The Fab Five Fishing Lakes in Orlando

Justin Schiffman
Orlando bass fishing

When you think about the state of Florida, what do you think? You think Disney, oranges, and beaches, right? These are some things that Florida is most known for, but another thing Florida is known for is fishing. Florida is considered to be the sportfishing capital of the world to some people and for very good reason. This massive state is home to a bunch of world class fisheries. One particularly special fishery that Central Florida can call its own is freshwater bass fishing. In 1971 and 2001 the biggest bass fishing tournament in the world was held here in Orlando on Lake Tohopekaliga. If that doesn’t say a lot about fishing in Central Florida, then I don’t know what will. Lots of other fish species thrive here, so it’s not only just about bass fishing. We have fish that are good to eat and we have fish that are just fun to fight for the sport.

These five lakes are the ones you need to know about if you plan on fishing in Orlando.

1. Clear Lake 

Clear Lake here in Central Florida is all about taking home fresh fish for dinner. The Florida Fish and Wildlife commission labels this lake as a catching and keeping lake for hybrid striped bass. They encourage anglers to keep what you catch. That is what this lake is stocked every year for. Clear lake is also located relatively close to downtown Orlando for those not wanting to travel far. This lake has an abundance of shad for the bass to eat so they can grow fast. You are allowed 20 fish per person per day with no specific size limit. There are also other fish to catch such as largemouth bass, channel catfish, and black crappie, all of which are excellent eating as well. These fish have their own specific regulations that are always changing. If you need to know the regulations for these fish just visit myfwc.com

2. Lake Ivanhoe 

Lake Ivanhoe is another popular lake located in the heart of downtown Orlando. This lake is even visible from I-4 and therefore attracts a lot of anglers. Although there are a lot of anglers fishing here, it doesn’t take away from the lure of this lake. It's not unheard of to have 8-10lb fish coming out of this lake. If you know what you’re doing when it comes to hunting trophy largemouth, then you have a shot at landing a monster bass. For those who are not so into “chasing giants”, this lake still has plenty to offer you. Using common lures like jerk baits and plastic worms will do you just fine if you’re just looking for a little bit of fishing fun. If you’re looking to keep a largemouth bass, they have to be a minimum of 14 inches and the bag limit is 5 fish per person per day. You are only allowed one fish over 22 inches in length. 

3. Starke Lake

This lake is for all the people who are staying on the Universal/Disney side of town. Out of these 5 lakes, this lake is the most angler friendly out of them all. Starke Lake is located right near Lakeshore park. This park has a bunch of amenities that include a two-lane boat ramp, a fishing pier (which is stocked up on bait every Tuesday and Thursday by the city), and outdoor bathrooms. Some fish and wildlife biologists call this lake a “bass factory”. The abundance of fish is the reasoning behind the nickname. The same rules and regulations apply at this lake like every other lake in Florida. 

4. Turkey lake

No there is not a significant reason why It’s called Turkey Lake, but this lake has been featured in BASSMASTER magazine once or twice. The location of this lake could not be in a better spot because it is only a few minutes away from the only Bass Pro Shops in Orlando. A bass lake right by a bass fishing superstore it couldn’t get any better right? That’s where you’re wrong. With help from the city of Orlando and FWC, you can rent aluminum bass boats for only $32 a day. Yes, only $32 a day to rent a bass boat for an amazing bass fishing lake. The boats come equipped with a live well, trolling motor, depth finder, and an anchor.  Here you will find plenty of average size largemouth going from 1-4lbs but the 10lb monsters are not unheard of either. 

5. Lake Underhill

I have saved the best lake for last and that is the infamous Lake Underhill. Many Orlando natives know this lake as that big lake off the 408 right by the airport. But what many people don't know is that this lake is a hidden treasure for catching trophy largemouth bass. There is plenty of buzz about this lake and the very large creatures that anglers pull out of it. If you’ve come to Florida for that trophy fish then this lake is it. Catching really large bass can be frustrating and tedious, but if you have the patience for it, it is all worth it in the end. Live shads are usually the bait of choice for these monsters, but they are really expensive. Many local tackle shops charge almost $10 for a dozen baits. But is it really worth it? Yes, it most certainty is I personally have done it once or twice.