Archive Reports January 15th to April 8th - 2007

 
Captain Mike Shellen Report- Apr 7th, 2007:

 

The Big O is dropping faster and faster each week, we are getting very close to having no place to launch! More and more of our local ramps are either getting to shallow or have a huge hole at the end of the ramp from power loading. It is hard to put a time line on exactly when our local ramps will no longer be of use, but I will do my best to keep you updated on the situation.

 

The ramps at Okeetantie now have a sign posted at the end of the ramps where the hole starts, but they already are to shallow to safely launch and load anything but a small aluminum boat, your boat and or skeg will hit the concrete possibly doing damage to your rig. The ramps at Scott driver are okay to get your boat off of the trailer but access to the lake is very shallow, the water is 16 to 18 inches deep unless we have a north wind and then it is even less. J&S canal public ramp has a hole at the end and I received a report that a bass boat got stuck over the end of the ramp and did some damage to the trailer. The ramp at Indian Prairie is very, very steep and there is a big deep hole at the end of the ramp that will claim your trailer if you get to far back. Harney Ponds ramps are still okay to launch but, that is subject to change at any moment.

 

The best fishing news is coming from blue gill fishermen, the big blue gill and occasional shellcracker are biting in all of the local canals as well as the Kissimmee River. Cichlids are being caught also; I cant help but wonder how long it will be before these aggressive intruders start to impact other fisheries? The bait of choice seems to be a cricket dangled under a small bobber with a tiny split shot pinched on the line. Red worms and or grass shrimp will work at times also, but finding grass shrimp can be rather tough.

 

Drought has lowered the lake and canals. click here for photos.


 

Captain Mike's Blog.


Okeechobee Fishing Headquarters


Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League

2007 Okeechobee Tournament Schedule


Okeechobee & Florida Bass Tournaments

Captain Mike Shellen Report- Apr 1st, 2007:

 

There is no good news when it comes to the Lake and the huge community that depends on it for its livelihood.

Lake Okeechobee continues to fall with each passing day, the rate of fall was 6 inches every thirty days, but this last month saw the lake drop nearly 9 inches, and we can expect the lake to continue to plummet. The chance of an all time low being reached by the lake is very real. In May 2001 the lake reached its all time low of 8.97 feet, we could quite easily surpass that mark and then some.

The one bright spot has been the blue gill bite, all of the local canals, and the river have big gills spawning near or on the bank in the shallow water. Blue gill can be caught on red worms, crickets and of course a grass shrimp. Most people fish their bait under a small bobber with a tiny split show pinched on the line to weigh the bait down.

The big question a boater has to ask himself now is not where are we going to launch our boat? But where can we launch our boat? The water dropping each day brings new factors into play about the local ramps. Okeetantie has posted signs at the end of the ramps which have gotten so shallow it is nearly impossible to load your boat onto your trailer without tearing up your lower unit and or prop. As the weeks pass more and more ramps will become unsafe fro launching your boat, we will try to keep you aware of where they are and let you know where you can still launch your boat safely.

 

 

Captain Mike Shellen Report- Mar 25th, 2007:

 

The big lake continues to drop, lower and lower each day, if the lake continues to drop at this rate a lot of the local ramps now in use will soon be unusable. I am going to research what ramps are still being used, and which ones are closed, or getting close to being closed, and will have more info in next weeks fishing column.

The crappie fishing has slowed considerably with the warmer water temperatures, the full moon trigger a spawn, but we will not know that for sure till later in this week. The biggest problem we have with speck fishing is the liberal bag limits. Too long we have let everyone take too many fish and of any size, it is time for the FWC to change the regulations and toughen them up, a 10 inch size limit and a 10 fish limit would be a good start. I see many people fishing every day and know that a lot of people never release any fish, even though undersized. We also need more officers on the water to put some bite into regulating those that choose to circumvent the law.

Blue gill are starting to show up on the bank looking for a place to spawn. I have seen quite a few people fishing and catching gills in Harney Pond, J&S is another hot spot as well. The bait of choice is a cricket with a small split shot and a little bobber.

Bass fishing is still good, we fished the lake one day this week and lucked into an area of schooling bass, we caught 35 fish on artificial baits in a very short time, they would eat nearly any bait that was thrown at them. Shiner fishing is still good, when the outside grass line can be gotten to, there are a lot of fish are hanging out there waiting to bite.

 

 

Captain Mike Shellen Report- Mar 18th, 2007:

 

 Once again this week the wind dictated where and when the lake could be fished. We were able to fish the lake a couple of days with the wind blowing 10 mph out of the southeast and we caught a lot of fish on the grass line. Several others days we had 20 to 30 mph winds out of the north which blew 8 to 10 inches of water toward the south end of the lake, making area on the north end to shallow to access. When the lake can be accessed bass can be caught on the outside grass line, on the north shore bass can be seen chasing busting small shad in the grass and the outside edges. Horny toads, flukes, and other plastics will all work in this situation. More than one report has been made of fish schooling and 40 to 60 fish being caught in a short time, reportedly these fish would hit nearly any bait put in front of them, my kind of fishing.

The River and canals are still being fished heavily and good catch rates are coming in from places that were previously lightly fished. The lake is under 11 feet and going down quickly. It is only a matter of time before some of the ramps that access local canals and the river will no longer be accessible.

Crappies are still being caught in the river and canals surrounding the lake, minnows are still the number one fish catcher, but jig fishermen are catching fish too. I have not seen anyone catching limits of crappie, but am receiving reports of catches between 10 to 15 fish per outing.

The blue gill and shell cracker have not made a strong showing yet, but their arrival is anticipated any time now, with the full moon April 1st the catching of these species is imminent.

 

 
Captain Mike Shellen Report- Mar 11th, 2007:


The lake is hovering around the 11 foot mark, which makes it very difficult to access without tearing up your boat and equipment. In spite of the low water bass fishing is still very good. J&S canal has been a hot spot for artificial bait fishermen wanting to catch a few bass. J&S canal can no longer be reached from the lake the water is too shallow to even troll in. The canals and Kissimmee River continue to be fished very hard, not just for bass but for crappie and blue gill as well. The intense pressure has to take its toll on the fishing. A lot of the local pan fishermen who are unable to catch enough crappie or bluegill are making trips down highway 27 to the everglades to catch Oscars and cichlids, these fish are prolific and can be caught quite easily, I have had reports of 100 or more being caught in a short morning trip. It is a long way to go to fish but the catching is good.

 

Local resident Koby Kreiger won the Stren Series event on Lake Eufala this past week making him the winningest angler in (Everstart) Stren Series history. Koby stormed from behind on the final day catching nearly a 20 pound bag to take the event by nearly 3 pounds. With contingencies from Ranger and other his winnings were announced at $70,500.

 

Captain Mike's Blog.


Okeechobee Fishing Headquarters


Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League

2007 Okeechobee Tournament Schedule


 

 

Captain Mike Shellen Report- Mar 5th, 2007:

The arrival of March has brought us plenty of warm, stable weather that has the water temperature pushing into the low seventies. The warm water temperatures paired with the full moon has sent bass scurrying onto their spawning beds. Big fish can be literally seen in the shallow clear water of the lake. The only draw back has been the wind and its ever changing direction and speed, one day from the north, the next from the west, and then the next day out of the southeast. Several anglers have found them selves unable to get back into Harney Pond after launching their boats there in the morning and then the wind switches mid-morning blowing enough water out of the area that it can no longer be accessed by boat.

Be very careful where you run in the lake, it is at a very dangerous level, and many areas are at the mercy of the wind as to whether they are fishable or not. The same situation exist in the J&S canal a west wind will push enough water in that direction that a boater can easily get into the canal, but if the wind switches the same boat may not be able to get out of the canal back into the lake.

The bass fishing has been very good, artificial baits are catching a lot of fish in nearly every area of the lake. Horny Toads, flappin shad, speed worms, trick worms, and a variety of other plastics are all taking good numbers of fish. Lipless crank baits are also accounting for good numbers of fish as well, while deep diving crank baits have cooled off some what, simply because the fish have moved toward the bank. Every tournament held this weekend took fifteen to sixteen pounds to win, not good by Okeechobee standards but considered wonderful every where else!

We are spoiled by the huge sacks we catch in this fishery, and when they are not caught everyone whines about the quality of the bass fishing, all one has to do is fish another lake for a few weeks to come back to the realization of what a terrific lake the Big O really is. What we really need is a huge down pour of rain from Mother Nature to bring the lake up to a normal level. Monday Vaughn Meyers from Pa. caught an 11 pound bass in the lake on a wild shiner while we were on a guide trip. If you pick your times to access the lake its still possible to catch the fish of a lifetime!

 

 

Captain Mike Shellen Report- Feb 25th, 2007:

 

The cold weather of last weekend dropped the water temperature in the lake down into the mid 50s; it took the rest of the week for the water to warm back up. Just as the water got warm enough for the fish to start feeding again the winds switched around to the south, southeast at 20 plus miles an hour and brought dirty water back up into the shallows. The best bass fishing has been in the canals surrounding the lake; the many miles of canals that encircle the Big O hold a lot of quality bass. Some of these canals get very little pressure from bass fishermen and the fishing can be terrific! Big lipped crank baits that dive relatively deep can work wonders when cranked around the rocks and steep drop offs. A shaky head jig with a finesse worm or trick worm will catch fish as well.

Crappie fishing picked up with the inundation of cold weather but seems to have dropped off as the water warmed up, the number one bait to catch big specks is a grass shrimp, which are hard to come by at this time of year, but some people still manage get them and catch a lot of crappie on them, as well as shell cracker or blue gill. With warm weather forecast for the next week and the full moon on March 3rd, big blue gill may move into the shallows and spawn so keep your eyes peeled for beds of these tasty pan fish.

Shiner fishing slowed considerably this week with the cold water, and the wind, most anglers were stuck to fishing the canals or the river. Catch rates dropped but will pick up as soon as the water warms and the full moon nears, look for the big female bass to move shallow to spawn.

 

Captain Mike's Blog.


Okeechobee Fishing Headquarters


Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League

2007 Okeechobee Tournament Schedule

 

Photo by Captain Mike

 Captain Mike Shellen Report- Feb 18th, 2007:   

 

The temperatures around South Florida have dropped drastically the past few nights. Temperatures in the low 30s have the water temperatures in the main lake hovering in the low to mid 50s. Needless to say the bass bite has been slowed considerably, with water temps this low the only places to catch bass are in the deeper water canals surrounding the lake. In recent weeks several tournaments have been won by anglers fishing the rim canal. Crank baits, lipless and deep diving are taking good numbers of keeper size fish. The shiner bite has slowed tremendously also with daily catch numbers falling drastically.


Crappie fishing has been very good with the cold weather, for those brave enough to venture out into the frigid weather the bite is on! I watched as three different fishermen all caught good numbers of big thick bodied Crappie this morning, two of them were fishing minnows under a bobber and the other was fishing grass shrimp, the gentlemen using grass shrimp was catching 2 to 1 on the minnow fishermen, there isnt a fish in the lake that will not eat a grass shrimp!


The cold weather will stop the blue gill and shell cracker from moving up onto the bank to spawn, but as the water warms look for the first run of these fish to happen. If we have a very warm late February and early March these fish will start to spawn.

 

Captain Mike's Blog.


Okeechobee Fishing Headquarters


Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League

2007 Okeechobee Tournament Schedule


 

 Captain Mike Shellen Report- Feb 11th, 2007:   

 

Fishing on the Big O improved as the week progressed, with the water getting warmer bass fishing improved daily. Artificial baits are catching a lot of fish, there are as many ways to catch a limit of bass on Lake Okeechobee as there are different baits. With the low water conditions more and more people are learning to fish different baits and areas to catch fish. The local canals are producing 20 plus pound sacks of fish for nearly every tournament. Crank baits are catching a lot of bass in the canals both shallow diving and deep running baits are working, shaky head jigs are also accounting for good numbers of bass. The tried and true Carolina rig is always a good producing method when fishing deeper water.


