Lake Okeechobee Fl Fishing Report - Bass, crappie weekly update by Captain Mike Shellen

Drought lowered the lake in 2007 click here for photos.


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Captain Mike Shellen's Fishing Reports

May, 2007 to December, 2007

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Captain Mike Shellen Report- December 27th, 2007:

 

In spite of the low water, anglers that take the time to go fishing are experiencing success. In all of the years that I have fished Lake Okeechobee I do not ever remember a time when every single angler that went fishing caught fish, and this year is no different. As always the most successful anglers are also the most tenacious, they refuse to be denied, they spend their fishing time either hunting for fish or figuring a way to catch the fish once they locate them.

No matter what species your pursuing the theory is the same, if you aren’t in the area where the fish are holding you can not catch them. Do not be afraid to try new areas and techniques, they just may work for you.

Crappie fishing is still good in the Kissimmee; night fishing seems to have an edge over daylight fishing, with much better catch rates being reported by night fishermen. Minnows are still the bait of choice, although some anglers are having limited success with jigs. The Pahokee area has been red hot for specks for the last few weeks, with good numbers of fish being caught both in and around the new Pahokee Marina; the Norman Channel has been another hot spot also.

We are still catching good numbers of Bass on both our shiner fishing and artificial bait trips. Carolina rigged trick worms, Shaky head rigs, and other slow moving baits are working well. We have had several days where we caught decent numbers of Bass on top water baits, a lot of Bass moved into very shallow water during the full moon phase making the fish susceptible to baits on top.

Some of our best artificial bait catches have been in the afternoon hours when a lot of folks are already home laying on the couch. Some of the best top water action we have experienced has been after 2 pm in the afternoon. This time of year the mood of the fish can change with the slightest change in water temperature, one minute they are not eating, the next they are on a chew.


Captain Michael Shellen
If you have any questions or to book a guide trip
Call me: 863-357-0892

 Captain Mike Shellen Report- December 16th, 2007:

Fishing of all kinds has been good this week. Bass fishermen are catching good numbers of bass; artificial bait and live bait have both been working well. Small buck bass can be found in the extremely shallow water of the lake, but unless you are willing to wade, getting to them is next to impossible. The full moon of December will send a lot of big Okeechobee bass into the shallows to spawn, unless a cold front sends the water temperatures plummeting, which will cause the fish to move out of the shallows until the water warms once again. The good news is that there will be a huge number of Bass that will move into the Kissimmee River or other local canals to spawn where they will be easily accessible.

Top water baits have been taking a lot of small bass, one particular lure does not seem to be outperforming any other however, so change lures frequently until you find what is working best for the conditions and the time. In the deeper water of the Kissimmee and local canals a shaky head rigged with a finesse or a trick worm are performing well, color does seem to matter at times so experiment with different shades to find what’s best for the water color you are fishing. A Texas rigged 10 inch worm has been working as well, you would think that small fish would not hit such a large bait, but they will attack this huge worm with a vengeance at times!

Speck fishing remains steady with anglers that are willing to spend long hours on the water having success. The Kissimmee River, Sportsmen’s, and Harney Pond are the better places on the north end.

 

Captain Mike Shellen Report- November 25th, 2007:

 

Speck fishing seems to be the main focus around Okeechobee and has been for the last month. The reports vary greatly from those that are catching nothing to those that are catching limits. As is the case with all types of fishing the more experienced anglers are also the most successful. The best way to improve your fishing ability and learn new techniques is to fish with an angler whose skill level exceeds your own.

Last year we received very few reports of smaller year class Specks being caught, this year however I am receiving reports of anglers catching good numbers of small year class sized Specks, these fish are the future of our fishery and should be released to grow and spawn to keep the fishery healthy. There are many very large Specks being caught. From the reports I have received some folks think that they are catching some of the largest Specks ever caught on Okeechobee (Kissimmee River), not only are the fish very long but very thick bodied as well.

Bass fishing has been good; the Kissimmee River continues to be a dependable source for local fishermen that enjoy casting artificial lures. The local canals J&S particularly have been producing good numbers of bass to those anglers throwing top water baits. We have seen a few beds in very shallow water and have caught several fish with raw bloody tails, which is a good indicator of spawning activity. The Lakeport canal has also been a favorite spot for artificial bait anglers to catch bass.

