Florida Fishing Regions

Sumter County

Lake Miona
A 418-acre lake on C.R. 472 south of the town of Oxford. Miona is a very fertile, open water lake connected to a 125-acre marsh known as Black Lake. A GFC boat ramp provides public access. The lake normally produces excellent populations of largemouth bass, bluegill, and redear sunfish, but prolonged drought since 1989 has dropped water levels to historic lows, and has isolated Black Lake. This natural occurrence has reduced the fish population but should result in excellent reproduction and growth when water levels return to normal. Brushpile fish attractors have been installed at two sites.

Lake Panasoffkee
A 4,460-acre Fish Management Area located by the town of Lake Panasoffkee. I-75 runs along the eastern edge and C.R. 470 along the southern and western shore. Several fish camps have boat ramps to provide access. A public ramp is available on the Outlet River, west of the lake on C.R. 470, south of S.R. 44.

Panasoffkee is unusual, a true spring-fed lake—water depths seldom exceed four feet. Dense stands of eelgrass (tapegrass) cover much of the lake's bottom. The lake is most noted for its shellcracker fishing. Shellcracker are located by drifting over beds of eelgrass until white spots are seen. The white spots are dead snail shells used as spawning substrate by shellcracker and bluegill. Most anglers use live worms as bait. Largemouth bass fishing is also popular. Due to the lake's shallow nature and thick vegetation, anglers should use lures designed to fish this habitat. A severe drought since 1989 has reduced water levels in Panasoffkee. Small boats with a shallow draft and trolling motors with weed guards are necessary under these conditions. Even during normal water levels, large bass boats are not advised.

Withlacoocie River
A 157-mile-long stream that originates in Green Swamp in Hernando County and flows north through Sumter, Marion, Citrus, and Levy counties. Public ramps at S.R. 44 in Rutland, C.R. 470 north of Lake Panasoffkee, the Outlet River west of Lake Panasoffkee on C.R. 470, C.R. 39 north of S.R. 200, U.S. Hwy. 41 at Dunnellon, and S.R. 40 at Yankeetown plus several fish camps provide access.

Habitat varies from shallow, wide, and heavily vegetated stretches to narrow, deep, and rocky stretches. Largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, and warmouth occupy a variety of habitats, while spotted sunfish, redbreast sunfish, and catfish are normally in swift, flowing waters. Water hyacinth, water lettuce, and hydrilla have created navigation, fishing, and habitat problems. A prolonged drought since 1989 has compounded poor habitat conditions.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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