WEEKLY OKEECHOBEE FISHING REPORT: JULY 22-24

Big O Bass
Big O Bass with Fish Clewiston

FISHING REPORT OVERVIEW

We’re in a period where the summertime weather pattern has established itself and both the weather and the fishing have stabilized. You can expect warm days and afternoon showers to be a daily occurrence and the bass bite to be great in the mornings and then quickly falling off in the heat of the day. Since the afternoon thunderstorms are generally isolated, fishing conditions will be influenced by the influx of these rains. So you can have a great time one day and a poor outing the next if there is a sudden influx of water from these afternoon rains. In and around Highlands County, you’ll notice lake levels are trending upward. With SFWM holding water north of Lake Okeechobee, you’ll notice lake levels rising and shoreline vegetation being submerged and then dieing off. This means those bass holding to this vegetation will be on the move looking for new homes so you need to change up you pattern as well.

Also as a reminder, the Ashley Carter Fishing Tournament presented by Okeechobee Fishing Headquarters in next Saturday, July 30th. Come out to C. Scott Driver Park and join the Okeechobee community in celebrating her life. Visit www.facebook.com/OkeechobeeFishingHeadquarters for more details.

WEATHER OUTLOOK

This weekend looks like it will be a nice boating weekend with Sunday being the best of the three day period. Morning temperatures will start in the low to mid 70’s and climb close to 90°. Expect mid-afternoon storms on Friday and Saturday with a decreasing chance on Sunday. Winds will be generally out of the east at less than 10 mph except near thunderstorms. The barometer will be on a slightly downward trend through Saturday. It will also be taking a roller coaster ride each day with a high period occurring every 12-hours with 11:am and 11:pm being the crest of the ride. Lake waters should be glass-like in the early morning hours. Sunrise on Friday will be at 6:41am and set at 8:16pm. The moon will rise at 10:20pm and set at 9:17am the following morning. The moon will be 91% reflective and waning with the Full Moon being this past Tuesday. The AM:Major of Friday will occur at 1:15am while the PM:Major occurs at 2:17pm. Add a full hour for each consecutive day’s major periods. All-in-all, if you get out early you should have a great weekend of boating and fishing.

WATER LEVELS: 07/20/2016

Lake Okeechobee: 14.66-ft ASL ↓ 0.25-ft
Lake IstokpogaIstokpoga Canal S68: Head 38.34-ft, Tail 31.71-ft, Flow 784 cfs
Arbuckle Creek @ DeSoto: 5.02-ft ↑ 0.50-ft, Flow 1040 cfs,
Fisheating Creek @ US 27: 5.05-ft ↓ 0.05-ft, Flow 419 cfs,
Fisheating Creek @ Lakeport: 14.95 ASL ↓ 0.88-ft Flow 583 cfs,
Peace River @ Zolfo Springs: 8.78-ft ↓ 0.18-ft, Flow 785 cfs
Kissimmee River @ S-65E: Head 20.85-ft, Tail 14.50-ft, Flow 1,351 cfs

Caloosahatchee River
Moore Haven Locks S-77: Head 14.81-ft, Tail 11.19-ft, Flow 284 cfs, 7-Day Avg 1,469 cfs
Ortona Locks S-78: Head 11.25-ft, Tail 2.95-ft, Flow 921 cfs, 7-Day Avg 1,578 cfs
W.P Franklin Lock S-79: Head 3.10-ft, Tail 0.92-ft, Flow 2965 cfs, 7-Day Avg 3,569 cfs

Lake Okeechobee Locks
St Lucie Lock S-80: Head 14.17-ft, Tail 1.30-ft, Flow 160 cfs, 7-Day Avg 664 cfs
Port Mayaca Lock S-308: Head 14.56-ft, Tail 14.09-ft, Flow 475 cfs, 7-Day Avg 862 cfs

Big O Bass, with JP McKay
Big O Bass, with JP McKay

Lake Okeechobee South End

Slim’s Fish Camp, Belle Glade; 561-996-3844: Fishing on the south side of the lake has been pretty good. There is plenty of clean water around so fishing has been steady. Areas like Boy Scout Cut and Bay Bottom are reporting good catches of bass. Lots of fish in the 2-4 lb class taking artificials and wild shiners. It remains an early morning bite with top water and spinner baits being very productive. Bluegills still remain the most active panfish with crickets being the primary bait.

