It can be an “iffy” time for fishing Lake Okeechobee. What this means is that if the weather is cold and windy, lending itself to cool water temperatures and rough lake conditions, bass fishing can become very tough. However, “if” the weather is warm and stable, it lends itself to warmer water temperatures and smoother conditions, which in turn can lead to some of the best bass catching conditions of the winter season. The fishing can be terrific for a solid week and then a cold front blows through South Florida and the water temperatures in the lake plummet, leading to a downturn in fish production, only to fully recover, after a few warm days warm the water up once again.
As I write this, bass fishing, particularly shiner fishing, has been quite good for the past five to six days. Local guides are reporting catching 35 to 45 bass per trip. Big bass are in the mix daily, 7- to 10-pound bass are fall prey to wild shiners daily. The full moon period has just passed and a new moon period is approaching leading to another wave of pre-spawn bass that will move into the grass lines to feed prior to spawning. At this juncture in the season, we have a percentage of bass that have spawned already and are feeding up after exhausting most of their energy. Then too, there are bass that are in pre-spawn mode that are just waiting for what bass consider perfect conditions to spawn. When the perfect conditions are present, the bass bite is something that will provide a lifetime of memories. It’s about timing, with a little luck mixed in.
Judging simply from the amount of speck fishermen on the lake, it must be a banner season! Based on reports from anglers, the evidence seems to support that judgment. It has been a number of years since so many specks have been caught in and around the grass lines of the lake. Jig fishermen are having the best of it reporting catches each and every time they venture onto the lake. Minnow fishermen are finding their creels full of fat healthy 10-inch-plus specks as well. The Kissimmee River and local canals are giving up limits daily, and even more nightly.
Water levels are still much too high for this time of year, as long as the levels are being manipulated by interference from government entities, the security of the lake and both coasts will be in jeopardy. Anytime water is released from Lake Okeechobee it should be going south through the Everglades as it was intended. It is not about who has the most money at stake, it’s about what is best for the environment of the lake and the coasts. But money is what’s stopping the flow of water to the south. Call your local representative and tell them to get the land to the South of the lake back underwater as it’s meant to be, only then will the Indian River Lagoon be able to heal and return to its natural state.