Freshwater Fishing

By: Peyten Palo

Tackle a REEL Experience

Our abundant sunshine, pleasant temperatures and numerous lakes make Polk County a year-round prime fishing destination for hardcore anglers, outdoor enthusiasts, and those looking to land a 10+ pound trophy bass.

Fishing License

Stop by a local marina or bait and tackle shop to get a fishing licence, or visit Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s website:

One of the Top Freshwater Fishing Destinations in the World

It’s not just our region’s more than 550 lakes that occupy over 135 square miles that draw fishing enthusiasts to Polk County; it’s also the diversity of freshwater habitats and the variety of fish species that inhabit area waterways that keep em’ coming back for more. It’s not difficult to understand why we earn consistent recognition as one of the top freshwater fishing destinations in the world.

TMC Guide Services

TMC Guide Services

The best known and most popular game fish in the world – The Largemouth Bass – just so happens to be Florida’s state freshwater fish. The title “Largemouth Bass Capital of the World” is a testament to the king of the Polk County waters, the Largemouth Black Bass. Our temperate climate not only produces an abundance of largemouth bass, but allows them to reach impressive sizes.

A 17.27 Pound Largemouth Bass

Polk County is home to the state’s certified record Florida Largemouth Bass, which tipped the scales at an impressive 17.27 pounds. As a matter of fact, five of the top 15 bass fishing lakes ranked by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are located in Polk County.

The Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, Tenoroc Fish Management Area, Mosaic Fish Management Area and the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes regularly produce catches of 10+ pound bass. The Kissimmee Chain of Lakes produced two B.A.S.S. all-time records: Dean Rojas’ record five bass limit weight of 45 pounds, 2 ounces (which still stands today) and the then-record four-day catch of 108 pounds and 12 ounces, caught during the 2006 Bassmaster Classic.

Freshwater Fishing in Central Florida

Freshwater Fishing in Central Florida

Insider Fishing Tip

Although they don’t receive as much recognition as the previously mentioned lakes in Polk County, Crooked Lake and Lake Weohyakapka (known as Lake Walk-in-Water) are well known by many local anglers for producing high quality Largemouth Bass. As a matter of fact, in 2015 anglers fishing Lake Walk-in-Water landed three Largemouth Bass over 15 pounds.

We’ve Got More than Largemouth Bass

In addition to Largemouth bass, Polk County produces quality bluegill, crappie, bream, sunshine bass, catfish, gar, tilapia and chain pickerel. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission includes a high percentage of Polk County lakes in their rankings of top fisheries for specific species. Six of our lakes are in their top 13 lakes for crappie, and four Polk County lakes are listed in the FWC’s top 14 bream lakes. Many of the top largemouth bass lakes also rank highly in quality crappie and bream production including Lake Weohyakapka, Tenoroc Fish Management Area, Mosaic Fish Management Area, the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes and the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes.

During various times of year, different species will be most active, so plan to try an array of different fishing tackle and try out a variety of techniques until you find a pattern that consistently catches fish.

Kayak Fishing in Central Florida

Kayak Fishing in Central Florida

Accessibility to the Water

Accessibility to fishing is not an issue in Polk County as there are over 115 boat ramps (1/5 of all the public ramps in Florida) that provide direct access to our waters. More than 15 area guide services, including TMC Guide Service, provide great insights and keep their clients “on fish,” and numerous locally owned and operated bait and tackle shops provide a wide variety of equipment and local advice.

Fish Camp Vacations

One very unique way to experience all of the best fishing Polk County has to offer is to stay at a local fish camp. A dozen fish camps are located in Polk County including Camp Mack, A Guy Harvey Lodge, Marina & RV Resort, Grape Hammock, Cherry Pocket, Camp Lester, Bannon’s Fish Camp or Jennings Resort. Most of our fish camps allow for you to stay in cabins/rooms right on the shores of your favorite lake. Imagine waking up and realizing you are only steps from your docked boat, or have your fishing guide meet you at the dock. Now that’s convenience!

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