Top water baits have been producing well for us, if you’re like most bass fishermen you have a whole box full of top water baits to choose from. Try different baits until you get a response from the fish, if you tie on the right bait the fish will usually let you know rather quickly. We have also been having success using plastics, whether Carolina rigged wacky rigged, or the old standard Texas rig they have all produced well at times.

There is no substitute for time on the water; the most successful anglers are the ones that are willing to put in a lot of time to figure out the puzzle that is bass fishing.

This week we will have the Bass Master Elite pros in town, these guys are fishing for their future in a lot of cases, there are 37 pros fishing for 10 spots on the Bass Master circuit, it should be interesting to see how they handle the Big “O” when it is fishing small.

Captain Michael Shellen

If you are interested in scheduling a guide trip call:
Toll free 888-203-3474
Home 863-357-0892
 

Captain Mike Shellen - Thanksgiving Update

Dear Friends and fellow fishermen,

A lot has been printed about Lake Okeechobee in the past few months, yes the water is very low, but we are catching fish as always. We have added several new lakes that we have fished for the last 25 years or so to our list of fishing spots for those of you who want something different, The Stick Marsh/Farm 13 and Garcia Lake are all great bass fisheries and we have included them simply because we feel comfortable fishing there and have had much success catching numbers of bass as well as trophy bass.

As I stated earlier we are still primarily fishing Okeechobee, but we are picking up several trips to other fisheries and are having success there too. Check out our website (
Captain Mike's Blog.) and then go to fishing reports which is a small tab at the top of the page, if you click fishing reports you can see what we are doing and whats going on.


As always feel free to call me (toll free 888-203-3474) with any questions or requests. I look forward to fishing with you again this season and hope to hear from you soon. Some of the negative publicity about Lake Okeechobee has hurt our business, but we are still here to provide you a great fishing experience.

Have a great thanksgiving!

Captain Michael Shellen
Shellen Guide Service

toll free 888-203-3474
home 863-357-0892
cell 863-697-9532

 

Captain Mike Shellen Report- November 11th, 2007:

 

The hot ticket bite around Lake Okeechobee and other surrounding lakes at this time is for Speckled Perch, the cooler weather has turned the fish on resulting in numerous reports of good catches. I have been talking to several speck fishermen that I see either at the tackle shop or the gas station every day for the last week and these experienced hardcore speck fishermen are catching their limit of fish daily or nightly as the case may be.

 

I have reports from anglers that are catching limits during the daylight hours, either trolling with jigs or anchoring up and dangling minnows. There is another group of anglers that are catching their fish during the dark hours, times vary from angler to angler. Several anglers that are catching during the nighttime have related to me that they are catching some very large crappie, some in the 14 inch range.

 

The one statistic that is a little troubling from the Okeechobee catches is that there are not many small year class fish being caught, this does not bode well for the fishery. The FWC needs to act now and install size and bag limits on specks before it is too late, the days of keeping every fish you catch are over, the philosophy of keeping every fish you catch for the frying pan is not ethical,or fair to the fishery. If we do not protect our fishery, there will not be one!

 

Okeechobee is not the only fishery where specks are being caught Lake Marian in Kenansville is producing numbers of fish, but a lot of them are on the small size. The STick Marsh in Fellsmere is yielding big specks to anglers trolling around the edges of the ditches that circumvent the whole impoundment.

 

Captain Mike Shellen

 

Captain Mike Shellen Report- November 4th, 2007:

 

If you just arrived in Okeechobee and have not kept up on the level of the lake all summer you are probably surprised to learn that we are still at an alarmingly low level. The Kissimmee River which is the main feeder for our lake is presently bringing water into the lake at a rate of 6750 gallons per second. That is an incredible amount of water which translates into 583,200,000 gallons per day flowing into the lake. A person might think with that amount of water flowing into Lake Okeechobee it would soon be full; but, I have been told by the SFWMD that it takes 14 billion gallons of water to raise Okeechobee one inch, that is a staggering figure. At the present rate it will take around three weeks to bring the lake up even one inch!

