Just Back From Okeechobee

Discussion in 'Fishing Reports - Out of State' started by dmk, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. dmk


    Fished Okeechobee, Alligator Alley, Sawgrass and Lake Istokpoga between 2/10 and 2/19/08. It was a satisfactory trip but not as great as past years. The best fishing in terms of numbers caught was Alligator Alley and Sawgrass; in terms of fish quality the best was the Big O. My biggest bass came on the 19th, a big female weighing 5 lbs. 14 oz.. I tossed a Zoom watermelon fluke back into some cane and she nailed it. Also, my biggest catch weighed somewhere around 100 lbs. and came in a dynamite hole off the south end of the rim canal going out of Clewiston. I threw my lure toward the bank and let it settle. When I went it lift the bait and work it; it wouldn't budge. I told my guide I'm hung up and I gave one H$#@ of a jerk and it jerked back. After about 5 minutes of pulling and tugging I had this large head with a whole bunch of teeth sticking out of the water at the corner of the boat. I had hooked it right behind that big tooth that is longer than the rest on the right side of his head.....my first gator. I had never been to Istokpoga before; it is a nice lake of 27,700 acres (5th largest in the state). It has a problem of to much hydrilla: 80 percent of it has hydrilla. My guide and I worked hard and finally caught 11 nice 2 and 3 pound bass which ALL camOe out pepper grass.

    The trip was disappointing because we were never able to get out on the Big O due to the wind. The big O is standing at 10 foot level which is 5 foot below normal and at that depth it is dangerous when the wind (10-15mph) blows every days. The lake level is a big source of conversation down there because the lakes to the north of it are at normal level and the canals in alligator alley to south are high. There are several theories going around as to why it has not come up and the local government is not providing any explanation or comment at all.

    In terms of baits used; the most productive is still the Watermelon Fluke on the Big O. The 5 inch Plum with Emeral Fleck Senko (wacky rig) is the bait of choice (the basses) on Alligator Alley. On the lake they would occassionally hit a baby torpedo topwater and also DT6 crankbait.

    You may have noticed I made reference a couple of times to a guide (which I had all 9 days) who just happens to be a family member. Anyone who might be interested in a guide trip on the Big O or the other locations mentioned can PM me and I give them information on how to hook up with him. I'm sure his rate will be better than what the Marina's will charge. Marina's are charging $250 for a half day, $350 for a full day. OH YEAH, the wild shiners they will have you use are $20 a dozen.

    Also, if you have any specific questions about the Big O, etc. send me a PM and I'll try to answer them.

  2. Lewzer

    Lewzer Powderfinger

    Nice. I love Lake Istokpoga.
    Did you see any bedding bass? Buddy in central Florida has been seeing them bedding the last week up his ways.

  3. My dad lives about 4 minutes from Istapoka's north boat ramp. I made it down last year and got to fish for one morning. Beautiful lake, its pretty much the same depth. I caught a some very nice crappies. Thats all my dad targets and he said last Tuesday was his best day of the winter so far this year. Would love to make it down to do some serious fishing like you did but don't see that happening for awhile.
  4. Thanks for the report!

    My wife's uncle and grandfolks have lived right on Chobee for 35 years and in the uncle's opinion the bass fishing is not nearly as good as it used to be. I tell him it could also be that he is getting older and doesn't chase the bass daily like he used to:D

    That is a wonderful area for bass anglers and the wife's family has pulled some lunkers over the years. They are are getting older now and although they literally live on the lake they just don't fish much anymore - blows me away!
  5. dmk


    Saw lots of beds but the big one was the only one I caught on a bed and I put her back.

  6. Blackdfl

    Blackdfl SailfishCity.com

    The big lake is a major source of controversy right now in Florida, in terms of water conservation and water management. I suspect if the lakes and rivers to the North are at normal levels, it's probably because they are restricting the flow of water into the South Florida Water Management district, to keep their own levels normal. I'm not positive on that, but that would be my suspicion. We are under water restrictions here in Florida right now, and probably will be for the remainder of the year due to lower than normal rain fall last year.

    The waters to the South of Lake Okeechobee could be due to the levels of rain they have been receiving further South. With the lake currently at 4 ft below the average for this time of year, the locks will most likely be closed.

    The reason Lake O is such a big controversy right now is the way the water management authorities in the past have designed it to release excess water, naturally the lake flows to the South, but to dry up much of the swamp land for use of things such as sugar cane fields, they have re-routed much of the drain-off to the East and West. There are major organizations of citizens fighting to have the Lake's drian off restored to it's natural state, like the River's Coalition, to stop the pollution from Lake O that is destroying the environment of our rivers on the coasts.

    Found a pretty cool little animation of the flow of Lake O, but unfortuntalely it won't let me post up the link.

    I'll put it up on my website later.

  7. Father n law lives in Buckhead Ridge 5th st we are not going to make it down this yr unfortunately last yr was a slow yr in the canals for me still cought some but not near the quanity or quality of yrs past. I have a 6 and an 8 lber out of the canal behind his place like to think its the same fish. What a great fishery the big O is cought several grass pike there last yr cant wait till next trip down hopefully next yr