Roland Martin Marine Center, Clewiston; 863-983-2128: The bass bite has been steady though scattered. The mornings remain the best time to fish the lake and once the morning bite is done, start flipping and pitching the reeds and hydrilla patches.

The Bait Shop at Harney Pond, Lakeport; 863-946-0170: The bass bite turned off a bit this past weekend with mostly small fish being taken. As water conditions continue to improve the larger bass will begin to return. Best bet is on the outer edges along the grass lines around Bird Island and along the Northshore. White spinnerbaits are still preforming well in the morning and dragging swimbaits through the grasses once the sun comes up has been productive. Bluegill remain active and there is always catfish to be caught.

Jr Cook, 8.56 lbs., Lake Damon
Jr Cook, 8.56 lbs., Lake Damon

Lake Okeechobee North End

Garrard’s Bait & Tackle, Okeechobee; 863-763-3416: Lief reports fishing remains steady. Wild shiners remain your best bet to boat the larger bass but there are plenty of 2-4 lbers to contend with. The pre-dawn period remains the best time to be on the lake. The artificial bite remains active with frogs and buzz baits working well in the morning. As the day heats up, switching to swim jigs and soft plastic swim baits will produce quality fish.

No Bad Daze Bait & Tackle, Okeechobee; 863-484-8126: Tyler reports the northeast shoreline still producing good numbers of fish. Most are in the 2-4 lb range and they are taking both shiners and artificials. Early morning and early evening seem to be the most productive.

Highlands County

Admiral’s Cove, Laker Placid; 863-465-0982: Ed reports fishing the shallow lakes in south Highlands County has been consistent. The early morning bite is a topwater bite and shifts to a slow moving soft plastic bite in the afternoon. Try dragging a large 10-in or bigger worm through the flooded shorelines to surprise a roaming bass.

Performance Marine, Lake Placid, 863-465-2814: Geoff reports the deeper lakes such as Lake Placid and Lake Clay are producing some quality fish though for some reason Lake June has turned off this past weekend. Fish are holding to deep brush piles and can be picked off by a variety of presentations including drop-shots, Carolina rigs, pegged Texas rigs, deep crank baits and rattle traps. Being the summer go large on the worms. With the deeper lakes establishing solid thermoclines, once you locate the fish, stay within that thermocline. Fishing the shallows of these deeper lakes produce mostly smaller fish.

Lorida Bait & Tackle, Lorida; 863-655-2323: Scott reports Lake Istokpoga has been up and down and scattered when on. The recent Xtreme Bass Tournament produced a winning bag weight of 27 lbs which is nice but the bag weighs quickly fell off of that. So some anglers are finding fish while others are struggling. Still there are quality fish to be caught. Recent rains have caused the lake level to come up a bit and SFWM is limiting the release of water so shoreline vegetation conditions are changing. Action near the spillway remains steady.

GS Outdoors, formerly Tall Tales Bait & Tackle, Sebring; 863-402-2100: Fishing in the Avon Park area remains steady. The deeper lakes remain more consistent than the shallower lakes. Many of these lakes have micro-watersheds so afternoon rains can have a big impact on any individual lake on a day to day basis. Generally it’s a morning bite especially in the shallows. Once the temperatures start to climb the fish move out of the shallows and don’t return until the water cools during the night. Topwater baits like frogs are very effective on these lakes.

Caloosahatchee River

Mickey’s Bait & Tackle, Moore Haven, 863-946-3100: The Corps have reduced the discharges into the river which has slowed the activity at the spillways. In some cases with less water moving, more bass are being found in the slower moving current. Still the water is pretty murky and stained so it can be a tough bite. Further down the river it’s too early for shoreline vegetation to reappear but it won’t take long if flows remain low.

IN-CLOSING

Summer fishing is in full swing. Get out early and follow the weather. Isolated gully washers will impact local lakes and stream differently. Be open to moving around according to the conditions.

As a reminder, The Ashley Carter Fishing Tournament presented by Okeechobee Fishing headquarters is next weekend on July 30th at C. Scott Driver Park. For those who may not know, Ashely was a member of the OFHQ staff and Okeechobee fishing community and she was killed in an auto accident just 4 days after she graduated high school. So this event is to celebrate her life and to raise funds for her family and some of Ashley’s favorite charities. So come out and join the Okeechobee community in honor of Ashley.

Ashley Carter Charity Fishing Tournament
Ashley Carter Charity Fishing Tournament
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