Small Lake Bass Fishing
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.
The 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, drought and the addition of a water bottling plant 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 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.
The 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. The State of Florida occasionally restocks the lake with bass fingerlings and the lake has regaining it's reputation as a great bass fishery. View Map
Lake Dorr and the Ocala National Forest Lakes
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. Throughout the 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 contact me.
Captain Phil Kelley
Lakefront Marketing LLC
P.O. Box 325
Tavares, FL 32778