The Butler Chain of Lakes has over 5,000 acres in surface water; distributed in the following 13 interconnected lakes. The lakes in the Butler Chain are part of the WWNCD (Windermere Water Navigation Control District). The WWNCD is the largest lake MSTU in Orange County, including 27 lakes having a combined surface water area of over 6,000 acres.
The lakes in the Butler Chain are popular because the water is much deeper and clearer that the lakes throughout Florida and especially so compared to the other popular lakes in the Central Florida area. There are a lot of fishing techniques you can use here that you can’t use on the shallow lakes throughout the area. This chain of lakes is also popular for the amazing scenery with all the amazing homes that line the chain. Famous people such as Shaquille O’Neil, Ken Griffey, Jr., Tiger Woods and many others own homes in this lake community.
The Clermont Chain of Lakes are located in the town of Clermont, Florida mostly with a couple of the lakes in the town of Groveland as well. This chain of lakes totals more than 8,600 acres with 11 lakes and a couple of boat ramps to make it easy to get access to the water. Most of the water will be tea-colored with the exception of Lake Minneola, which is relatively clear compared to most of the lakes in the Central Florida area.
Disney World provides some very good fishing on its private guided tours, however, they are quite expensive compared to a normal guided bass fishing trip. It is Disney World though, so the background is something that you can’t really compare to other bass fishing destinations and the fishing is very good as well. You will most likely be fishing with live shiners and you should have plenty of action to keep you busy. Big bass are possible here as well, however, bass in the 5 to 7 pound range would be considered very solid bass for the Disney World Lakes with lots of 2 to 3 pound bass for action. In the other popular lakes to fish in the Orlando area, a 7 pound bass is still big, but bass up to and above 10 pounds are possible.
Johns Lake is a popular bass fishing lake just north of the Disney area. From many of the resorts and hotels, you’re looking at a 20 to 35 minute drive depending on where you are located and what time of day you are leaving for the lake.
This lake gets plenty of fishing pressure, but even with the parking lot filling up, the lake doesn’t feel too crowed when you’re out there because the boaters usually spread out quite a bit. You have lots of grass to fish here with most of it along the shoreline but some is offshore as well. It’s a shallow water fishery, so plan on coming here to flip and fish plenty of your shallow water favorites around a variety of vegetation.
Orlando’s fab five are five water bodies that are managed for quality size fish and/or a unique fishing experience. For many anglers, this will be the least expensive way to catch something significant or to leave with some excellent memories while fishing the Orlando area. For those of you that can’t afford to do a guided fishing trip to some of the area hot spots, fishing one of the fab five lakes is a nice option to have if you want to get away from the touristy stuff for a morning or evening.
The Kissimmee Chain of Lakes is one of the top bass fishing destinations in the country. There are a number of lakes on the chain that provide some excellent bass fishing for numbers and size. Expect to catch lots of bass in the 3 to 5 pound range with some pushing 10 pounds or more. Live shiners is the way to go for consistently catching lots of big bass. Lake Toho is fairly close to the parks and it has huge bass, so it is one of the more popular destinations to fish out of for many anglers who come to the Orlando area.
Many people come to the Orlando area for the theme parks and the bass fishing, but there is also some excellent saltwater fishing about an hour to two hours away depending on where you are staying in Orlando and where you decide to travel to.
If you head west, you can go fish the Tampa Bay area, Sarasota, Homosassa and the Crystal, River area. Tampa Bay and Sarasota are the more popular tourist destinations and they both offer excellent inshore and offshore fishing. Homosassa and Crystal River have some incredible inshore fishing and you can get away from the crowds in both destinations.
If you head east, you can go fish the Space Coast. You can fish inshore or offshore here, although, the inshore fishing in Mosquito Lagoon and the Indian River gets most of the attention, especially among anglers that like to fish freshwater for bass. When fishing the inshore waters here, you will most likely be fishing the shallow grass flats for redfish and sea trout, which is very similar to fishing the shallows for bass. New Smyrna Beach is also a great destination. It is very close to Daytona Beach and you have some great inshore, offshore and shore fishing options there.