Lake Okeechobee Report: August 2017

by Capt. Mark Shepard, Contributing Writer

Summer months are in full swing with the weather warm and the sun shining. Many people enjoy the beach but taking a break from the ocean is always a bonus when visiting or traveling to Florida. Explore Lake Okeechobee for some of the best bass fishing you can find in the nation.

Rainy season is in full effect here in Florida. The rain has cooled off the weather and has helped maintain the water levels. The increase waterfall has brought the levels of the lake up. At the time this forecast was inked, Lake Okeechobee water levels are at 12-feet 4-inches above sea level. The lower water levels on the Lake help with production of grass beds the bass thrive in.

Lake Okeechobee for some of the best bass fishing you can find in the nation | Photo courtesy of Capt. Mike Shepard

One of the benefits of a rise in water levels is safe navigation across the lake. Lake Okeechobee is filled with rock and natural low points. It is highly advised to idle where you may believe the waters are low or navigate the waters with a professional guide to show you the safe zones.

The flats are a great place to locate bass this time of year. It is one of the many locations that you can experience those low water conditions making for some exciting fishing. I always advise idling to your location when coming into the flats that are new to you. Bass are moving into these flats this time of year chasing the bluegills.

Bluegills have been spawning all summer. The bass love this time of year because they can easily hunt them out. You can catch the bluegills using live bait but many have been spawned out already. They love live crickets and night crawlers. Bluegills are exciting to catch, especially in numbers.

You can target bass in multiple different ways this time of year. As the bass school on these flats, a variety of baits can be used to catch them. A spinner bait that swims just beneath the water is one of the more exciting methods. You can catch a lot of bass with the flash of those blades. Top water baits are also highly effective this time of year. The soft plastic Bass Assassin “Logger Toad” buzzing across the top of the water is irresistible to these summer bass feeding heavily on the flats. The Berkley “Rib Shad” is also a highly effective pattern to throw when the bluegills are spawning.

If you do not want to fish the flats, you can also focus in on the rim canal this time of year. The bass are schooling in the deeper water against different structures. The rip-rap or rock structures along the bank can hold bass that are transitioning and moving throughout the lake. I would target bass on these structures using shallow running crank baits and shaky heads. Use an Abu Garcia Silver Max combo for some of the best light tackle fishing you can find.

The largemouth bass will continue to let you know where they are located across the lake. The summer heat will push them to into schools as they chase bait. Early mornings and afternoons are the key times to target bass this time of year. Keep your eyes out and catch them up. We hope you catch the fish of your dreams.

Do not miss out on your adventure with Capt. Mark Shepard Today!

FORECAST BY:  Capt. Mark Shepard
Lake Okeechobee Fishing Guide
Cell: (863) 673-4966