The good news is we are still able to fish; all of the local canals are now brimming with water providing easy launching and plenty of good fishing. The canals around the outside of the dike (the rim ditch) are all full of fish, bass blue gill, specks, and even cichlids abound in these canals. For those of you not familiar with these areas there are ramps that provide access at various points around the lake. If you are driving around the lake on Highway 441 from Port Mayaca north around the lake there are signs clearly pointing out the public ramps. On the other side of the lake starting at the junction of 441 and highway 78 heading west there are numerous other ramps providing access, all together there is around 50 miles of canal to fish where navigation is safe and the fishing can be very good, I know it is not the same as fishing the lake, but the old adage that says when you are given lemons, you should make lemonade never applied more.

Until next week!

Captain Michael Shellen
Shellen Guide Service
863-357-0892

 

Captain Mike Shellen Report- Oct. 28 th, 2007:

 

The lake has risen slightly over the last week to 10 feet 3 inches a level that is very frustrating for those that live and play here. Does any one else wonder where all of the water that has ran into the lake for the last three months has gone? Have we finally gotten to the point where businesses and residents that surround the lake are using more water than Mother Nature can provide?

Fishing in the local canals is good; J&S canal is flowing with runoff from rain water that has been falling on the east side of 441, Sand Cut and Port Mayaca too are flowing into the lake. Buck Head Ridge canals are giving up Crappie and Blue Gill to those willing to put in their time. There are some deeper holes in the Buck Head Canal where Specks traditionally hold, along with brush piles planted by residents.

The Kissimmee River is yielding nice stringers of big Specks to night fishermen; the River is flowing as opposed to last year, which should keep the bait and the fish moving around making them more prone to be caught.

Bass fishing has been slow the last week with the fish already showing signs of being pressured. Sportsman’s canal has been productive for bass with a Carolina rig or a Shaky Head rigged trick worm both yielding fish. Harney Pond and Indian Prairie are both still holding a lot of bass, the ramp at Indian Prairie is very steep, be careful loading and unloading your boat there.

 

Captain Mike Shellen Report- Oct. 21st, 2007:

 

I would like to say welcome back to our friends that are returning from the north. It is quite easy to tell when our winter residents return, number one, the amount of traffic in town has seemingly doubled, and two, the number of out of state license plates on vehicles has doubled. If you are just returning and are expecting the lake to be full of water, you will be disappointed to find that the lake level is 10 feet 2 inches. There are some positive aspects though; the local canals that were bone dry last year now have a lot of water in them. J&S canal is high enough that launching your boat and fishing is not and issue and with water running under highway 441 from the east the little creeks and inflows have been great places to fish.

The Taylor Creek lock has been closed a month now and the water level on the outside of the lake has risen enough that folks can once again get there boats out and fish in there neighborhood. The Buck Head Ridge canals are nearly up to the high water mark on the retaining walls and locals are taking advantage by fishing and boating in the many miles of enclosed canals outside of the lake.

The point I am trying to make is that finding a place to launch your boat and fish is much easier this year than last. The Kissimmee River is giving up hefty stringers of 1 pound to 1 ˝ pound Specks to anglers willing to put in there time. Our Crappie (Speck) fishery has suffered from the hurricanes and years of over fishing have a conscience, it is not necessary or ethical to keep every fish that you catch, and you are only doing more damage to the fishery by keeping small or under sized fish.

 

Captain Mike Shellen Report- Oct. 14th, 2007:

 

With cooler weather and water temperatures our fishing is improving daily! Normally I am one of those guys that like to catch the early morning bite, recently though we have caught more fish in the afternoon than the morning. The water in the J&S canal has risen up to the point where launching is no longer a problem. With all of the rain to the east of the lake the small creeks have been flowing into the canal and the fishing has responded. We ran the length of the canal and concentrated on just the small runoffs and creek opening and had success catching bass. Crank baits, Carolina rigged plastics and flukes provided us with quite a few bites.

The Taylor Creek lock has been closed for several weeks now and the water has come up nicely, there is a lot of new weed growth in this area and the fish have a lot of places to hide, but this is a very productive area, the area around the golf course can be very good. Buck Head Ridge canal has risen to very near where it should be and there are a lot of resident fish in this area just waiting for anglers to fish, be aware that there is a launch fee to use the Buck Head Marina Ramp.

