The weatherman is bringing us a steady southerly flow this weekend which will provide us with plenty of moisture in the form of humid conditions and occasional showers. It will also provide a continuation of the roller coaster ride in barometric pressure we have been experiencing so the bass bite should remain inconsistent. For the most part it’s rising pressure in the mornings and falling pressure in the afternoons. The pre-dawn bite still remains the best time to be out on the lake for consistent fishing.
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This weekend is shaping up to be a nice boating and fishing weekend with the usual exception of those afternoon thunderstorms. Through the weekend the morning temperatures will start in the low to mid 70’s and rise to about 90°. The Highlands area will have a 40% chance of rain in the afternoons while the south end of Lake Okeechobee will see the highest chance of rain on Sunday afternoon. Winds will be mostly out of the south to southwest under 10 mph except near thunderstorms. Sunrise on Friday will be at 6:48am and set at 8:08p. The moon will rise at 9:22am and set at 10:03pm and be 9% reflective coming off a New Moon this past Tuesday. Friday’s AM:Major occurs at 1:49am while the PM:Major occurs at 2:12pm. Add 50 minutes to the Majors for each consecutive day. All-in-all it should be a nice weekend to be outdoors though do remember your sunscreen and to drink plenty of water while outside.
Lake Okeechobee: 14.62ft ASL ↓ 0.10-ft
Lake Istokpoga: 38.25-ft ASL ↓ 0.03-ft
Istokpoga Canal S68: Head 38.28-ft, Tail 31.84-ft, Flow 768 cfs
Arbuckle Creek @ DeSoto: 4.10-ft ↓ 1.0-ft, Flow 780 cfs,
Fisheating Creek @ US 27: 4.63-ft ↓ 0.59-ft, Flow 254 cfs,
Fisheating Creek @ Lakeport: 14.83 ASL ↓ 0.19-ft Flow 562 cfs,
Peace River @ Zolfo Springs: 8.62-ft ↓ 2.13-ft, Flow 752 cfs
Kissimmee River @ S-65E: Head 20.95-ft, Tail 14.20-ft, Flow 1,043 cfs
Moore Haven Locks S-77: Head 14.68-ft, Tail 11.02-ft, Flow -101 cfs, 7-Day Avg 760 cfs
Ortona Locks S-78: Head 11.03-ft, Tail 3.16-ft, Flow 531 cfs, 7-Day Avg 1106 cfs
W.P Franklin Lock S-79: Head 3.32-ft, Tail 1.02-ft, Flow 2138 cfs, 7-Day Avg 3,174 cfs
Lake Okeechobee Locks
St Lucie Lock S-80: Head 14.28-ft, Tail 1.25-ft, Flow 557 cfs, 7-Day Avg 657 cfs
Port Mayaca Lock S-308: Head 14.53-ft, Tail 14.04-ft, Flow 453 cfs, 7-Day Avg 692 cfs
Lake Okeechobee South End
Slim’s Fish Camp, Belle Glade; 561-996-3844: Fishing has been steady and water conditions remain good. There are a few patches of green water but not enough to impact the bite. Bass continue to feed early in the morning and still favoring frogs and spinnerbaits. There is also some nice sized crappy being caught on jigs for those knowing where to go. Bluegills and bream are also readily available in the trails and local canals.
Roland Martin Marine Center, Clewiston; 863-983-2128: The bass bite remains active on the south end of the lake. Finding clear water and nice hydrilla are you best chances for success. Topwater baits are producing in the mornings but switching to flipping or pitching the weed lines is the norm for this time of year. The shiner bite is always a sure way to keep bass coming to the boat.
The Bait Shop at Harney Pond, Lakeport; 863-946-0170: Ed at the Bait Shop at Harney Pond reports Speck fishermen are having a good time with a few catching their limits during the day. The fish appear clean and quite healthy with plenty in the 12-15-inch bracket. Most anglers are fishing jigs with chartreuse-white and peanut butter being the favorite colors. Those using minnows are also doing quite well. Bluegills remain active and shellcrackers are being found in deeper water (5-6 ft). Bait stealing catfish remain ever present. The bass fishing has shifted in favor of small schoolies with the 2-3 lb class being the most active. The water still remains muddy in the bay but clear water can be found north of Dyess Ditch out towards Horse Island. The early topwater bite remains steady.
