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Entries in Rodman Reservoir (7)

Friday
Jan242014

Strong Start for Second Year of Florida's TrophyCatch

 

This Lake Okeechobee largemouth would have qualified as a TrophyCatch, but Activist Angler caught it before program began.

From Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:

The first year of TrophyCatch has ended, and the awards were all given out, but now the challenge is on for year two. TrophyCatch rewards anglers for catching, documenting and releasing largemouth bass heavier than 8 pounds in Florida.

The second year is off to a great start, with 63 Lunker entries (8-9.9 pounds) and 26 Trophy Club (10-12.9 pounds) recorded in less than  four months, and more than twice as many entries in December 2013 compared with December 2012. The first Hall of Fame entry (greater than 13 pounds) is awaiting verification.

Besides checking out the gallery, you should also review the rules and prizes. Then be sure to follow us on Facebook to see all the latest entries and get updates on special events.

The peak season is still in front of us, and FWC biologists have worked to narrow down a list of top sites to recommend to bass anglers for 2014 based on data from anglers, scientific sampling and an understanding of habitat trends and local conditions. By participating in TrophyCatch, you can help these biologists to further improve management and conservation of trophy bass.

By releasing them alive (a mandatory condition of TrophyCatch) you will help sustain the fishery for the future and be rewarded. Rewards start, for Lunker Club entries (8-9.9 pounds) with $100 in gift cards, from partners like Bass Pro Shops, Rapala and/or Dick’s Sporting Goods, and are complemented by custom apparel by Bass King Clothing, a personalized certificate and window decal.

Below is a list of top bass fishing sites. For more details, go here, and click on “Fishing Sites/Forecasts” to find more details, lots of specific local fishing tips, local contacts, specific rules, access points, attractors, ramps and quarterly updates.

West Lake Tohopekaliga (Lake Toho; 18,810 acres) is adjacent to Kissimmee. Lake Toho is known for producing excellent crappie and bream fishing as well as trophy largemouth bass. Angler surveys from August to November 2013 indicated bass anglers experienced an exceptional catch success rate of 0.96 fish per hour, which was the sixth consecutive year angler success was excellent.

Lake Kissimmee (34,976 acres) is the largest of five big lakes in the Kissimmee Chain. As a result of aggressive habitat management by the FWC, anglers enjoy a diverse and expansive plant community. Angler surveys in spring 2013 showed an angler catch success rate of 0.56 fish oer hour (double the statewide average), with an estimated 177 bass 24 inches or greater caught and released during the survey.

Lake George (46,000 acres) is the second largest lake in the state, and is located northwest of Deland and east of Ocala. Lake George, a natural lake in the St. Johns River, has extensive aquatic vegetation, primarily eelgrass, that provides excellent habitat for bass.

Lake Monroe (9,400 acres) is a shallow lake north of Sanford near Orlando. For the past several years, electrofishing surveys by biologists have documented some of the highest numbers of lunker bass for the St. Johns River chain.

Rodman Reservoir (9,500 acres) near Gainesville and south of Palatka, was impounded in 1968. It has been known for trophy largemouth bass ever since. Much of the fishery’s success is attributed to abundant habitat in the form of stumps and submersed vegetation, and periodic drawdowns occurring every three years. Although drawdowns on Rodman are primarily to control invasive aquatic vegetation, biologists have observed strong largemouth bass spawns associated with reservoir drawdowns. Following the large spawns, bass provide the majority of the angler catch.

Lake Tarpon (2,500acres) is near Tampa/St. Petersburg in Pinellas County. Biologists using a boat electrofisher in spring 2013 caught bass at a rate of 2.7 bass/ per minute, a rate considerably higher than typical. Most bass were 12 to 16 inches long; however, quality and trophy fish are present in good numbers.

Istokpoga (28,000 acres) is between the Kissimmee Chain of lakes and Lake Okeechobee in Highlands County near Sebring. Past angler surveys have estimated more than 1,000 bass over 8 pounds being caught in less than a year’s time. Further, an impressive 46 bass caught from Lake Istokpoga were entered into the TrophyCatch program during the past year – the most entries from a public resource during that time period. Another 15 bass from Lake Istokpoga were entered into the BigCatch program (an FWC angler recognition program that only requires a photo and statement that the bass exceeded 24 inches or eight pounds, making documentation easier, resulting in a certificate but no significant rewards).  