The lake is up to 10 feet 2 inches and is still rising, we ventured down to Belle Glade this week and caught bass in the Dynamite holes and the Airport hole, there are a lot of rocks in these areas so proceed with caution. Bass are schooling around the mouth of Uncle Joes cut on the west side of the lake, school fish are a hit or miss deal, one day they are there to catch the next they can not be found, this area is subject to being rough with an east wind so pick your day carefully. Until next week, see ya!

Captain Mike Shellen Report- Sept. 30th, 2007:
 

High Winds are the story of the early week on Lake Okeechobee, Monday and Tuesdays forecast call for 25 to 35 mile per hour winds, stay away from the open water it will be very dangerous. The south end of the lake is getting a large part of the angling attention for the last week or so, with areas such As the dynamite holes and the football field producing fish for some anglers. The area around Uncle Joes is producing for anglers as well; the rocky area in the rim ditch adjacent to Uncle Joes is producing fish during all hours of the day. A Giggy Head worm fished slowly has been the hot ticket.

 

On the Outside of the Shoal there have been fish schooling, this is a hit or miss deal and is not the place to be fishing during high winds. Lipless crank baits, or Carolina rigged plastics have both worked well here, at times.


As the water cools the fishing should continue to get better. The Kissimmee River is still holding a lot of Bass, but these fish see more baits in a week than most of the fish in this lake see in a lifetime. To catch these fish you either have to find them schooling or show them something that they have not seen before.

 

Crappie are being caught in Harney Pond as well as the River, minnows are the bait of choice. Blue Gill are being caught in some of the moving water areas, grass shrimp are the number one bait, but crickets will work.

 

Captain Mike Shellen Report- Sept. 23rd, 2007:

 

In spite of the low water situation we have been facing for nearly a year the fishing on Lake Okeechobee is still very good. We are approaching the time of year when our first wave of big pre-spawn females will start moving toward the shallows looking to pig out on shad and shiners before moving into the bedding areas to spawn.

The fall can be a terrific time for fishing artificial baits, with the fish moving around in a feeding frenzy trying there best to fatten up before the long spawning season. Lipless crank baits, frog imitation baits, and Carolina rigged plastics will all take good numbers of fish. As the water cools the fish will actually spend a much longer time feeding, making it easier to catch fish throughout the whole day.

The Kissimmee River has been flowing into the lake for the last several months, as any savvy bass fishermen knows current attracts bass like a magnet. Bait is swept along by the current keeping the minnows and other bait disoriented making it much easier for bass to pick them off. A strong current flow washes schools of shad and shiners along with it creating a moving smorgasbord as it move along for any and all game fish to feed on.

There are numerous areas around the lake where native vegetation is reemerging which will only enhance the fishing as these areas of super cover continue to grow. Weeds such as coon tail, hydrilla, eel grass, and pepper grass will all reappear with time; we are already starting to catch fish well offshore in areas where the native growth is sprouting.

Blue gill are still being caught in local area canals. There are a few anglers that are catching Crappie in Harney Pond canal. The new FWC rules and regulations setting new size and bag limits have not yet taken effect for Crappie and Bass for Lake Okeechobee, but are set to be put into effect in early 2008.

 

Captain Mike Shellen Report- Sept. 16th, 2007:

The water level of Lake Okeechobee is around 9.6 feet, a dreadfully low level for this time of year considering that the better part of our rainiest season is already past. There are many local businesses that are being hurt by the low water levels and stand to lose a lot of money if our winter season does not provide enough tourism to support them.

 

The lake is still in a summertime pattern as far as bass fishing is concerned. Some days the early morning bite is good, with fish hitting top water baits, lipless crank baits, and slowly fished plastic baits. We have caught 12 to 15 fish during a morning trip several times, but upon returning the next day to the same spot, we have been handed a goose egg. We have not been able to establish any kind of regularity to any of the areas we are fishing.


I have seen several people catching blue gill in the local canals, red worms and or crickets are working equally well.


