Lake Okeechobee Fishing Report and Forecast: June 2014

Karry Marnello from Pekioville, PA caught this big "un" on a wild shiner. PHOTO CREDIT: Capt. Mike Shellen.
Karry Marnello from Pekioville, PA caught this big “un” on a wild shiner. PHOTO CREDIT: Capt. Mike Shellen.

The Big “O” water level is 13.03 feet, recent rains however may keep the lake level from ever receding below 13 feet before the rainy season sets in and daily afternoon thunderstorms become the norm.

The traffic on the lake has dropped dramatically in the last month, Okeetantie and Scott Driver parks are now only sprinkled with trucks and trailers, particularly on weekdays. We have reached that time of year when fishing/catching is at its peak and no one is there to reap the benefits in many cases.

Bass fishing continues to be very consistent, with 30 to 50 bass catches per morning, when using live wild shiners. On the new moon phase we learned that another wave of large pre-spawn females had moved shallow to spawn as we caught numerous pre-spawn bass, with several over 8-pounds the largest being an 8.75 trophy caught on a wild shiner by Karry Marnello from Pekiomin Pa. The full moon phase upcoming in June should provide anglers with an opportunity to catch a trophy sized bass as well as large numbers of bass. During this time of year we regularly catch a mixture of bass that are fat and very healthy having spawned months ago. In addition, the bass that have yet to spawn are feeding heavily getting prepared for the rigors of spawning, add to the mix the fish that have just recently completed spawning, which can be thin and very hungry and it is creates a very productive time for catching.

A large part of the equation for catching bass on artificial baits revolves around the newly hatched shad that are abundant. The shad can be found in and around the Kissimmee grass lines that form the lakeside perimeter of the lake on the north end. Casting and retrieving a spinner bait into and through the grass patches during the early morning hours can jump start your day. Silver willow leaf blades with a white skirt are a good starting point, however many variables are possible with this bait, blade sizes and colors, as well as skirt colors can all be changed to alter the look and performance of your spinner bait. Swim baits and swim style jigs also are performing well. If you are lucky enough to find a school of bass in the open sections of the lake, a rattling/lipless crank bait with chrome sides and a black bait are a standard for the lake, many different combinations are available in the bait too, many days one particular color will far outperform others.

Pan fishing is at the top of the scale during this time of year, blue gill and shell cracker can be found in the lake where clear water allows visibility as well as along the canal edges of every local canal on the North end including the Kissimmee River. Guided trips this time of year start with shiners and then turn towards catching a nice bunch of blue gill. Grass shrimp, crickets and red worms are the go to baits for all pan fish.