Florida Fishing Regions
Polk County is blessed with 550 lakes and 80 provide public access. A publication that provides direction to Polk County lakes with public access can be obtained by contacting Polk County Water Resources at (941) 534-7368. Most of these lakes produce excellent sportfish populations. Phosphate mining in the county has created thousands of acres of strip mine lakes or"pits" that have gained national attention among bass anglers. While most pits are closed to the public, access is available at many sites. Contact the Florida Phosphate Council P.O. Box 367, Lakeland, FL 33802, (813) 686-2880 for information about public recreational opportunities.
Polk County's most pristine waterbody, this 3,828-acre lake produces excellent bass, bluegill and crappie catches. On the north end ofthe lake, boat access is on Lake Arbuckle Road off North Lake Reedy Boulevard, south of CR 630, east of Frostproof Very limited bank fishing.
Located in Frostproof, a boat ramp and limited bank access is available in a park off North Lake Reedy Boulevard, south of CR 630. This 3,486-acre lake has a very good fishery, especially crappie fishing near the fish attractors during winter.
A 4,579-acre clear lake, Rosalie has good bass fishing in the spring and excellent crappie fishing in the winter. Located east of Lake Wales on Lake Rosalie Road, west of Tiger Lake Road and north off SR 6O, boats can be launched from the park at the south end, and a small pier offers bank access.
Better known as Lake Walk-in-the-Water, this 7,523-acre lake is a popular fishing area east of Lake Wales. South of SR 60 off Lake Walk-In-Water Road, a county park is on the west shore of the lake with a boat ramp but very limited bank access.
This 2,162-acre chain of three lakes is located just west of US Hwy. 27. Two boat ramps and a private fish camp provide access to this beautiful lake. A fish attractor is marked for anglers to locate and catch bass and panfish.
Lakes Julianna and Mattie
Access to these Fish Management Areas is through a private fee ramp located west of CR 559 off Fish Haven Road at the Fish Haven Camp. A canal on the east side of Lake Juliana provides the only access to Lake Mattie where crappie fishing is consistently good from October through March. There is no bank access to either lake.
Winter Haven Chain of Lakes
Nine lakes compose this 6,000-acre chain where fishing and boating are extremely popular. Boat and shore access to the South Chain is available at lakes Summitt, Shipp, Howard, Cannon, and Hartridge. The North Chain can be accessed through lakes Rochelle and Haines. Sunshine bass are stocked in both the South and North Chain. Fish attractors are located and marked in lakes Howard, Winterset, Cannon, Smart, and Haines. Successful bass anglers try "flipping" shoreline plants such as cattail and maidencane. Lake Cannon is located off Lake Cannon Drive, south of SR 544, and Lake Shipp is off CR 655, south of SR 540. The North Chain's Lake Conine is located east of US Hwy. 17 off SR 544, and Lake Haines is east of US Hwy. 92 at the end of East Haines Boulevard.
Located just north of Lakeland, Lake Parker is a 2,272-acre Fish Management Area with very good largemouth bass and bluegill fishing. Sunshine bass are stocked and can be caught during the winter near the power plant at the southeast corner of the lake. A long fishing pier has been built by the plant and provides excellent fishing. A city park located at Glendale Avenue and Lakeshore Drive has a boat ramp and abundant bank access.
Saddle Creek Park
This 326-acre Fish Management Area is a phosphate lake with five boat ramps and extensive bank fishing. Fish attractors have been installed adjacent to fishing piers. Special regulations on bass harvest and other activities are posted. Saddle Creek Park offers a variety of outdoor activities and is located off US Hwy. 92, just east of Lakeland.
Tenoroc Fish mangement Area
Located east of Lakeland off CR 33, this 6,000-acre area managed by the Commission offers many recreational activities such as hiking and picnicking, as well as excellent fishing in 1,000 acres of phosphate lakes. Eight to 10 1akes are open for fishing and managed to provide high quality angling. Special regulations stressing catch-and-release of largemouth bass apply. The area is open Thursday through Sunday and fishing reservations can be made by calling (813) 499-2422 Thursday through Sunday between noon and 4 p.m.
Lakes Kissimmee and Hatchineha
These renowned bass and crappie producers border Polk County but primarily are located in Osceola County. Refer to the Central Region Fishing Guide.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication