Lake Okeechobee Fishing Report Nov 2016

November has come to Lake Okeechobee and the water is finally cooling off and the bass are biting. It has been a long hot summer here in south Florida and the cool nights have been a relief for both fisherman and fish. Water levels on the lake are going down finally from the higher levels that we have had most of the summer; we are at fifteen and a half feet above sea level and going down daily. The locks at Clewiston are in operation but if the water level continues to go down should be open for the winter within the next couple weeks.
The bass fishing has been good and getting better almost daily with the water cooling off and more and more bass moving off the main lake toward spawning areas. We did have a pretty good spawn in October around that full moon as I am seeing a lot of bass fry in many areas of the lake. The live bait fishing has been really good the past couple weeks with some bass up to seven pounds being caught on wild shiners. The artificial bite has been a little tough but as this water level continues to go down and the water temperature continues to go down the bass will be getting fired up. The key to the artificial lure fishing right now has been finding clean water, the wind the last three weeks has kept the water pretty churned up in most areas and we are having to go farther out from Clewiston to find clean water. I have been getting a topwater bite to start the morning and then going to worms the rest of the day. Most of the bass I have been catching lately have been on a ten inch worm in the hayfield (aka needle grass) areas. A ten inch Gambler Ribbon Tail in watermelon red color until the sun gets high then going to a bluegrass or junebug color.
Areas that have been good for me have been East Wall, Ritta Island, and down south around Grassy, Long Point, and Buzzard’s Roost. But this changes daily as to which way the wind blows and how hard. You can fish the stained water with wild shiners but you will need to find clean water to catch bass here on Okeechobee. This is shaping up to be a great fishing season here on Lake Okeechobee and I am looking forward to being on the lake with past friends and lots of new ones this year. For those of you who don’t know me and my wife Diane we moved to Florida from Ohio about fifteen years ago so that I could become a fishing guide and with God’s blessing it has been a great ride. I look forward to getting up every morning and seeing what nature has to offer me out on the lake, it is truly Living a Dream for me. Now is the time to book a trip of a lifetime on world famous Lake Okeechobee, you won’t be disappointed. Until next report good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone on the water soon.

Summer on Okeechobee

It has been a good summer here on the south end of the lake with normal catches of good numbers of bass and a few bigger ones mixed in to keep everyone’s interest. The lake has been in good shape all summer with water levels being a bit higher then normal but very fishable. The algae bloom that has all of south Florida in a panic has been no worse here on the lake then in past years, actually right now there really isn’t much visible algae bloom to be seen, trust me I have seen years when the water glows green in the morning during the summer. Yes we have some issues that need taken care of here in Florida but what I see every day out here on Lake Okeechobee it is a healthy lake with a thriving population of bass, crappie, bluegill, and catfish.
For most of the summer I have been fishing offshore islands and structure with both live bait and artificial lures. This pattern will hold through the month of September and then the bass will start migrating toward spawning areas for the next six or seven months. Fall is a great time of the year to fish here on Lake Okeechobee as the water starts to cool off and the bass become more active. Another great thing about the fall here is that the lake isn’t real crowded like it is in the spring months so you can go fish almost anywhere without fishing in a pack of boats. During the summer months it is a great time to get a real early start on the day because by noon the bass are usually done biting and it is so hot out on the water it just makes good sense to get out early and catch what you can before it gets too hot. For artificial lures in the heat of the summer try some topwater lures to start out with a mix of lipless crankbaits to catch some early morning schooling bass. I then like to rig a Gambler Southern Swim Jig with a Little EZ trailer on one rod and a 10” worm on another rod, move along the grass line on the offshore islands and any main points that stick out in the lake. These points will be the first places to see bass as they start their move toward spawning areas this fall. One of the other things that really help this time of the year is some wind, yes I know as guides we complain about the wind all winter but it does help position the bass so that they are more likely to see our lures.
I am looking forward to an awesome year here on Okeechobee and now is the time to start planning a trip of a lifetime to one of the best fisheries in the South. Until next month good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone on the water soon.

1-13-16 Lake Okeechobee Fishing Report

We are catching huge numbers of bass and the size has been pretty good. Fish from three to six pound are coming to the boat as fast as you can reel them in and we have been mixing a few really big ones in to make this one of the best fishing destinations in the world. The water level has been hovering around fourteen and a half feet above sea level so we are able to fish almost anywhere on the lake as long as the wind will let us. If you are looking for a good time to come to Lake Okeechobee to catch some bass then now is the time to get on down here.
The live bait bite on wild shiners has been awesome with six dozen shiners not being enough to last till noon. The artificial lure bite has been improving daily and we have been catching some really nice ones in a lot of different areas. I have been catching them from Pelican Bay all the way up to the Harney Pond area, but this all depends on what direction the wind is blowing and how hard. The Gambler Ace rigged with a 1/8 ounce bullet weight has been my go to bait for the last couple weeks but the Gambler Why Not has also been producing some really nice bass by pitching it into isolated reed heads. The swimbait bite hasn’t picked up yet but it will as soon as more bass move in off the main lake toward spawning areas. Some of the areas I have been concentrating on are the East Wall, Ritta Island, Pelican Bay, and Bay Bottom with the wind deciding which area I fish.
Remember if you are coming to Lake Okeechobee to fish this time of the year bring some extra clothes because it just might be chilly and bring some heavy tackle including braided line in the 50 # class and heavy action rods. The bass are back in the grass and medium action rods are just not enough to get them out. Of course if you are going with one of the guides they will already have all the top quality gear on board to make your fishing experience the best. The crappie bite has been good with some of the better areas being around Bird Island, Harney Pond, and the rim canal south of Clewiston in the lily pads. February, March, and April are some of the busiest months on Okeechobee and the reason is that these are some of the best months to fish here so now is the time to get a trip planned.

12-9-15 Okeechobee Fishing Report

The bass on Okeechobee are really starting to turn on now that the water temperature is finally dropping a little. We are catching really good numbers from twenty to forty bass a day with a few really good ones mixed in from day to day. The live bait aka wild shiner bite has been better then the artificial lure bite but that will start to equal out as the water continues to cool and more bass move from open water toward spawning areas. I have been fishing from the Clewiston area south and the water has been really clean in most areas except when the wind really blows, the good news is that it only takes hours for the water to clean back up after a hard wind.
From Uncle Joe’s cut to Pelican Bay has all been good fishing with areas like the West Wall, East Wall, Ritta Island, Grassy and Long Point being some of my favorite places to fish right now. Try staying as close to open water as possible as this seems to be where most of the bass are staging right now get ready to move in to spawn. Some of my go to baits are made by Gambler Lures including the Ace, Why Not, and of course the EZ Swimmer. Natural bait colors work best for the EZ Swimmers and junebug or black/blue color for the Aces and Why Not. Heavy action rods and braided line in the fifty pound class are what you need to be fishing in the heavy cover here on Okeechobee; lighter line will just break your heart when a big bass gets on your hook. The fishing will continue to get better almost daily for the next few months as we head into our major spawning season.
If you are thinking about coming to Florida fishing on Lake Okeechobee now is the time to get your plans made, guides and rooms will be booked up soon, so don’t let another year get by without fishing one of the most famous lakes in the world. A tip I want to pass on to new boats here on Lake Okeechobee is that the trails through the grassy areas are boat trails not fishing trails, it is very easy to get run over in one of these narrow trails and sitting in one fishing is just not a safe thing to be doing. Until next report good luck, tight lines, and I hope to see everyone on the water soon. www.markkingfishing.com