka Beauclair canals. There is a spring in the back of one of the canals, making sight fishing a real option.  Local tournament anglers have been known to make the long ride to Lake Apopka to fish the large spring in this massive lake. The bass caught near this spring are usually giants, making the long run worth while. When this strategy works, it's not unusual for a tournament bag of 5 five to approach or exceed 30 pounds.


Where to fish in Lakes Dora, Beauclair and Carlton


imageA number of residential canals lead off of the Dora Canal. About 100 yards from the entrance to Lake Eustis on the south side of the Dora canal is the entrance to Imperial Terrace East. A long shallow canal leads into the development. Use caution and idle back into the area as the canal is full of logs and stickups. Once you reach the homes you will be surprised to find that these canals are deep and productive.  The marina basin has depths to 30 feet and is very rocky. Many large bass have been taken in these canals.  Top water is my favorite, but many anglers find success with Carolina and Texas rigged plastics. Other canals in this area hold bedding bass in the spring. The water clarity is stained and blind casting with plastics or shallow cranking and spinner baiting is the norm.


The residential boat docks on the north side of Lake Dora are good flipping targets, especially if you find an abundance of eel grass.  The Lake Dora cut leading from Lake Beauclair can be excellent if a current is running in times of high water. Carolina rigged plastics worked with the current are productive.


Lake Beauclair and Carlton both hold good sized bass. The water is dark and the most successful technique is flipping the numerous boat docks. Action is usually slow, but the average size of bass caught in these lakes is large and worth the effort. Lake Carlton has a secret spot that is worth locating. On the southwest shore is a shallow creek leading through the woods.  This path is not navigable in times of low water, but many tournaments have been won in Horseshoe Lake at the end of the creek. Horseshoe lake is very shallow, muddy and full of grass and downed trees. This small lake holds giant fish in the spring. Many ten pound bass have been caught in Horseshoe Lake flipping the extensive cover or rattle trapping the open water.


The Apopka Beauclair canal system holds a good population of resident fish and are a major bedding area in season. The locally famous "clear canal" contains a spring and as you would expect is a good place to sight fish bedding bass. Unfortunately, this canal gets fished quite regularly and unless you happen to be there at just the right time, it could be a long run with little to show for it. Still, the area has its regulars who consistently take nice limits from these canals.


Lake County Water Authority’s Nutrient Reduction Facility (NuRF)The newly constructed Lake County Water Authority’s Nutrient Reduction Facility (NuRF) is located off the Apopka Beauclair canal. This facility is attempting to eliminate the majority of algae-feeding compounds exported from Lake Apopka.  After five years in development, the project is the largest alum-based surface water restoration facility ever built. In total, the project cost $7.272 million to construct and approximately $1 million per year to operate. When water flows from Lake Apopka, the facility makes a noticeable improvement in the water quality of Lake Dora. Unfortunately, it does not operate in times of drought.  Only time will tell if the investment in tax payers money will pay off.


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










Captain Phil Kelley

Lakefront Marketing LLC
P.O. Box 325

Tavares, FL 32778