Visibility: 18 inches
Water temperature at mid-day: 79 Degrees F
Water condition: Clear
Best time of day to fish: Afternoon
Best access point:
Fly fishing hatches in order of importance:
Hatches are slim, but damselfly nymphs are subsurface. Watch for Damsels to hatch soon. With the warm season, the mayfly hatch is coming.
Fish species: Largemouth Bass, Panfish, Crappie, Gar, Grass Carp
Fishing season: Year Round
Nearest airport: Orlando International Airport
Recommended fly fishing leader: 9 Foot Leader
Recommended fly fishing tippet: 2X Tippet
Best fly fishing rod: 9' 6 Weight Fly Rod
Best floating fly line: Freshwater Bass WF Fly Line
Best sinking fly line: Class V Sink Tip Fly Line
The Winter Haven Chain of Lakes is a large group of around 60 different lakes located midway between Orlando and Tampa. A little less than an hours drive from either one of these metro areas you can find access via boat ramps on about a dozen of the lakes many of which are connected by a canal system allowing boaters into most all the lakes during higher water.
Most of the lakes are shallow ...
and bowl shaped surrounded by Cypress trees which give them their stained tannic appearance. Aquatic plants provide cover for forage fish and their bigger predators. The lakes on the chain are home to Largemouth Bass, Crappie, and several other species of panfish all very willing to take a fly.
There is lots of action in the lily pads for bluegill. The grass shrimp are late, but happening right now. While there are still some tilapia on the bed, we are post spawn for bass. Again, Smaller bass 10"-16" are cruising weedlines, and in general, are in deeper water again. Deep diving Clouser minnows are reliable, but use a smaller size for these fish. While we normally use size 2, but have found size 6 to be best this week. Bluegill are taking clousers too.
Mild days are producing some spectacular sunset fishing. With cool mornings and warm afternoons, move your fishing day towards afternoons and evenings, instead of sunrise. Dragon flies and damsel flies are beginning to appear, so try those adult patterns, or try some nymph versions. Weighted wooly bugger is a great version of this.