Captain Mike Shellen's Fishing Reports
May, 2007 to December, 2007
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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
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.
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
Captain Michael Shellen
If you are interested in scheduling a guide trip call:
Toll free 888-203-3474
Shellen - Thanksgiving
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
Shellen Report- Sept. 30th, 2007:
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.
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.
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.
Shellen Report- Sept. 16th, 2007:
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
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
is back from vacation. 9-9-07
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.
Shellen Report- August 5th, 2007:
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!
Shellen Report- July 29th, 2007:
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.
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
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.
Shellen Report- July 8th, 2007:
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.
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!
Shellen Report- June 25th, 2007:
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.
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
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.
Shellen Report- May 21st, 2007:
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
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.
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
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.
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 -