Crappie fishing is still a hit or miss proposition, one day there a lot of limits caught and the next fish can not be found. The people from the FWC that conduct surveys on catch rates related to me on one particularly cold day that they checked at least thirty boats and twenty five of them had no fish. There are still certain skilled anglers that catch specks every time they go, these guys are not afraid to try different techniques or baits until they find something that works. There are some crappie showing up near the bank in shallow water, we can only assume they are there spawning since they are full of eggs.


Shiner fishing is still very good but the cold weather has taken its toll on catch rates there as well. Local guides are still reporting good catches of 30 to 40 bas per day on some days. Big fish are still being caught almost daily. The big females are spawning and can be found in very shallow water, please release these big spawning fish once they are weighed and photographed.


 

Captain Michael Shellen

www.OkeechobeeBassFishing.com

 

863-357-0892

Captain Mike's Blog.


Okeechobee Fishing Headquarters


Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League

2007 Okeechobee Tournament Schedule


 

Crappie, Speck, Speckled Perch

 Captain Mike Shellen Report- Feb 4th, 2007:      

     

The BFL held its monthly tournament on the Big O Saturday February 3rd. The 80 boat field launched out of Clewiston on a rather dreary day. Local Okeechobee angler Robert Stafford took the $3400 first place check with just over 21 pounds of bass.

 

The cold weather of the past weeks had slowed the bite somewhat, but as this week progressed the water warmed up and so did the fishing. A lot of Large Mouth Bassfish were caught in the canals surrounding the lake. Many anglers are now getting wary of running anywhere in the main lake. We are getting very close to the 11 foot mark which limits access to the lake to only the most experienced anglers, or someone who does not value his equipment.

 

Crank baits, swimming jigs, and Carolina rigged plastics are all accounting for good numbers of fish in the deeper water of the canals.

 

The shiner bite has been affected by the cold water also but it rebounded much faster than the artificial bite did. The average catch is 15 to 25 fish per day. The chance of catching giant bass is as good now as it will ever get, with the low water the big sows are trapped on the grass line when they move in to spawn and are more liable to be caught than at any other time

 Crappie, Speck, Speckled Perch

Crappie fishing is still slow, the size of specks being caught are huge! Fish in the 2 pound class have been common. Jig fishing has picked up for the more adept at handling a jig pole, but is still a battle of patience. Minnow fishermen are still catching a lot of fish in the river and canals, although I have seen more fish caught on grass shrimp this week than in recent memory.

 

Captain Mike's Blog.


Okeechobee Fishing Headquarters


Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League

2007 Okeechobee Tournament Schedule


 

 Captain Mike Shellen Report- Jan 29th, 2007:

 

The big lake was inundated by the FLW Series this week. Two Hundred anglers and their co-anglers blasted off Wednesday morning in a four day pursuit of the heaviest weight of bass. David Dudley from Virginia caught 64 pounds 2 ounces of fish taking home the $10,000 first place and a $2,500 Ranger boat bonus.

 

The 200 pros fished all over the lake and in the surrounding canals, these hard core fishermen will go to almost any lengths to access an area that they know holds fish. There were at least 12 anglers or more that got stuck trying to access shallow water areas where they had practiced the day before, The 20 mile an hour north winds blew 14 inches of water away from the north end toward the south end of the lake, turning the south end into mud and making the north end water to shallow to access. There were at least 10 boats that got stuck trying to access the shallow water areas where 24 hours before the water was 18 inches deep, only to find themselves mired in 4 inches of water. The dangerous situation continues to worsen as the lake drops lower and lower if you dont know exactly where you are running dont chance it!

 

The cold weather this past week shut down the bite for most fishermen, the water on the outside grass lines dropped from 70 plus degrees to 61 degrees, sending the fish into the thick grass or out into the lake in pursuit of deeper, warmer water. The water in the deep canals and river were not affected as much, but still cooled enough that even the shiner bite took a nosedive. With the weather man forecasting high 30 degree temps for this week it could get very tough for anyone wanting to catch fish. The crappie bite normally would get better, but thus far that has not panned out. I spoke to the gentlemen that does the fish survey for the FWC and he related that of the 32 boats he surveyed, 28 of them had zero fish, that is not a good catch rate!


