South Lake Okeechobee Fishing Report: January 2018

by Capt. Mark Shepard, Contributing Writer

Fishing Lake Okeechobee is back in gear. Season is upon us and it is time to catch some quality spawning largemouth bass. The next couple of months are your chance to catch the trophy bass you have been looking for.

Lake Okeechobee bass fishing should be fantastic over the course of the next couple of months. We have seen a great kick start to the spawning season. Great numbers of big fish are beginning to make their way in off the main lake fast and hard.

PHOTO: Now that’s a trophy bass! | Photo courtesy of Capt. Mark Shepard

Spawning season is going to be excellent this year. Water levels are coming down allowing for the water to finally get the clarity it needs. Clean and clear water will promote a strong spawning for largemouth bass. We are starting to see females preparing for this season already. Water levels should be around 15 feet by the beginning of January, which will dramatically help the grass beds to grow and bounce back from the hurricane.

January is also the time of year when we can experience cold fronts. If they are severe and change the water temperatures dramatically, that will influence the fishing and feeding patterns the most. Small cold fronts will allow for the temperatures to get right for spawning.  When the water begins to cool, rattle traps and jerk baits are highly effective to catch largemouth bass.

Also, this month during the new and full moon, we will be able to experience a great migration of crappie. You can catch them currently in key areas, but will begin to see them in numbers coming soon. If you find deeper waters in the Kissimmee River, you will generally be able to find some great numbers and quality of crappie or speck. Buggy whips and saw grass edges will begin to produce an excellent bite, just get your jig pole ready.

The south end of Lake Okeechobee in Clewiston and Belle Glade seem to be the strongest parts of the lake. You can experience more of an explosive migration of largemouth bass moving in. Don’t count out the north shore though because we are seeing some quality females appear as well. Explore the waters from Harney Pond and above for an adventure you won’t forget.

Artificial baits can be an effective method to catch largemouth bass. Some of your favorite Florida fishing techniques can also help produce an excellent bite. Throw a frog in the grass, flip your favorite bait and swim that swim jig or swim bait around hydrilla and hold on! When the water is just right you can catch a few on top water as well.

FORECAST BY:  Capt. Mark Shepard
Lake Okeechobee Fishing Guide
Telephone: (888) 321-0202