Lake Okeechobee Report: June 2017

by Capt. Nathan M. Shellen, Contributing Writer

With summer approaching fast, Lake O is gearing up for what looks like a fantastic summer bite. The summer heat is here on Okeechobee and I recommend getting out early and catching bass before the sun gets too high and the heat settles in for the day. The early morning spinnerbait and topwater bite is going to get better. Throw a spinnerbait; my favorite is a 1/2 oz. War Eagle in the mouse color with a gold Colorado blade in front and a silver willow leaf in back. Throw towards the edges of the Kissimmee Grass. Make sure the bait lands a few feet into the grass and work it out to the edge. You are sure to get a strike as your bait works out towards the edge of the grass. A Zara Spook and a Pop -R are also great to use along the grass line first thing in the morning. The Skinny Dippers and any frog type baits will also be working well in the grass this time of year. After the early morning bite ends, start pitching reeds with a jig or a craw type bait, but keep your Skinny Dippers handy.

Nice Lake O catch! | Photo courtesy of Capt. Nathan Shellen

BuckHead Ridge down to Third Point, Tin House Cove and Indian Prairie are also great fishing spots. Okeechobee guides have had catches on half days of up to 35-50 bass in the morning and as many as 60 or more on full days. Harney Pond, Kings Bar and Grassy Island are great places to try if you like to live baitfish. Remember to stick to the outside edges where ever you fish,
the fish are heading out just like they do every year now. Now that lake levels are dropping the fish will be loaded on the outside of the Kissimmee Grass and Eel grass.

Shiner fishing has continued to be fantastic. Bluegill and shell-cracker have been showing up in droves already this year. The best time to catch them is around the full moon and new moon phases each month. Shell-crackers and bluegill have started to show up in Tin House Cove and down on the Shoal. Be sure to break out the ultralight spinning gear and crickets to catch a cooler full of these tasty fish. Crickets, grass shrimp, and red worms are prime baits for panfish. You can try a beetle spin over their beds. Black beetle spins with the yellow stripe are deadly in a bluegill bed. Catfish are also starting to show up.  If you enjoy fishing for catfish they can easily be caught on the outside edges of the grass and in the open lake.

Until the next report good luck, tight lines, and Bucket Lips. I hope to see everyone on the water!

Special Thanks to the D.O.A Lures and ManOWar staff, and Costa Del Mar sunglasses for always being available and providing some high-quality lures and equipment.

Capt. Nathan M. Shellen