 

Captain Michael Shellen

 

 

   
    Captain Mike Shellen Report- Jan 21st, 2007: 

 

        The wind finally gave us a break this week and the bass fishing improved each day. The water is so clear in some areas of the lake that the bottom is clearly visible. There are a huge number of bass fishermen in the area now with the FLW series set to kick off this week. If the conditions remain favorable the weigh-in bags should be bulging with big bass and heavy limits will be necessary to take the first place money.

 

        The Northlake Marine Ranger Open was held Saturday out of Scott Driver Park. The tournament featured local pros, guides, FLW pro fishermen, and even a team from the redfish tour. There were 76 teams that fished the event and from the look of the weigh-in bags brought to the scale everyone caught bass. FLW pro Sandy Melvin and Billy Bowen took first place honors with nearly a 5 pound average, beating the second place team by a narrow margin and claiming the $10,000 first place check. The tournament was sponsored by Ellis and Judy Cole, local Ranger dealers, and received glowing comments from all of the participants. This tournament is fast growing into the most prestigious local event held on the lake.

 

Captain Mike's Blog.


Okeechobee Fishing Headquarters


Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League

2007 Okeechobee Tournament Schedule


 

 
   

    Captain Mike Shellen Report- Jan 15th, 2007:   

There are huge numbers of Crappie fishermen dotting the landscape along the Kissimmee River. Day in and day out the river continues to give up big fat specks. Some days the fishing is rather slow but thats just fishing, I have seen a lot of big thick bodied specks caught this week, most coming on minnows under a bobber, but jig fishermen are taking their fair share of fish also. The most productive fishermen are moving; either trolling or drifting with the wind. Okeechobee Fishing headquarters Crappie guide Tim Gibson has been catching limits of big Crappie with his customers.  Crappie, Speck, Speckled Perch

 

I see a lot of fishermen anchored in the same place for long periods of time, and hear the same folks complain about the lack of fish in the lake. There is no current moving in the Kissimmee River and has not been for quite some time, the fish are roaming and moving constantly, one day a spot is good the next a bust, try something different, it just might work.

 

Large Mouth Bass

Bass fishing with artificial baits has been good when the wind allows, I dont remember a warmer winter or a winter with more southerly winds. The water on this end of the lake is clear for a few days, only to be muddied again by high winds from the south or southeast, that dirties the water. Senko type baits, Horny Toads and creature baits are all producing.

 

 

         Shiner fishing is still very consistent with decent numbers of fish being caught each trip, and unbelievable numbers of big bass being caught daily. The shallow water situation in the lake has the fish restricted to the narrow band of vegetation around the perimeter of the lake when the fish move in to spawn. The smaller area of shoreline vegetation has a lot more fish in a relatively small area. The bass are moving in to spawn and then after spawning they move back out into the deeper water of the main lake.

 

 Here is Dan Wall with two of the 19 bass

 he caught today (1-15-07) with Captain Mike.

 click on the picture for more detail or see

 the picture and complete story on Captain Mike's Blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Captain Mike's Blog.


Okeechobee Fishing Headquarters


Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League

2007 Okeechobee Tournament Schedule


 

 

New on Okeechobee360. Captain Mike Shellen is making regular fishing reports and we'll soon have Virtual postcards, video and photos of this long time local guide to keep you up to date on some of the most exciting fishing anywhere!

 

While we're shooting photos and video, and getting Captain Mike's page ready, enjoy his BLOG below.

guide service business card  
     
 

Events   Restaurants   Hotels   RV-Parks   Boats   Fishing   Blogs   Guide   Bass Tournaments

Community   Main Street   Photos   Postcards   Real-Estate   Contact  Privacy   Terms

Copyright 2006-7
360 Marketing, Inc.
Privacy Notice

Terms of Use