Welcome to the January Edition

Welcome to the January issue of the Okeechobee edition of Coastal Angler Magazine. We hope you had a great set of Holidays and are ready to use all those great outdoor gifts you received from Santa and his elves.

For fishermen we start the year off in great shape. With a year ending dry-spell, Mother Nature has helped the local lakes recover from a year’s worth of high water. With a little help from falling water levels, spawning bass will move out of the deep back country and be more available for us fishermen. The key to the winter months is to watch the weather and be flexible in your patterns. Bass and crappie will be keying on favorable conditions and will move accordingly, so once you find them you need to make note of the conditions for that day.

For Snook fishermen, the Snook harvest remains closed for both the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico regions. On the Atlantic side the season will open on February 1st, per 2016 regulations, while the west-coasters will have to wait until March. As a reminder, Lake Okeechobee resides in the Atlantic management region while the Caloosahatchee River west of the lake falls under Gulf Coast regulations. In both cases, you’ll need a saltwater license and a Snook stamp to harvest a Snook during the season.

Hunting in our area will be a mixed bag since we’re on the border of Zones ‘B’ and ‘C’. In Zone ‘A’ the area south and west of Lake Okeechobee, general gun season for deer closed on January 1st. In Zone ‘C’, the areas north of Route 70 west of Lake Okeechobee and Route 441 east of Lake Okeechobee, the general gun season for antlered deer remains open. Fall turkey in both Zone ‘A’ and ‘C’ also closed on January 1st. For waterfowlers, the winter duck season remains open until January 29th. For all hunters, consult the FWC website for the latest in hunting regulations, zones maps and seasonal dates.

For those who like outdoor community events, this is a great time of year. County fairs are in full swing and there are plenty of outdoor concerts, arts and craft events and food festivals to attend. All you need to do is push back those New Year’s Diet Resolutions a month or two and have a good time. Consult the Community Events page within this magazine for a sampling of what’s waiting for you to do.

Finally, for those of you that just want to sit back, relax and enjoy one of our wonderful sunsets, winter is the season for you. Warm days, cool nights and the great company of our northern friends makes these next few months the best of Florida living. So get outside and enjoy the best of what Florida has to offer.