Some people take to the woods in cooler weather around here, but many take to the water. More specifically, they take pole and hooks to the water. I didn’t realize until I moved to Florida how popular a sport fishing is. Not only that, it’s about as practical a sport as hunting up north.
It’s not surprising Lake County should be a prime area for freshwater fish. According to one source, the county contains over one thousand lakes. This seems a little overkill, but it is home to the great Lake Harris chain, and plenty of privately owned lakes. If the mood strikes you, here’s what you can expect from some of the major waters in your area.
This 13,788-acre lake can be accessed from several points around Leesburg: from Singletary park, and from the boat ramp in Venetian Gardens. The lake is also big enough to be reached from Taveres’s Hickory Point recreational center for a small fee and from the Lake Harris Lodge fish camp not far from the town.
Several species of Bass can be found in Lake Harris, as well as Catfish, Crappies, Bluegill, and Redear.
This is the central lake in the Harris chain and the most developed, covering almost 8,000 acres, with many canals and tributaries. Three of these canals connect Lake Eustis with the rest of the chain as well. Considering nearly 50,000 area residents live along its shores, it’s perhaps the most easily accessible for fishing from both Tavares and Eustis.
Lake Eustis is best known for its Bass fishing, and is home to the Sunday Palm Gardens Tournaments in that sport. However, anglers can also find Lake Crappies in some of the deeper areas, Catfish, especially as the weather cools down, Trout, Bluegill, and Sunfish.
Smaller, only 4,042 acres, this lake can only be accessed from Marsh Park in the outskirts of Eustis and off of County Road 450 west of Umatilla This lake is reportedly very good for Striped Bass, Crappie, Catfish, and Largemouth Bass.
Not much bigger than Lake Yale, this lake supports the towns of Mount Dora and Tavares, and is perhaps the quietest fishing location. Bass are abundant in its waters, as well as Crappies, Trout, and Bluegill.
This 9,500-acre lake is the end of the Harris Chain, and can be accessed from boat launches in Fruitland Park and Leesburg. As with most of the lakes in this area, Bass fishing is popular along its shores. However, the lake is also home to the usual Crappies, Bluegills, and Catfish.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Bass fishing may pick up in cooler weather. September and October are also prime seasons for Redear Sunfish and Bluegill. They recommend using fish attractors for Redear and looking for Bluegill along the shore near vegetation. Crickets, grass shrimp, or worms on a cane pole are recommended tools and bait.