The Best Time To Go Fishing in Orlando Florida
Many people flock to Orlando for fun, family holidays focused on the famous amusement parks. However, Orlando is also a great destination for anglers. The area around the city boasts dozens of lakes that provide excellent fishing.
The best time of year
When the average maximum daily temperatures in Orlando are 78oF or lower from November to March, bass are more likely to feed in shallower water. Therefore, this is the best time for fishing, especially toward the end of this period when spawning has begun.
However, when a particularly cold front hits, the fish sometimes stop feeding. This makes them impossible to catch with bait. In warmer months, the bass slip into cooler waters and become more difficult to catch.
The best time of day
Generally, bass in Florida are at their most active near sunrise, and they move to shallower water to feed. Later in the day, they move to deeper, cooler water. So, your best time to arrive at the lake is half an hour before dawn. You can still fish in deeper water later in the day, but your lures will be less effective than earlier.
The best way to ensure success
Obviously, local knowledge will help you catch the largest fish. If you want to enjoy a really successful fishing trip, consider engaging the services of one of the many professional fishing guides who operate around Orlando. Many guides focus on the most popular lake—Lake Toho (Tohopekaliga). It’s also possible to charter a dedicated fishing boat to reach the best locations for a good catch.
Complying with local rules and regulations
Unless you’re a Florida resident, you must obtain a Florida non-resident fishing license to fish in Orlando. You can choose between a 3- or 7-day limited period license or buy a full-year license if you intend to enjoy multiple trips or stay for an extended period. Licenses may be purchased online, and you can choose the date when they become active.
Catch and release is encouraged to maintain stocks. Local regulations limit your daily bag to 5 largemouth bass, with only one allowed to exceed 22”. Any less than 14” must be immediately released.
However, you’ll find that many lakes apply even stricter regulations, with some only allowing catch and release. Before you bait your hook, you should be aware of the size and quantity regulations set by the lake or park where you have decided to go fishing.
The best baits
Unless the lake or park you have chosen rules otherwise, you may use either lures or live bait. You’ll generally find more success with live bait. At dawn, plastic worms and topwaters make good lure choices.
Later in the day, you’ll need spinnerbaits or crankbaits to reach the depths where the fish are feeding. Live bait works any time of day or year. During the winter, live bait is an especially popular choice for anglers in Orlando. As long as you use a good-quality baitcasting rod & reel, you’re sure of a great catch.
The best lakes
There are many beautiful lakes with great fishing potential situated less than an hour’s drive from downtown Orlando. As mentioned earlier, Lake Toho is an especially popular destination for anglers. Several pro-angling tournaments, such as the Bassmaster Elite Series, are held on Lake Tohopekaliga.
To the north of Lake Toho is East Lake Tohopekaliga. Relatively large fish are caught in this bowl-shaped lake. And the Conway chain of lakes is also a popular venue for angling. If you prefer river fishing, St. John’s River to the northeast of Orlando is a good choice.
Lake Toho is the northernmost lake in the Kissimmee Chain and very close to Orlando. Many angling records have been set at Lake Toho, including the biggest 4-day total, biggest 1-day weight, and the most fish over 10 lbs. Lake Toho is widely regarded as the best largemouth bass lake in Florida.
South of Lake Toho in the Kissimmee Chain you’ll find Lake Kissimmee. This 44.000-acre lake yields great catches and is considered to be one of the most beautiful lakes in Florida. Because of its vast size and expansive vegetation, the bass here are relatively protected from fishing and can grow to a great size without once meeting an angler.
The Conway Lakes
The 2 lakes that make up the Conway Lakes are divided into 4 pools popular among anglers. Although relatively small at 1,800 acres in total, these lakes are considered the best place to take children fishing.
The bass and crappie fishing in the winter is so constant that a kid learning to fish can be kept busy and excited all day. Just make sure they’re supplied with easy-to-use equipment, like spin-cast reels, and they’ll be entertained for hours. The reason for the abundant fish stocks is the hard, sandy bottom and beds of eelgrass, hydrilla, and peppergrass.
And there’s more
The above is just a small selection of the many lakes found around Orlando that enthusiastic anglers will love. Come between November and March for the biggest catches but come any time of the year to admire the scenery and relax with a rod in your hand.
Author: Robert Baker