February, March, and April are generally the best months to target largemouth bass in Southwest Florida since it’s during the spring months that the fish will move into shallower waters to spawn. We recommend using live shiners or plastic worm baits rigged Texas style for plenty of action.
When planning a day of freshwater fishing, check your local weather forecast and monitor barometric pressure changes to increase your chances of catching a bass worth bragging about.
Caloosahatchee River Regional Park
The Caloosahatchee River waterway connects Lake Okeechobee to the Gulf of Mexico and offers anglers plenty of good brackish fishing opportunities. There are places to fish for bass in brackish water from the bank at Caloosahatchee River Regional Park. The park is open from 7 AM to 7:30 PM and is located at 19130 North River Road in Alva. Parking fees are $1 per hour or $5 for the day. State fishing licenses are required for both residents and non-residents.
Cape Coral Canal System
Good bass fishing can be found in the extensive Cape Coral canal system. Freshwater launch access can be found at the BMX Boat Ramp at SW 7th Court, just North of Trafalgar. The BMX Boat Ramp offers access to freshwater canals south of Pine Island Road. There are several lakes located within this system including: Alhambra Lake, Lake Kennedy, Saratoga Lake, Shamrock Lake, Killerney Lake to the Northeast, and Weatherly Lake to the South. There are also two small piers that provide bank access at Kennedy Park, 400 Santa Barbara Boulevard. State fishing licenses are required for both residents and non-residents.
Lakes Regional Park
Lakes Regional Park is located at 7330 Gladiolus Drive in Fort Myers, just west of US 41. This park features 158 acres of freshwater quarry lake that is ideal for catching largemouth bass, bluegill and catfish. The park is managed by Lee County and provides bank, pier, and small boat access (canoes and paddle boat rentals are also available). Parking fees are $1 per hour or $5 for the day. The lake ranges in depth from just a few inches to 20 feet. Fish deeper areas when possible and use live golden shiners or plastic worms for the best chance at hooking a largemouth bass. A Florida fishing license is required for both residents and non-residents
Drainage Ditches and Community Ponds
Don’t dismiss some of the freshwater drainage ditches alongside the roadways in Lee County, but do be mindful of heavy traffic and always obey private property or trespassing laws. During the summer rainy season, high water flow through several of these drainage ditches will concentrate largemouth bass and black crappie in more confined areas for excellent success. Look for unique areas that are far enough away from traffic to ensure safety and insulation from the traffic noise.
Many local communities will also allow licensed residents to freshwater fish in community ponds. If the ponds in the community have been established for several years, and there is minimal pressure on the fish population from the residents, it’s worth trying your luck. As with fishing any freshwater area in Florida, just be sure to keep an eye out for alligators and water snakes.
For more information: Want more information on things to do, places to go, and the best spots to enjoy the outdoors in Southwest Florida? Visit the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau’s website at http://www.fortmyers-sanibel.com.
Source: Lee County Parks & Recreation, http://www.leeparks.org.