Bass anglers across the country know Florida for one thing, BIG BASS! Countless bass fishing tournaments occur across the Sunshine State, meaning some lakes are heavily pressured, but other overlooked lakes are also worth hitting up.
There’s a reason so many other states are stocking Florida-strain bass into their lakes. They grow to trophy sizes. The following lakes are not only where monster bass live but also lakes where you can catch a lot of bass.
If you’re coming from out of state, there’s a decent chance most Florida waterways will be better fishing than your local lakes and ponds. This is partly due to the mild weather during the state's winter; bass have more time to grow here than in other parts of the country.
However, like anywhere else, there are hotspots in Florida that produce more and bigger bass than the average body of water in the state. Some of the best lakes in the state are:
If you’ve heard of one lake in Florida, it was probably Lake Okeechobee. It is the trophy bass fishing capital of the state because it produces so many quality fish. Many professional tournaments visit this lake yearly because of the exceptional bass fishing opportunities.
However, that also means this lake is heavily pressured by anglers who know how to get bass to bite, which means the bass in Okeechobee are smart. That’s why many guides on the lake use live bait for trophy bass.
Artificial lures still work, but sometimes it takes thinking a little out of the box to get the big bass to bite.
The Harris Chain of Lakes is very different than most natural Florida shallow lakes. It doesn’t have the same obvious cover that other lakes like Okeechobee have, so some might find it more challenging to fish.
If you’re up for the challenge, then be prepared to catch 4-5lbers regularly, and 10-11 pounders are not unheard of at Harris.
Though it fishes differently than most Florida lakes, it still offers plenty of opportunities to the average angler to catch a trophy-sized bass. Unless you’re familiar with the lake, it’s wise to hire a local guide to show you where to fish and how to catch them.
Despite being well known for producing lots of big bass, Lake Toho is still one of the best places to catch a bass over 10lbs in the country.
Yes, it’s fished heavily by tournament anglers, but the bass population continues to thrive. This means there are still more than enough chances for the average angler to land a true giant.
Live bait offers anglers the best opportunity to catch fish; however, artificial lures catch countless largemouth out of Lake Toho yearly.
If you’re overwhelmed by the amount of water, hiring a guide that knows the lake will help increase your chances of catching a bass of a lifetime.
It’s claimed that artificial lures work just as well as live bait at Lake Istokpoga, so if you prefer artificial bait, then this is your lake.
As with most lakes in Florida, early spring and summer are the best times of the year to fish. It’s not uncommon for tournament anglers to have a bag over 30lbs during these times. This means the bass they caught averaged 6lbs with a 5-fish limit.
Lake Istokpoga is clearly a trophy bass lake where anglers of all skill levels can head out to and catch big bass, whether with a local guide or venture out on their own.
An excellent fishing location for most of the year, Lake Tarpon once held the Florida state largemouth record despite being a small lake compared to others in Florida.
Most of the bass now caught are in the 4-10lb range, so there’s no denying this lake still offers all anglers ample opportunity of catching a bass of a lifetime despite being in a suburban area.
Hiring a guide for the day will help you figure the lake out much quicker than tackling it on your own. However, if you’re an experienced angler, this small lake isn’t difficult to break down and discover where the bass are hiding.
Knowing the general freshwater fishing regulations is wise before heading out to the water. It’s also important to remember that bass fishing regulations can change depending on your fishing location.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will set general rules for anglers, and local authorities can add to those laws to help keep their fish populations healthy.
While the general fishing regulations stay the same each year, some nuances change each year, and every angler should be aware of those to avoid unnecessary violations.
You can find the summary of Florida's freshwater fishing rules and regulations online.
Florida is home to many species of bass. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission keeps track of the largest bass caught in the state. These records have to be certified by a Florida Fish and Wildlife representative.
So if you land a lunker and think it might be the new state record get ahold of a game warden so they can point you in the right direction!
Updated on January 4, 2023
March 8, 2022
January 7, 2022
April 26, 2022
October 26, 2020
January 19, 2021
December 15, 2022