During this time of year it is very difficult to put together an informative fishing report, with the low water and hot weather it is very tough. I am doing my best to shed a positive light on our beautiful lake and the upcoming season. I will continue to try to show the positive aspects of our fishery, and community

 

Captain Mike is back from vacation. 9-9-07

Captain Mike Shellen Report- Sept. 9th, 2007:

The big lake is fishing very, very small. I don’t know if the fish in the Kissimmee River have seen every lure man has designed or if local anglers are just sick of fishing the same stretch of water for the last 6 months. Whatever the reason, the bass bite in the river has gotten very tough, when a fishermen with the skill of Captain Larry Wright is having a tough time catching them, mere mortals don’t have a prayer. The area around Uncle Joes is giving up some small fish, but they are very scattered, as are the shad they are feeding on.

The Rim Canal on the west side of the lake is still giving up decent numbers of small fish, but as is the case every September the fish can prove to be a bit moody. We had a modicum of success catching small fish on artificial baits one day, only to return the very next day to struggle mightily. The water temps are in the mid to high 80’s, not a favorable condition for catching largemouth.

The water that is coming into the lake whether from the River, Indian Prairie or Harney Pond is carrying a lot of sediment and other debris with it, not to mention the oxygen content is extremely low? This kind of water has always been described as red water, and can be detected by the slightly reddish appearance. For 30 years I have heard Okeechobee’s finest fishermen describe and complain about the inflowing and its negative affect on fish’s behavior, this year is no different.

Blue gill are still being caught in local area canals, Sportsmens and Buck Head are 2 of the more productive areas. Crickets have been producing best, but red worms will work also. The number one pan fish bait always has and always will be a grass shrimp. The hardest part about fishing with grass shrimp is getting your hands on a bunch of them.

 

Captain Mike Shellen Report- August 5th, 2007:

The water in Lake Okeechobee is slowly rising. The Kissimmee River has been running for about 3 weeks now and the lake level is very near 9 ˝ feet. If Mother Nature keeps cooperating by dumping healthy amounts of rain around the lake and north of the lake in the Kissimmee basin the lake should continue rising.

The new ramps are finally open again at Scott Driver Park, they opened early last week and have been receiving a lot of use already, and 15 to 25 boats per day are making use of the facilities.

Bass are being caught in the Kissimmee River on artificial baits; the moving water has the fish more stirred up than they have been all summer. Look for areas of current where the fish will be schooling, chasing bait. Fast moving lipless crank baits will take fish when they are actively chasing bait, at other times a more deliberate approach could be necessary to get a bite.

Pan fish are still the most predictable bite that we have; a basket of crickets will nearly guarantee a nice mess of blue gill, shell cracker or cichlids. It may be necessary to hunt around a good bit to locate the fish, but once located it should be relatively easy to catch a bunch of fish.

The Corps of Engineers meeting is approaching keep your eye on the newspaper for the exact date, time, and location. If you have an opinion you would like to voice , speak out!

Captain Mike Shellen Report- July 29th, 2007:

It has been a very strange year on Lake Okeechobee thus far. I am not sure if the low water is responsible for the irregularity of the fish, or if it’s just more pronounced due to the extreme conditions. I have seen more pan fish in a spawning mode this summer than I have in the past. The full moon was the 30th and we are still seeing blue gill and shell cracker making beds and going thru the motions of spawning. The water temperature is in the mid to high 80’s and normally when the water is this hot we would not see fish in a bedding frame of mind. The good news is that it is not hard to catch a good stringer of blue gill or shell cracker. We have not been able to really pin point the shell cracker bedding areas but they are nearly always mixed in with the blue gills when we find them.

Last week as I drove through Okeetantie I saw a gentlemen cleaning fish at the fish cleaning station, I stopped by to pick his brain and to see exactly what he had. To my surprise he was cleaning crappie, they were not great big slab size crappie but 8 to 10 inch eating size fish, he was very secretive about where he caught them, but did share the fact that he had caught them on a jig in 8 to 10 feet of water. I have always known that specks could be caught in the summer, mainly because we used to catch them in the hydrilla all year at the stick marsh, but have never really seen anyone catch them in the big lake or the river in the hot weather. We can always learn something about fishing, sometimes the only thing stopping us is our own mind, and our preconceived notions.

