Lake Okeechobee South End Fishing Report: March 2016


I am sure everyone is starting to hear about Lake Okeechobee and how the water is up and that we are dumping dirty water to both the Gulf and the Atlantic Ocean. Yes the water level from all the rain is up to around sixteen feet above sea level and that is very high for this time of the year. No the water in Lake Okeechobee is not a muddy, dirty polluted mess like the news reporters like to put a nasty twist on their stories. Yes the amount of freshwater that is being pushed into the Gulf and the Ocean is having an impact on fish and plant life in these areas and I sure wish we didn’t have to dump the amount of freshwater that we are at the present time but the managers of the lake have no choice at this time. It is very dangerous on our hurricane dike that surrounds the lake to have to hold the amount of water that it is at the present time. I know this is going to have a lasting effect on tourism in south Florida and some of my best friends guide on both coasts and this will ultimately affect their guiding and maybe even their livelihood. There is a lot of politics that go along with what is happening and in my opinion these guides should be compensated just like the farmers are when they have a bad year. It is not only guides that will be affected by this and I pray that everyone weathers the storm. The root of the problem is not Lake Okeechobee but all that is going on around and to this lake that has created these problems. When big government is involved there are no winners.


While the high water has made fishing a little tougher we are still catching plenty of bass and with warmer temperatures it has been improving daily. The bass have moved shallow as the water came up and the key is to find clean water. The bass in Lake Okeechobee do not like cold dirty water, there is plenty of clean water to fish but you do need to move on back to find it. By clean water I mean if you can see down a foot or so you are good, but there are a lot of areas that are clean enough to see to the bottom. With the cooler temperatures we have had through most of January and the first part of February the live bait bite on wild shiners has been better than the artificial lure bite but I have seen a lot better bite this past week on artificial lures. Pitching a Gambler Ace has been my go to bait the past month but as the water continues to warm the swimbait bite should improve. There are some great areas like Pelican Bay, Bay Bottom, East Wall, and around the Harney Pond area that have been producing some really nice bass. March is one of the best months to fish Lake Okeechobee and I think that even with this high water we are going to have a great spring catching some monster fish.

We have had a few boating accidents this past month and even had a couple fatalities, please put a life jacket on a pay special attention to what is going on around you. If you are new to Lake Okeechobee, consider hiring a fishing guide for a day to show you around and give you a few of the do’s and don’ts. We are all out here to catch some fish and have a good safe time. Until next month good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone on the water soon.