If you’re an avid fisherman, you’ve likely heard all the buzz about the trophy bass lurking in Florida’s phosphate pits, but with most pits being on private property there is often no way to access these “Honey Holes.” Lucky for you, a $3.00 use fee allows you access to one of Central Florida’s best kept fishing secrets, Tenoroc Fish Management Area.
The limited access and catch and release fishing practices at Tenoroc mean their lakes yield some of the best catch rates in the state. But you can just tell your friends you’re THAT good. Your secret is safe with us.
Fishing the Phosphate Pits
Located just northeast of Lakeland, Tenoroc’s 7,300-acres is home to 14 reclaimed phosphate pit lakes that range in size from seven to 227 acres and contain more than 30 species of fish. Managed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Tenoroc Fish Management Area is also home to a competition certified shooting sports ranch, sporting clays course, archery range, hiking trails and is a gateway to the Great Florida Birding Trail.
6 Reasons You Should Fish Tenoroc
Florida’s Top 10 Lakes for Largemouth Bass
Recognized annually as one of Florida’s Top 10 Lakes for Largemouth Bass (by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission), Tenoroc Fish Management Area is known to produce prolific numbers of bass in addition to the quality size and weight of bass caught. Residual phosphate left in the pits after mining fertilizes the pit’s ecosystem, which in turn produces higher-than-normal growth rates for bass and other fish species.
Low Fishing Pressure, No Crowds, and No Boat and Watercraft Traffic
In our opinion, any day spent on the water is a good day, but if we had describe a bad day of fishing it would be one where the fish don’t bite, and there are too many boats and jet skis on the water. We’ve never experienced one of these days at Tenoroc. Their per-lake boat quotas are enforced during check-in and you choose the lake you’ll be fishing. It’s not uncommon to be one of only four or five boats out on your chosen lake the whole day. Pair low boat quotas with motor restrictions and the fact that lakes are only open Friday through Monday, and it’s no wonder the fish at Tenoroc bite – they do not experiences fishing pressure.
ADA Accessible Lakes
Two of Tenoroc’s lakes, Derby Lake and Pasture Lake, are handicap accessible. Each lake has elevated fishing platforms that are connected by asphalt and wooden paths, which allow guests to get closer to the water with their wheelchair or scooter.
*Fishing platforms may be closed due to low water. Call ahead to confirm they are open: 863-499-2422.
Fishing Forecasts and Helpful Staff
Want to know how the fish are biting before you head out? We don’t blame you. Luckily, the fishery biologists at Tenoroc will be happy to provide you with an up-to-date fishing forecast. Just give them a call Friday through Monday, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. at 863-499-2422.
Family-Friendly Bank Fishing
Tenoroc’s Derby Lake and Picnic Lake are family friendly favorites that have pavilion areas, grills and restrooms. They offer great bank fishing opportunities for bass, catfish and panfish for all members of your family, no matter their age.
Kids Only Fishing Lake
It’s true. Tenoroc’s Derby Lake has low rails on its dock to accommodate younger children, and the lake is surrounded by bank fishing opportunities so kids will have a fun day hauling in their catch.
One of Tenoroc’s most popular events is the Annual Kid’s Fishing Derby, which is held around Easter and draws kids and their families from across Central Florida.