The Kissimmee River has been flowing for nearly a week now and the lake is on the rise, the only thing that can stop the lake from coming up now is for the summer rains to completely stop, or for the Corps of Engineers to let the water go down the Caloosahatchee or the St. Lucie Canal. Flowing water creates feeding opportunities for fish of all species, look for schooling bass in these areas of water flow and remember to practice catch and release.

The Corps of Engineers meeting about the Lakes Water level regulations are coming up soon, stand up and voice your opinion, let them know that this lake is ours and that our local economy is dependent upon having water for our many winter visitors to enjoy. Okeechobee’s economy is driven by the lake; if you own a business in Okeechobee you are dependent upon visitor’s that spend millions in our town, if they can not fish here, they will not stay here and utilize the restaurants, hotels and other related businesses in our town. The new lower water regulations that the Corps. wants to adopt would mean we would be subjected to more extremely low water conditions like we are experiencing now.

Captain Mike Shellen Report- July 15th, 2007:

 

Fishing is still very good on the Big “O”. The number one problem with our low water situation is where can you launch your boat safely? Okeetantie is one of the nicest campgrounds and park on Lake Okeechobee, but is sitting idly by due to the low water and lack of ramps with proper depth to launch. Scott Driver Park has several brand new ramps, but due to some short sightedness the channel leading from the new ramps to the Kissimmee River was not deepened enough to provide access when the water is extremely low. The county has been working around the ramp area at Driver for about a month now, but no access has been provided to people that want to launch there. Clewiston took it in there own hands six weeks ago to provide good safe access to there citizens by digging out the canal leading to the lock providing access to the lakes main channel, why aren’t Okeechobee’s citizens worthy of the same treatment?

Blue Gill fishing is still very good; the moon phases have provided excellent fishing each month. Big blue gill, shell crackers, and cichlids can all be caught. If you are targeting a single species of these three, just keep moving around till you find a wad of fish and go to catching! A fly rod will provide about as much fun as can be had catching pan fish! A 4 or 5 weight rod and a small popping bug or a rubber legged spider will draw strikes from every pan fish species in the lake as well as small bass.

Bass fishing is still very good on the south end of the lake, follow the main channel out toward the water tower and start fishing, lipless crank baits, Carolina rigged plastics, crank baits, or top waters will all work on the small bass that are piled up there.

Captain Mike Shellen Report- July 8th, 2007:

 

We are finally receiving some rain in and around the lake. Water has been running into the lake thru the Port Mayaca lock for the last several weeks. Indian Prairie canal is flowing thru several of the culverts, although launching there is still very dangerous, the last time we launched there we had to use the big motor to push ourselves out of the big hole at the end of the ramp. Using your outboard to push yourself out at the ramp is not recommended but, when all else fails will sometimes work. The Yamaha 250HPDI on the back of my Ranger did a great job; you just have to be extremely careful to shut it down before it over revs, or your prop hits the concrete on the ramp, as I said it is not recommended.

 

Fishing is very good right now on the south end of the lake; big numbers of bass are being caught in the main channel on artificial baits as well as shiners. The ramp at Clewiston has been dug out so getting to the lake is not a problem. I have had reports that there are schooling fish in the main channel, but have not witnessed it myself. Lipless crank baits are accounting for large numbers of smaller bass. Several fish in the 8 pound range have been reported. A Carolina rig fished along the channel edge is also working quite well. The smaller fish schooling fish can be caught on flukes, Texas rigged plastics, and top water baits when they can be found schooling, it can be difficult to find these schooling bass, but once located it can provide fast and furious fishing.

 

According to the SFWMD web site there is water coming into the lake in numerous locations, the water level is reported as 9.12 feet, and should continue rising as long as the water keeps flowing. We still need a good deal of rain according to water management to get the Kissimmee River flowing. Lake Kissimmee is still several feet low, as is Istokpoga, once these lakes reach normal pool the river north of the lake will once again reach normal pool levels and water could then be released downstream into the lake. Missy Albaretto from the SFWMD told me that it takes 14 billion gallons of water to raise Lake Okeechobee 1 inch! That is truly a staggering figure. The bottom line seems to be that we need a lot more rain than we are receiving, those of you with connections upstairs please request that we continue to receive rain daily.


