South Florida Lakes

Rules for South Florida Lakes: Bag limit 5 bass under 14 inches in total length only one bass may be 14 inches in total length or longer.

The Everglades

The Everglades; Monroe, Collier, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, and Broward counties:-is nearly 6,000 square miles making it the largest freshwater system in Florida. The Florida Everglades extend from Lake Okeechobee on the north to Florida Bay on the south and includes the Ten Thousand Islands area.

This has to be the best kept secret in Florida. When you consider names like Okeechobee, Kissimmee, East and West Toho and Lake Weohyakapka (Walk-in-Water) plus a few others, how many would have named The Florida Everglades as the number one bass fishing spot in Florida? I believe part of this is the tendency to put more emphasis on the big Florida lakes that draw the major tournaments. This draws the attention of the press to write the bulk of their articles on these lakes. South Florida Lakes Region A special bass fishing regulation is in affect in South Florida lakes, including the Everglades Conservation Areas, where only one bass of the five-bass daily bag limit may be 14 inches or longer. This gives anglers the opportunity to harvest smaller bass, but still prevents over-harvest of fish over 14 inches in total length.

During the peak season, your chances of catching bass in Everglades L-67A canal are 8 times greater than any of the other Florida lakes. The average catch rate for bass is 2.0 per hour while the statewide average catch rate is about 0.25 bass per hour or one bass every four hours. The time for catching numbers is from late fall through the spring months when water levels drop and bass pull off of the flats and become concentrated in the canals. Peak fishing occurs in April when angler catch rates climbs even higher to 4.1 bass per hour. The L-67A and L-35B are two popular canals in the area for fishing. The L-67A Canal has access at the north end at Holiday Park, off U.S. 27. At the south end, it is accessible at the S-333 water control structure off Tamiami Trail (S.R. 41). The L-35B Canal access is at Sawgrass Recreation Area, off of U.S. 27. In these areas you’ll find boat ramps, camping and boat rentals available.

This is a map of south Florida showing all of the South Florida lakes and areas maintained by South Florida Water Management District including all the canals. Looking at Broward county and the WCA 3 section you’ll see 2 parallel blue line. By Blowing up the map you can read the blue text and see that the one to the left or west is the L-67A canal.

This is an illustrated map provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) of the L-67A canal with GPS coordinates for the eight maintained Marsh Access Trails that provide access to the flats areas. Combine this with a map of Florida and you’ll see how U.S. 27 takes you to Holiday Park and access to the L-67A canal. U.S. 27 runs north and south through the heart of Florida. Traveling south on U.S. 27, you’ll skirt the southwest corner of Lake Okeechobee, through Clewiston, South Bay and on down across I-75 to the Everglades. U.S. 27 intersects Griffin Rd., which traveling west, takes you to Holiday Park and access to the L-67A Canal.

Warning! Because of high mercury levels measured in predator fish, people are advised against eating any largemouth bass in many areas of the Everglades by the Department of Health. Nonetheless, if you’re in it for the sport and just enjoy catching numbers and a chance at a big fish, when it come to Florida Lakes, the Glades is the place to be from November through June.

No matter how fast or slow the fishing happens to be, it’s hard not to be in awe of your surroundings. The Everglades are home to such rare and endangered species as the American crocodile, Florida panther, manatee, brown pelican, southern bald eagle, and loggerhead turtle. Of course if you’re not fishing along the coastal areas you’ll not see all of these critters. Alligators are common, and fast at close range, but human attacks are extremely rare. But do look out for diamondback and pygmy rattlers, water moccasins, and coral snakes. It is also home to 347 species of birds, including anhingas, Cape Sable sparrows, great white herons, white ibis, short tailed hawk, roseate spoonbills, purple gallinules, and sand hill cranes. Exotic plants include ferns, orchids, and bromeliads. The most common plant is the deceptively graceful sawgrass that bare sharp teeth on the edges of their leaves. Combine these with the backdrop of marshlands, grasslands, slash pine, mangroves, and both dwarf and rare great bald cypress, some of which are up to 700 years old.

Fish Management Areas

In the South Florida lakes region the Fish Management Areas (FMA) provide many conveniences and amenities and are conveniently located near large population centers.

Caloosa Park Lake; Palm Beach County: 4 acres

  • All black bass must be released immediately.

Lake Okeeheelee; Palm Beach County: 150 acres

  • All black bass must be released immediately.

The northern most Tropical Park Lake; Miami-Dade County:

  • All black bass must be released immediately.

Plantation Heritage Park Lake; Broward County: 6 acres

  • All black bass must be released immediately.

Tropical Park Lake; Dade County: 12 acres

Palm Lake Fish Management Area; St. Lucie County:

South Florida Lakes

Lake Osborne; Palm Beach County:-is a 356-acre lake located in Palm Beach County. Lake Osborne is the largest and the namesake of the Osborne Chain of Lakes. Aquatic vegetation consists of cattail, spatterdock, and hydrilla. Nine fish attractors have been constructed on the lake and are marked with buoys. Fish species include largemouth bass, sunshine bass, black crappie, bluegill, redear sunfish, catfish, and Mayan cichlids.

Lake Ida; Palm Beach County:is a 159 acre body of water included in the “Osborne Chain-of-Lakes,” a series of inter-connected lakes located in eastern Palm Beach County. Sunshine bass were first introduced into Lake Osborne in 1974, and are restocked annually in both Ida and Osborne. Two smaller lakes in the chain, Clarke (35 acres)and Pine (15 acres) are also restocked each year.

Lake Catherine; Palm Beach County:-is a 10 acre lake and the smallest of the Osborne Chain.

Lake Trafford; Collier County:-1,500 acre lake. Aquatic vegetation consists of cattail, spatterdock, and hydrilla. Fish species include largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, redear sunfish, and large brown bullheads.

Also visit this Florida Wildlife Commission PDF that goes into great detail describing the Florida lakes that include Lake Okeechobee the Everglades and fish management lakes in Florida’s Southern Region. Interested in Butterfly Peacock Bass? You’ll find a map of the canal system in Dade County that describes the best areas to fish for these exotics.

In this PDF you’ll also find:

  • South Region: Popular fishing areas
  • Accommodations guide to fish camps and other access points
  • Fishing tips: A guide to fishing Florida lakes
  • The sport fishery of the Everglades
  • Fish identification
  • and more…

To get specific information on the Florida fishing lakes in the south region, visit the FWC’s search for detailed information on all the rules, regulations and bag limits for each species of fish by lake, river or fish management area. Simply type the lake you’re looking for in the search box and see several pages of information on that particular lake.

Return from South Florida Lakes to Florida Fishing Rules 2007-2008