Tenoroc Fish Management Area (8,400 acres) near Lakeland provides a special opportunity to bass fish in Florida’s famous phosphate pits. These 7- to 227-acre lakes were created by draglines during phosphate mining operations. As a result, lake bottoms have irregular contours with depths to 35 feet. Tenoroc is northeast of Lakeland and can be accessed from Highway 33 just south of Intestate 4. Call the Tenoroc Headquarters at 863-499-2422 for more information or to make reservations. The area is open to public fishing Friday through Monday. Anglers must check in and out at the office, deposit their valid fishing license and pay $3 for a daily fishing permit.

Winter Haven Chain of Lakes, especially the southern portion,may well be Central Florida’s best-kept bass fishing secret. Polk County is home to 554 named lakes, the state’s certified record Florida Largemouth Bass (17.27 pounds), and sells more freshwater fishing licenses than any other county. The chain comprises 14 lakes, from 25 to 1,160 acres, and more than 4,000 acres of fishable waters.

Mosaic Fish Management Area (1,000 acres), near Fort Meade in Polk and Hardee counties, is definitely worthwhile. Anglers had an average catch rate of over one bass per hour last year. There are 12 phosphate pits, from 10 to 200 acres, with depths down to 30 feet. The FMA is open to public fishing from Friday through Monday. No reservations can be made, so lake permits are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Call 863-648-3200 for more information.

Lake Weohyakapka (Lake Walk-in-Water; 7,500 acres) is south of Orlando and east of Lake Wales. FWC biologists sampled and released 27 bass weighing more than 8 pounds during the past year.

Lake Okeechobee (470,000 acres) is Florida’s largest lake and the second largest body of freshwater in the contiguous United States. A 100-yard-wide rim canal circles the lake, and secondary canals and cuts link to it, resulting in hundreds of miles of fishing water. October 2013 electrofishing samples yielded excellent catch rates for the lake, with abundant bass over 18 inches. The past four years have yielded the highest success rates, each over 1.25 bass per hour, in the 36-year history of the lake’s creel survey.

Everglades Water Conservation Areas 2 and 3 (1,125 square miles) are marshlands intersected by more than 200 miles of canals. Originally designed for flood control and water supply, the area provides some of the best largemouth bass fishing in the country.

First Season Winners

Bob Williams of Alloway, N.J., earned the TrophyCatch Championship Ring for the first season. It was presented at Bass Pro Shops in Orlando last month by Keith Alan, from the American Outdoors Fund, and Tom Champeau, director of the Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management. His winning catch was a 13-pound, 14-ounce largemouth from Rodman Reservoir. He previously earned a free ($500 value) fiberglass replica of his catch and other awards totaling approximately $1,000.

A $10,000 check was handed to Peter Perez at a special ceremony at West Lake Tohopekaliga by Experience Kissimmee representatives Debby Guertin and Terry Segraves, along with Champeau. Perez caught the largest TrophyCatch verified bass from Osceola County to win the prize. His winning 12-pound, 3-ounce bass was caught last March in a neighborhood pond on a Rat-L-Trap.

The winner of the 2013 Phoenix 619 bass boat, powered by Mercury, was surprised angler Frank Ay. His prize was presented to him following a club tournament on Lake Okeechobee by professional bass angler Bobby Lane, Champeau and KP Clements, the TrophyCatch coordinator. Ay won the $40,000 grand prize via a random drawing from among 4,000 anglers that registered for TrophyCatch the first season.

To Enter

For the second year, which began Oct. 1, documenting a TrophyCatch has gotten simpler. Start by registering for free here, and you will be automatically entered to win a Phoenix bass boat, powered by Mercury and equipped with a PowerPole.

This year the only required photo is one of the entire bass (head to tail) on a scale, with the weight visible. Always attempt to get that shot, but if it isn’t perfect, supplement it with a close up of the scale, a photo of the entire fish on a bumpboard or tape measure, and maybe even a shot of the bass’s girth. This will help a verification team of fisheries biologists determine if the fish is eligible for recognition.

You can also submit a bragging photo and perhaps a release photo on the website. Every verified entry gives you 10 more chances for the Phoenix boat drawing in October.

Tuesday
Jan072014

Click the photo to learn about Florida's 2013 TrophyCatch season and the bass from Rodman Reservoir that won top honors.

Wednesday
May022012

Rodman Reservoir Attacked ---- Again

Rodman produces some of Florida's biggest bass, but it is a valuable resource for many other reasons.

