Winter Haven Chain of Lakes

Tip of the week 
Techniques 

The local bass fishing has taken a turn for the better if your dedicated enough to take on our colder and windier weather conditions. It may seem like a good time to sleep or skip fishing but you'd be missing out on some really good fishing. The best colors have been darker colors such as olive and orange or black and purple are the best bets as they do an awesome job mimicking bluegill. The fish that are shallow are holding near floating hyacinth mats near deeper water. Wood and other forms of hard cover such as docks will hold fish too as they like to touch these pieces of structure for warmth and security. The topwater bite has been decent even with the cold water, sometimes it's the best way to search for bass in thicker grass since they are weed less and attract fish from greater distances. Then once you've found the fish pick it apart with subsurface flies such as Clousers and Wooly Buggers. These mats are constantly being blown around the lake so find the mats and fish around them. Crawfish flies in rust or purple also work well when targeting bedding fish. The bucks (male bass) are the designated security guards and you'll catch them off the beds first. After the buck has been caught and released the larger female can also strike and this is when you have a legitimate shot at landing a trophy sized largemouth. Our local spec fishing has been great lately with small black damselfly nymphs and bright bead chain streamers fished either under lights drifting or along deeper grass lines. The bluegill have been being caught on heavier Pheasant tails or Hares Ear along drop offs with no strike indicators fished around grass lines and wood. Also casting white Wooly Bugger parallel to the shoreline and fished slowly off the bottom has been picking up quite a few large panfish and specs. Poppers have worked on calmer days or slightly warmer days and are worth trying but definitely add a dropper behind it as this will be your best bet.

Seven-day forecast 

Weather conditions are cooling slightly as the week continues with some spotty showers coming but mostly consistent sunny days with some manageable wind. The water level on the Peace River is at normal levels. Water levels on the Econ are slightly above average. The Withlacoochee, the Myakka and the Kissimmee Rivers are low. The Hillsborough River is slightly above average.

Conditions 
Must Have Flies 
Clouser Minnow chartruese 6 Buy from Orvis.com
Tunghead Pheasant Tail Jig natural 16 Buy from Orvis.com
Clouser Minnow white 6 Buy from Orvis.com
Adams Parachute Dry Fly red 10 Buy from Orvis.com
Weedless Sneaky Pete Popper chartruese 6 Buy from Orvis.com
Orvis CJ Nymph olive Buy from Orvis.com
Andy Thornal Company
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