Harris Chain Fishing Forecast – April 2024

Fishing has been hot in general on the Harris Chain of Lakes. The warm days and nights along with the short winter and windy March 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 or New Moon and the shellcracker and bluegill just starting to arrive in the shallows.

The lakes producing good crappie numbers and sizes would be Beauclair, Eustis, and Dora. Don’t be afraid to fish the mouth of Dead River on the Eustis side as well. Jigs tipped with a minnow fished in about 3-5ft of water or naked minnow under a cork works well.

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 or 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. We have started to hear that the U Vibe bite (speed-worm) 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 (SR 19) have been great secondary points for those post spawn fish. Once you get a bite slow down, usually the bass are in large groups.

Shellcracker and bluegills love them some yellow/red worms and grass shrimp. When it comes to easy fishing this is where it is at. Bring a kid with a cane pole, cork, and a hook to some lily pads and take a big inhale through your nostril. If it smells like some fish loving is going on, then you are in the right spot. Other tells 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.