7 tips for fishing at Summer Lake Okeechobee
Fishing in Lake Okeechobee in the summer is an experience that requires a little fishing ingenuity. Of course, Lake Okeechobee is one of the best Florida bass fishing spots, but you need to add some extra thought to your summer strategy. Keep these important Lake Okeechobee fishing tips in mind and think carefully about where to fish on the Sunshine State’s largest lake this summer.
1. Almost every Okeechobee Lake fisheries report you read in the summer will ask you to look for two types of areas: areas with a current or areas with cover. The top tip for fishing Lake Okeechobee is to focus on shaded spots with cover or areas with running water where the water temperature is likely to be several degrees cooler.
2. Go early. The best summer fishing in Florida is often around sunrise. You can try starting with a “walk-the-dog” style topwater bait and working it near areas of grass or vegetation edges.
3. As the summer sun rises higher in the sky, switch to bait or baits that can be processed deeper in the water column or on the ground. Senkos, soft plastic worms, and soft plastic baits are worth a try when the fish are going deep to avoid the midday heat.
4. Keep your presentation slow. When freshwater fishing in Florida during the summer months, keep in mind that the bass wants to save as much energy as the water temperatures rise. You will likely get more strikes if you work your bait and bait slowly.
5. If you are fishing from a boat, use your fish finder or sonar to pinpoint the underwater structure. The structure can be in the form of ledges, holes or slopes. The bass will stay near the structure during the summer as these areas provide shelter for ambush prey.
6. To successfully fish Lake Okeechobee in the summer, you need to find schools of active bait fish. Largemouth bass often hunt shoals of shade, shimmer or bluegill during this time of year. Therefore, pay attention to activities on the water surface. If you find the baitfish hurtling to the surface, cast a crank or floating bait that mimics the appearance of the type of baitfish you discovered.
7. Last but not least, always check the weather before planning a summer day fishing on Lake Okeechobee. Since the lake is shallow (the average depth is about 9 feet) and covers about 730 square miles, it doesn’t take a lot of wind to create big waves. Florida’s subtropical climate can also mean summer thunderstorms. So take a weather radio with you and check the forecast often. Remember, the best fishing days in Florida are safe fishing days.
You can read a current Florida fishing report for Lake Okeechobee for more information on the local areas the fish are biting or to see which baits work best. From there, all you need to do is buy your Florida fishing license, check fishing regulations, and head to Southeast Florida.
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide in southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has been featured in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @ shefishes2.