Lake Jackson Fishing Forecast – March 2019

Myles Gardner caught 35 bass with fishtallahasse guide service during Christmas break.
Myles Gardner caught 35 bass with fishtallahasse guide service during Christmas break.

It’s good to be back! Hurricane Michael devastated our Forgotten Coast and some areas were harder hit than others. One great thing about Floridians is their resiliency. The rebuilding process continues, and healing for those most affected will take time. Hard work, fellowship and being good neighbors are what I’ve witnessed in the aftermath. Prayers to all, now let’s take a break and talk about fishing.

Due to low water levels, it’s been 18 months since you’ve heard anything about world famous Lake Jackson. Lake Jackson lies in the NW corner of Leon County, just 4 miles from down town Tallahassee. Approximately 4,500 acres when full, this natural wonder is known for more than just world class bass fishing. Local Indians named it “Lake Okeeheepkee” which means “disappearing lake”. Over the past 20 years water levels have dropped so low, sections of the lake have flown down a sink hole like a draining bathtub. This happened in 2000, 2002, 2005 and 2011. Low rainfall totals in 2016 and 2017 dropped lake levels so low you could not run bass or pleasure boats. Rainfall totals in October and November 2018 were enough to fill the lake and more. During the 16 month hiatus bass had record setting spawning numbers and little pressure. All this adds up to world famous Lake Jackson being a bass factory again. In just a couple short months we’ve caught hundreds of bass and that will continue to get better with Spring. Here are some tips on how to catch ‘em.

Shallow is the place to be for success, water depths less than 4’ or 5’ will be key. In March, bass will be in all three phases of the spawn. Early mornings and late afternoons you can cover water quickly with fast moving baits to find fish. Buzz baits, top water frogs and swim baits work very well and all have their applications depending on the type of cover you’re fishing. Don’t worry about short strikes. Use that as a marker and go back later. More often than not, that bass will still be there and eager to bite again. Often, mornings are cooler and that will affect how bass strike a top water lure. As the water warms, so do the bass. They become much more aggressive and you’ll need to switch tactics. Slow down and work the area thoroughly with a Texas-rigged lizard, worm or creature bait. Keep colors natural like watermelon or pumpkin. A ¼ oz. weight is about the heaviest you’ll need unless you’re flipping, but we’ll save that for the May article.

With so much shoreline and vegetation to fish it can be overwhelming to most. There is another section of the lake called the “cattle gap” that is now accessible. Here you will find an array of cover from grass and lily pads to sand bars and roots. Be careful though, average depths there are in the 3’ range so take it easy. The same fishing tactics apply here. There’s also a small Island near the Sunset Landing area that can produce numbers and size in March.

All main lake boat ramps are open. Look on Google maps to find the one nearest you. The most popular is Sunset Landing. It is managed by the county, has parking for 25- to 30-rigs and has an oyster bar and bait shop right there.

Lake Jackson fishing is back and nothing short of spectacular!

(850) 296-4071