Fishing has been hot in general on the Harris Chain of lakes. The warm days and nights have the fish starting their annual transition a little early this year. All species have been happy and willing to eat if you spend some time on the water. Bass and crappie are entering into the final stages of their annual spawning cycles with the next full and new moons while the shellcracker and bluegill are just starting to arrive at the shallows.
The lakes that are producing good crappie numbers and sizes would be Beauclair, and Dora. Don’t be afraid to fish the mouth of Dead River on the Eustis side as well. Minnows fished with a jig in about 3-5ft of water is going to be the key or naked minnow under a cork.
Most of the big female bass have spawned and are moving their way back to deeper water and will be looking for a good meal. Look for hard shell bottom areas close to canals, points, with a drop off and deep water close by. Try fishing a lipless crankbait (Booyah Knocker Copper Shiner) or a Carolina rig with a trick worm a little off the shoreline – looking for edges of the eel grass or patches of hydrilla will be the key. We have started to hear that the U Vibe bite is happening, and those who aren’t familiar with a Zoom U Vibe, you really need to. South end of Little Lake Harris, Lake Dora and the Howie Bridge have been great secondary points for those post spawn fish.
Shellcracker and bluegills – these feisty fighters of the Harris Chain love them some yellow/red worms and grass shrimp. When it comes to easy fishing this is where it’s at. Bring a kid with a cane pole, cork, and hook to some lily pads and take a big inhale through your nostril. If it smells fishy, then you are in the right spot. Other signs are oil in the water. Once you do find them dip your bait into an opening and hold on. Dead River, Haines Creek, Cracker Cove, and Green Cove will give you the best chance. Good luck this month, and remember take a kid fishing.