Anti-fishing zealots have devised a new assault in their never-ending quest to destroy one of Florida’s best bass fisheries. This time they’re using the federal Endangered Species Act.

Those anglers who participated in the April 21 Save Rodman Open Fishing Tournament will help send a right-back-at-you volley across the bow of Florida Defenders of the Environment, Florida Wildlife Federation and Earthjustice.

And you can help too, by making a donation to Save Rodman Reservoir. Go here to learn more.

The tournament is the only fundraiser of the year for Save Rodman Reservoir Inc. (SRR), a small band of volunteers who have served as the guerilla resistance against the power and money of the environmental movement since 1995.

“Rodman Reservoir has been sitting there for 40 years and I can’t, for the life of me, see why any level-headed person would want to get rid of it,” said Ed Taylor, SRR president, who adds that the blind ideology of these groups has been driving him crazy for 17 years.

“What the enviros are hung up on is [the belief] that Rodman is not natural, and so it needs to go,” he said. “But the capitol building in Tallahassee is built in the middle of what used to be woods. It’s not natural either. A lot of things are not natural.”

Read the rest of my B.A.S.S. Times article about Rodman here.

Wednesday
Mar282012

Your Help Needed to Save Florida's Rodman Reservoir

This nearly 13-pound bass caught by guide Sean Rush in January 2011 is an example of what's swimming in Rodman Reservoir.

Go fish.

Specifically, go fish April 21 on Florida’s Rodman Reservoir.

Your participation in that Saturday tournament will help save the world-class bass fishery that environmentalists have been trying to destroy for nearly 20 years. Find out more at Save Rodman Reservoir (SRR).

“Rodman Reservoir has been sitting there for 40 years and I can’t, for the life of me, see why any level-headed person would want to get rid of it,” says Ed Taylor, SRR president.

“What the enviros are hung up on is that Rodman is not natural and so it needs to go,” he says.

 Rodman, built on the Ocklawaha River, is the last remnant of the ill-fated Cross Florida Barge Canal, which was halted in 1971, when it was only a third complete. It was a bad idea from the start, initiated during a less-enlightened time. 

For the environmentalists, Rodman is a constant reminder of that era, and they want it gone. Period.

They are willingly blind to the fact that this 9,000-acre reservoir is the exception to the rule in our environmental blunders. Despite ourselves, we created a thriving, diverse ecosystem, with a dozen different types of habitat. The St. Johns River Water Management District says 115 bird species live in the Rodman system, compared to 45 along the Ocklawaha River. Seventy-four were observed only at the reservoir.

Also, Rodman is readily available as a water supply source, as Florida cities consider how they will meet demand in the not too distant future.

None of that is important for the environmental zealots, who want what they want and likely see in the Obama administration a chance to get it. They have lots of anti-fishing friends in Washington, D.C., these days, which could facilitate their suit to force the U.S. Forest Service to destroy the dam because --- they allege --- it endangers manatees and shortnose sturgeon.

An example of their political clout occurred back in 2003, when the Florida Senate unanimously passed a bill to ensure the future of Rodman by making it a reserve, and the House followed with 92-26 passage.

“Sixty-five environmental groups opposed it and so Gov. Jeb Bush vetoed it,” Taylor says. “That’s what we’re up against.”

And that’s why your help is needed on April 21. 

Thursday
Mar082012

Go Fishing to Help Save Rodman Reservoir

The environmentalists are coming after Rodman Reservoir again. For nearly 20 years, they’ve been trying to destroy this world-class bass fishery on Florida’s Ocklawaha River

Even though it is a diverse ecosystem, a wildlife haven, and one of Florida’s most popular destinations for outdoor recreation, they want it gone because it is the last remnant of the Cross-Florida Barge Canal, which was discontinued more than 40 years ago.

I’ll have an in-depth opinion piece about this in the April issue of B.A.S.S. Times. It will include an angler’s call to arms, which I also will issue right here right now.

You can help protect Rodman Reservoir by participating in the 2012 Annual Save Rodman Open Fishing Tournament on April 21. Go here to learn more and to find out the history of Rodman and the fight to save it.

Also, here’s an article in the Orlando Sentinel about this newest attempt to destroy Rodman. I'll warn you that it favors the environmentalists, with a couple of outrageous quotes included that aren't challenged or countered.

And be sure to read my column in the April issue of B.A.S.S. Times. You can subscribe to it by becoming a member of B.A.S.S. It’s a great publication, providing news about fisheries issues such as access and invasive species, as well as how-to articles and tournament coverage