It appears that access to the lake via the Kissimmee River will once again be possible from Scott Driver park ramps. The track hoe digging out the channel is nearly to the end of the channel leading to the river which will actually give fishermen and recreational boaters a safe place to launch. This project is quite a few months late, but better late than never!


Blue Gill fishing is still extremely good, a basket full of crickets will enable you to catch as many of the tasty pan fish as you want to clean. A cane pole or a bream buster graphite rod with 6 to 8 pound test line with a small split shot pinched on the line 6 to 8 inches above the hook and a small float to keep your bait off of the bottom seem to be the rig of choice.

 

Captain Mike Shellen Report- July 1st, 2007:

Fishing in the lake is still very good, there are a handful of brave and knowledgeable anglers that are making runs out into the lake finding holes or depressions where the fish are stacked up. Rattle traps and Carolina rigs will both take big numbers of these fish.

Bass fishing in the Kissimmee River is still very good deep diving crank baits and Carolina rigs are both working well. The biggest obstacle facing fishermen wanting to launch on the Kissimmee River is where to launch their boat. Is it worth tearing your equipment up making the run up a bumpy sand road to launch?

Blue Gill fishing is red hot once again with the full moon phase, a mixed bag of shell cracker and blue gill can be caught in the Kissimmee River and local canals. Crickets and grass shrimp are the prime baits. Sportsmen’s is good for pan fish and bass as well, with Henry Creek running a close second. Harney Pond is still a great place to catch a mess of blue gill, as well as good numbers of bass.

We have been seeing more and more gators as the lake has gotten lower and lower. This past week we had a dangerous encounter with an 11 foot gator that became very aggressive. The big gator started out by watching us catch fish from afar, but soon he was coming closer and closer. He finally got so brave as to intercept and steal a fish right off of the line that we had hooked. Once he learned that he could steal fish he would come and float as close as 2 feet from the boat. The big gator finally intercepted a fish that I estimated to weigh 7 ˝ to 8 pounds, grabbing hold of my net with the fish in it. I found my self in a tug of war with a huge gator; during the pulling match he straightened the aluminum hoop end of the net out until it was only inches wide. I ended up letting go of the net handle, for fear of being pulled in the water. The gator swam away with my net, fish and all! We then watched as he proceeded to swallow the aluminum hoop of the net with the fish still inside, crunching and mashing the net in his teeth until the net handle finally fell off into the water. A call to the local FWC officer got a quick response and the next day, Bumpy Courson was dispatched to kill the big gator, Bumpy made quick work of the gator, killing him and dragging him up on the shore where we then measured the massive beast at 11 feet long with a good portion of his tail missing either to a prop or another gator, and he weighed 550 pounds! It was my first time to come in contact with a gator that became aggressive, it is easy to see how gator attacks happen. I have always had a lot of respect for these prehistoric animals but this encounter increased my respect level tremendously!
 

Captain Mike Shellen Report- June 25th, 2007:

I am pretty sure that I am not the only person around that is asking themselves, why isn’t the lake coming up? We have had a fair amount of rain, enough that if Taylor Creek and Port Mayaca and numerous other places were not still letting water out of the lake it would have risen a little anyway. The big question is why are they still letting water out of the lake, the SFWMD already stated that they could continue their scraping projects until the lake reached 10.5 feet. So letting the lake come up a few inches at a time is no threat. There is no reason I can think of to keep letting water flow out of the lake when we are at the all time low level of the lake. Common sense would dictate that every precious drop of rain that fell into and around our lake would be captured and kept within the boundaries of the Big “O”.

Fishing is still good, as has been the case for quite a while now the biggest concern is where can we launch safely? There has been some progress at the new Scott Driver Park and I guess we should be thankful for that.

Blue Gill fishing is still red hot in the River and other local canals, crickets being the number one bait.

Bass fishing has turned into an early morning pursuit lately, and with the water temperatures approaching mid 80’s its easy to understand why. Lipless crank baits, and Carolina Rigs are both still accounting for good numbers of small fish, with an occasional big fish showing up.

