In Florida, they’re called “Speckled Perch” and they’re some of the most popular fish in the state. Florida is often known for its saltwater fishing environs since the state is one large peninsula, sandwiched between the Gulf of Mexico and The Atlantic Ocean.
But Florida also sits on what might be the largest aquifer in the entire world, giving way to well over a thousand freshwater springs. These springs feed into rivers and lakes throughout the state, most of which are stocked well with crappie or Speckled Perch if you prefer. Crappie fishing in Florida covers the entire state where they are abundant in nearly all of Florida’s many lakes.
Crappie also happens to be one of the most delicious fish species, so it stands to reason that Floridians would flock to freshwater, attempting to catch as many as possible. There are several, fantastic fishing spots in Florida if crappie fishing is on your list.
9 Best Fishing Lakes in Florida
Catching crappie is one thing. Knowing where the best crappie fishing spots are is another. There are more places in Florida to catch crappie than is possible to list in a single article, but several lakes stand out, especially in the winter.
1. Lake Talquin
Might as well start with one of the most well-known lakes in the state, especially when it comes to crappie. The state record was caught here, after all. Lake Talquin covers 8,800 acres and is best known for its Black Crappie.
The depth varies but runs from about 15’ to 40’, and it’s full of tree stumps and logs. If you catch crappie under 10”, you will have to toss it back, however. The fish and game officials tend to show up when you least expect it, so it’s not a good idea to press the issue.
2. Lake Okeechobee
You can’t miss this lake. It’s that big circle close to the bottom section of the Florida Peninsula and is easily the biggest lake in the entire state. Lake Okeechobee covers 730 square miles, which is ⅔ the size of Rhode Island. It’s also full of crappie, with an exceptional population due to all the breathing room.
3. Chain of Lakes
Chain of Lakes are located in Winter Haven, Florida and they are prime spots for crappie fishing. What makes the Chain of Lakes special though, is the number of amenities you have at your disposal. You can throw a rock in any direction and probably hit a bait shop.
4. Lake Kissimmee
Another Central Florida location, Lake Kissimmee is one of those lakes where you can wade through almost anywhere, as long as you’re taller than 5’. Some spots are as deep as 12’, but they’re few and far between.
Crappie easily reach 14”+ in this lake which is well-known for its bass. If you’re not having the best day fishing for crappie, switch your gear and try for bass. The odds are on your side.
5. Lake Tohopekagila
Florida lakes have some difficult-to-pronounce names. But you don’t have to spell it or say it to find good crappie fishing. Also located in Central Florida, Tohopekagila is home to some of the best crappie fishing around.
6. Lake Istokpoga
Known for its bass, bluegill, and catfish, crappie kind of fly under the radar on Lake Istokpga. That doesn’t mean they aren’t there, however. In fact, they’re abundant. The ever-popular bass fishing in the area simply eclipses the crappie.
Lake Istokpoga covers 26,760 acres of real estate, and it’s rarely so crowded that you can’t find a prime spot. It’s also very shallow, between 4’ and 8’. That means you will have plenty of success fishing on the shoreline as well.
7. Lake George
Lake George is not only a favorite because of its high crappie population but also because of its charter boats and tours. Don’t let the tourists bother you, though. There is plenty of space for everyone to catch crappie, especially in the winter.
8. Tenoroc Fish Management Area
Okay, it’s not technically a lake. It’s a series of phosphate pits reclaimed by the state, converted into a series of lakes, and stocked with excellent crappie fishing opportunities. Tenoroc is consistently stocked by the state of Florida and the crappie fishing is excellent.
9. Lake Monroe
Last but not least, Lake Monroe is one of the most aesthetically pleasing lakes in the entire state. It’s a beautiful area, and you will catch your limit of crappie in the winter months. Of course, you can catch crappie all year round in Florida, but Lake Monroe is best when fishing in the winter.
When do crappie start biting in Florida
You can catch crappie all year long in Florida. However, the winter months are when you will truly bring home your limit daily. While it doesn’t get too cold in Florida, November to March means spawning time for crappie. You’ll have your best opportunities if you hit the shallows throughout those five months or when the temperature is in the 50s.
Florida is a great state for fishing crappie but you are limited to 25 per day and they have to be over 10” in some areas. Check your local Fish and Wildlife Management for specifics. In Florida, you can fish without a fishing license until you turn 16.
After that, everyone has to have one, whether you are a resident or out-of-state. Big Catch Florida is the state angler recognition system. If you’re from out-of-state, or even if you are a resident, be sure to submit your qualifying crappie and they will send you a certificate and a decal.
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