Lake Okeechobee: April 2022

Warmer weather has led up to great fishing on Lake Okeechobee, as stable weather patterns usher in some of the better catching of the year.
Bass anglers are finding that catching large numbers of bass to be tougher this year than it has been in quite some time. The artificially high water levels maintained by the Corps of Engineers is allowing the bass to access the deepest part of the marsh areas where anglers can no longer penetrate due to extreme weed growth. The bite can be a hit or miss affair, one day the fish will be stacked up in an area and eating a spinnerbait or chatter bait and the next day the area will seem devoid of fish. The tried-and-true Senko in a black and blue color or a watermelon/red color will always produce fish, it is just a little slower presentation than most people can stand. Working through an area thoroughly before moving on is much more productive to run and gun-style fishing on Okeechobee. Guided shiner trips are producing 25 to 40 fish per morning with big bass in the mix almost daily. Look for the best bass fishing for numbers and big bass around three to four days prior to and after a full or new moon phase.

Shane Buffin and his dad Rick fished with me early March for these beauties. One weighing in at 8-pounds 2-ounces and just under 8 pounds.
Shane Buffin and his dad Rick fished with me early March for these beauties. One weighing in at 8-pounds 2-ounces and just under 8 pounds. PHOTOS CREDIT: Capt. Nate Shellen.

Many anglers visit Okeechobee each year around this time to target the hard fighting and very tasty panfish she produces. Shellcrackers are primarily caught near or on the bottom, although the water they are in may only be two feet deep. The canal edges and the shallow water marsh areas are key spots to find large areas of spawning beds, which appear as light spots on the normally dark bottom. We have found beds over the years which were very small, and other years we have found beds that were 30 to 40 feet wide. The primary bait for shellcrackers is either a red worm or a grass shrimp fished very near the bottom. Bluegills can be coaxed to rise up and strike a popping bug or small floating fly, but most are caught on grass shrimp, crickets, or red worms under a small bobber.

It is that time of year that many are out fishing for speck (crappie) out on Lake Okeechobee with great success. It has been quite a few years since so many large specks have been found in the grassy areas that form the littoral zone of the lake. Kissimmee grass is found surrounding the outside edges of the lake on the north end of the lake and is a prime spot to target and find large, speckled perch when they move in shallow water to spawn. When Kissimmee grass and other native grasses can be found adjacent to one another fishing can go to catching very quickly. Anglers targeting the fish are using small jigs on a very thin line.

The weather is perfect, and the fishing is top notch for fishing out on Lake O this time of year!

FORECAST BY: Capt. Nate Shellen
Shellen Guide Service
Okeechobee Bass Fishing Guides/Charters
Telephone: (863) 357-0892
Website: and