Lake Okeechobee North End
Garrard’s Bait & Tackle, Okeechobee; 863-763-3416: Lief reports the fishing has been stable over these last few weeks. Water quality remains good and the clarity is improving. Bass fishing remains a topwater and spinner bite in the morning and then quickly changing over to a flipping and pitching bite in the late morning and for the rest of the day. Those fishing shiners continue to have steady results through most of the day. Shellcrackers are beginning to show up in the mix with bluegills along the north shore area. The numbers are scattered but at least they’re beginning to appear.
No Bad Daze Bait & Tackle, Okeechobee; 863-484-8126: The water in the RIM Canal is up so fish are getting deeper into the vegetation and ditches and creeks. Topwater and swim baits tossed into the shoreline and dragged towards the Rim Canal and pulling out some nice bass. When rain runoff is flowing these areas can be very productive. Panfish like Oscars continue to be active.
J&S Fish Camp, Okeechobee; 772-597-4455: The fishing just outside the J&S Locks has been real good as of late. The water levels in the Rim Canal are up so water is flowing into the lake which is attracting fish. The fish aren’t hawgs but they’re in numbers. The same is true inside the locks. Some shoal areas are producing 2-4 lbers. Topwater baits and jerk baits are producing well inside the dike and shiners always produce. In fishing the areas away from the lock’s channel, the water starts to pick up some algae with a light green haze on the surface. In these areas, bass are finding refuge from the heat in the patches of Kissimmee Grass. The greener the patch of grass the greater the chance a bass is holding up in there. Flipping these patches with weighted creature baits or plastic worms can result in a nice surprise if you can pull the fish out of there.
Admiral’s Cove. Laker Placid; 863-465-0982: Fishing the shallow water lakes at the southern end of the county remains in summer mode. The shoreline emergent zone remains active in the morning and returns once the afternoon thunderstorms clear. Otherwise it’s fishing the submerged vegetation with soft plastics and crank baits if the water is deep enough. In the heat of the day, if you’re still on the water, fishing slow will be your best bet.
Performance Marine, Lake Placid, 863-465-2814: Jeff Baylock reports the deeper water lakes continue to fish hard but there are some nice 6-8 lbers to be had if you know how to use your electronics. The key to summertime fishing on these lakes is to search for bait balls before you get a line wet. You can also find fish at the various brush piles and ledges these lakes have to offer but locating the bait is usually a safer play. Don’t be afraid to use deep diving swim baits when searching for deeper pods of bait or near the transition points. Also take note of where in the thermocline the fish are stacking for they’ll generally stay at that depth. At the moment Lake Placid is fishing better than Lake June.
Lorida Bait & Tackle, Lorida; 863-655-2323: Lake Istokpoga remains a hot lake, that’s temperature wise not fishing wise. It’s not unusual to find temperatures in the 90’s by mid-morning and approaching triple digits on isolated patches of surface water in the afternoons. In these cases go out into the open water and look for patches of hydrilla and submerged grasses. Throwing crank baits over submerged grasses can produce when pitching and flipping the shallow vegetation fails. The lake level continues to fall approaching 38-ft so water in between the islands remains skinny. The spillway remains open at approx. 850cfs so fishing in the outflow remains good.
GS Outdoors, formerly Tall Tales Bait & Tackle, Sebring; 863-410-2100: Little to report but fishing in the northern lakes of Highlands County remains steady. The pre-dawn and the twilight bite remains the best time to fish.
Mickey’s Bait & Tackle, Moore Haven, Tom, 863-946-3100: The water releases from the lake remain low so the bigger bass have replaced the snook who favor faster moving water. Catfish lovers should find a good bite in the slower moving waters. Along the river’s shoreline bass are also being taken in the various floating vegetation patches. On the Big ‘O’, specks have returned to Fisheating Bay and are taking jigs and live minnows.
The summertime fishing is generally a consistent period of fishing. Fish can be located in the shallows in the morning and then offshore in the afternoons. We’ll be in this pattern until the first of the fall cool fronts start lowering the water temperatures and that is still a few months away. So if you’re new to this area and don’t know how to flip and pitch, it’s time to learn how.
Finally a shout-out to Ron Lucas of Okeechobee Fishing Headquarters and the local fishing community. Last weekend they held the Ashley Carter Memorial Fishing Tournament at Scott Driver Park for the young lady tragically killed in a car accident and with just 1-month’s planning produced a fishing tournament with over 110 boats fishing the event. It’s nice to see the community come together and support their fellow community members in their time of need.