Captain Mike Shellen Report- June 18th, 2007:

In spite of having only a limited number of places to launch a boat on the north end of the lake fishing is very good. It has been more than a month since it was promised that the canal leading from the ramps at Scott Driver Park would be dredged out so access could be enjoyed by all. I could not help but notice that Okeechobee was basically a ghost town this weekend, there were no campers at Okeetantie campground, and very few at KOA, nor were there any out of town fishing tournaments. Normally on Father’s Day there are a lot of family’s that go fishing together on this end of the lake, it was not the case this year.

Millions of dollars are being spent on rejuvenating the lake bottom and no one is more pleased than me, but the truth is local businesses are suffering and anything that can be done to help them should be done. No matter how low the lake gets access should be available, after all some of the lakes and reservoirs up north fluctuate 10 to 40 feet and they can still launch their boat. Local hotels, tackle shops, and fishing related businesses are all suffering. We have a beautiful new park in Scott Driver, a little attention to making sure the ramp is usable is not to much to ask.

Blue Gill fishing is red hot, a bream buster pole with 6 to 8 pound line, a small bobber and a split shot pinched on the line, with a cricket for bait are all that is necessary to land a nice bunch of tasty pan fish. We spent a good amount of time this week pursuing Blue Gill and a lot of the female fish we caught were still carrying roe, meaning that on the next full moon there will be some fish spawning.

Bass fishing is still very good, the water temperature is around 82 to 83 degrees and the fish are active for long periods. We caught fish on rattle traps, although I am sure any lipless crank bait would work as well. We threw crank baits in the deeper water and had great success with them as well, there is a lot of bait present and the fish were right on the bank chasing. We also fished a Carolina Rig and had a great amount of success with it as well, it did not seem to matter what plastic bait was on the hook they all seemed to produce fish, if fished slowly enough.

Captain Mike Shellen Report- May 21st, 2007:

 

The number one concern around the lake for the last few weeks is the lack of properly maintained ramps and launch areas on the north end. The ramps at the new Scott Driver Park area are fine to launch your boat, but once the boat is off the trailer it is nearly impossible to get to the Kissimmee River from the ramp area. If a north wind blows more than an inch or two of water towards the south end of the lake, the ramp is of no use to anyone. It appears as if mere bass fishermen do not carry enough weight with local government to justify getting the channel deepened to offer access to fish the river. There are several tournaments trails that are still scheduled to take place on the River in the next few weeks, and launching the boats entered in the tournaments will prove to be the most challenging part of the day.

 

Blue Gill fishing is still on fire, local canals and the river are still offering the finest pan fishing of the year. Buck Head Ridge canals, Harney Pond and Sportsmen’s

Canal are all giving up big stringers of fat, broad sided Blue Gill. Crickets, grass shrimp, or red worms are all working, with grass shrimp being the top catching bait, availability is the big problem. A cricket dangled under a small bobber will catch all you want to clean, once you locate a bunch of fish.

 

Captain Mike Shellen Report- May 6th, 2007:


The hottest bite on the Big “O” at this time is the pan fish bite. Blue Gill, Cichlids, and Oscars are being caught in big numbers all around the lake. The majority of the bite is taking place in the Kissimmee River and other local canals. Sportsmen canal has been particularly hot with, J&S and Harney Pond being mentioned as well.

 

The bait of choice is a cricket, a grass shrimp will work better if you can find them. There are two different ways of catching them at this time and one seems to work equally as well as the other. The first being the old standard cane pole with a small bobber and a split shot pinched on the line which suspends the bait up off of the bottom. The other method is without the bobber which gets the bait to sit right on the bottom in the face of the fish, this method, for those who have not tried it involves feeling the fish take your bait or watching the line move to detect a bite.

 

These two different methods both will work in a given situation. As always the best way to determine which is better that given day is to let the fish tell you, by the frequency of bites. I have seen a lot of big gills caught in the last week, it seems they bedded in big numbers on the May full moon. If you like to catch and eat fish, now is your time!

 

 

May to December - 2007

  April 2007 Captain Mike Shellen fishing Reports.  
  Past Captain Mike Shellen fishing Reports.  
     
     
  guide service business card

 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.

 
 

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