Florida Fishing Regions
A 4,600-acre lake in the St. Johns River chain on the western edge of Melbourne just downstream from the U.S. Hwy 192 crossing. Fed by the tannin-stained St. Johns River, it is the first of the large lakes in the chain. Noted best for its past history of bass fishing, this lake also produces nice stringers of speckled perch (black crappie).
Specks are taken on minnows or small jigs from January through early March. Bass are fished for along bulrush lines with plastic worms and crankbaits, with some lunkers still available. Bass will hit topwater plugs or popping bugs in late spring. Live shiners fished along the shoreline in winter may pay off with big bass. Large bluegill and shellcracker are available from spring through fall along the shoreline using crickets or beetlespin type baits. A public ramp is available; exit east off I 95 at Eau Gallie Blvd., north on Wickham Rd., west on Lake Washington Road to ramp at the end of the road.
A remote 1,800-acre lake, about five miles upstream of Lake Poinsett in the St. Johns chain, can only be reached by an extended boat run from Lake Poinsett. Although currently plagued by heavy hydrilla, this is an excellent bluegill and shellcracker lake when it is clear. Bass may be found in vegetated areas along shore. Speck fishing is good in the river just downstream of the lake in late fall and winter.
This large, shallow lake of over 5,000 acres is accessed easily from S.R. 520 west of the city of Cocoa. This is the best bass fishing lake in the St. Johns chain south of Lake George. Fishing along the bulrush and in coves with maidencane and lily pads usually will produce good stringers of bass with an occasional lunker. Live shiners in the winter and topwater lures or crankbaits in the warm months are good bets for landing bass. Worms need to be rigged weedless because hydrilla can be found throughout the lake. This lake also produces good stringers of specks in late fall and winter. They are usually picked up by trolling in open water, especially in the northern half of the lake. Panfish can be taken along the shoreline with crickets and beetle spins in spring and summer. Sunshine bass may be found in deeper water of the river where it enters or leaves the lake.
A 600-acre lake only five feet above mean sea level at the very northern edge of Brevard County. This is an unusual lake, fed by water from the St. Johns River and by saltwater springs. Located east of the main river in a mixed saltwater/freshwater marsh, the lake is very shallow. The nature of the water source leads to a mixed bag of fish. Mostly panfish are taken, with some largemouth bass found around the vegetated areas. Flounder and croaker, however, may also show up when winds push the tides upstream. American shad, hickory shad, and blueback herring may be taken on flies or shad darts in the many creeks flowing into and out of the lake, and in the associated areas known as Ruth Lake and Clark Lake during the spring spawning run. Sunshine bass occasionally occur in the area. Access is available off S.R. 46.
Lake Sawgrass and Lake Hellen Blazes
Two smaller natural lakes along the St. Johns River, Sawgrass (407 acres) and Hellen Blazes (381 acres) have suffered from nearly total hydrilla coverage in recent years. Restoration efforts are under consideration that may cope with aquatic plants and water quality problems that have plagued sportfish populations in these lakes.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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