Welcome to the Okeechobee edition of Coastal Angler Magazine. April marks the beginning of spring for us in south central Florida. It was a wacky El Nino fueled winter so let’s hope spring returns us to more seasonable conditions through the coming months.
April also marks the beginning of our snowbird exodus. From all indications it appears to have been a very active season and we wish them save travels on their way back home. We met a lot of new people this year and made a lot of new friends, and we hope to see you next season.
For those of us who live here year round, the next few months will remain some of the best times of the year to get outdoors. Daytime temperatures will remain reasonable, daily thundershowers are still of few months away, the mosquito population is still under control, and the fish will be biting.
In the lakes and streams the bass spawn will be all about over and the bass will be in their post-spawn stage feeding up before the summer heat forces them into the open water and under the vegetation mats. Crappie will be vacating the shallows and be replaced by Shellcrackers (Redear Sunfish) and Bluegils who will begin their spawn. Shellcrackers and Bluegils generally
wait for water temperatures to remain consistently above 70°F which depending on the weather occurs in late March or early April. So if you’re interested in catching the spawn, key in on the lake’s water temperature and the first new and full moons of April. To stay up to speed on the weekly conditions visit us on our website for our weekly Lake Okeechobee fishing report which reaches out to local bait and tackle shops for the latest on lake and fishing conditions.
For local hunters, spring turkey season will be coming to an end in April. In Zone A, areas south of State Road 70, the season ends on April 10th; in Zone C, areas north of State Road 70 except Holmes County, the season ends on April 24th; and in Holmes County you need to hang up the turkey gun on April 3rd. For those who just need to have their time in the woods, wild hog and rabbit remain open year long. As we wait for the 2016 fall hunting season to begin, why not visit one of the many local gun clubs for some trap and skeet shooting or steel challenges. These are great sports to participate in and the range time will improve your marksmanship greatly.
For festival goers, there are still many great outdoor events to look forward to and attend before the summer doldrums are here. You may find yourself travelling a little further than your local community but there are some great events within a 1-2 hour drive.
For women who already enjoy the outdoors or those who want to learn more about the outdoor experience, the National Wild Turkey Federation’s (NWTF) Women in the Outdoors will be holding their annual event at the Quail Creek Plantation on Saturday April 22nd. This year marks their 10th Anniversary and Quail Creek Plantation is just one of our areas jewels in shooting venues. During the one day event classes will be held in archery, birding, backwoods buggy riding, canoeing & kayaking, camping, fly fishing, fire side cooking, handgun safety, self-defense, shotgun sporting clays, and many other fantastic courses. For more information and to register visit www.WomenInTheOutdoorsFL.com.
So as you can see, there is still plenty to do in the great outdoors so get out and explore the best of what our great State has to offer.