Welcome to the March Issue

Welcome to the Okeechobee edition of Coastal Angler Magazine. Though March in south-central Florida is typically a transition period from Winter into Spring, with this being an El Nino year, who knows what Mother Nature has in store for us, most likely more rain.

In the local fishing scene the big story is the high water level in all the lakes. Many of us have seen recording setting rainfall during this winter’s ‘dry’ season and this has impacted the fishing and the spawning of all local fish populations. Lake Okeechobee with its aging dike system is especially vulnerable to high water levels and has been discharging excess water to both coasts. Though there are few remaining alternatives, it doesn’t make very good relations with our neighbors to the east or west.

If March’s weather holds true to form, lake temperatures will be on the rise and the local spawn will be in force so bass, speck, shell cracker, and bluegill fishing should all be excellent. Let’s not forget our local alligator population which will be gearing up for their annual mating season. Depending on the weather, the courtship period can begin in late March and run through April with mating taking place in May and June. During this courtship phase, randy male alligators will be more active and moving about in search of a mate so don’t be surprised if they show up in strange places or spotted crossing the local streets.

For hunters, March brings the return of the Spring Turkey season. Just be aware of your location in reference to the State Road 70 borderline. South of State Road 70 the season runs from March 5th to April 10th with the youth hunt being Feb 27-28th. To the north of State Road 70, the regular season runs from March 19th to April 24th. For those in Holmes County the season runs from March 19th to April 3rd.The bag limit for turkey is two per day as well as per season and possession. For folks in Holmes County the bag and season limit is one turkey. As for hunting Quail and Gray Squirrels the season ends on March 6th. As always, check with the FWC at, www.MyFWC.com/hunting, to verify hunting zones, dates, and restrictions.

For event goers March is the last big push for major outdoor events before the snowbirds begin to leave. In Okeechobee the County Fair and the Speckled Perch Festival are must attend events. In Arcadia the rodeo is this month and there is the Chalo Nikta Rodeo and Festival in Moore Haven. In Sebring there is that great in field party at the 12-hrs of Sebring to attend on March 16th. For move events remember to check the Community Events page within this magazine.

March is a wonderful time of year to be enjoying the great outdoors of south-central Florida, so take advantage of it before the heat, humidity, and mosquitos return.