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Mike's Bait House

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South West Florida Freshwater Scene

Mike and I want to welcome you to a new Column in the Naples edition of the Coastal Angler.

Each Month I will be writing a column on fishing in the many freshwater canals and lakes throughout South West Florida. We will have fishing reports from Lake Okeechobee, Lake Trafford, Lake Istokpoga, and the Various Everglades Canal systems in our area. I will also be including the best bet for catching largemouth bass, pan fish, various cichlids including peacock bass, and any other fish of interest in our Freshwater Fishery. I will be highlighting some tips and techniques that are working on various species and were the best bets are for the Month. I have an extensive background in freshwater fishing both in our area and the many lakes around Florida. I have learned to Freshwater fish from an early age fishing a fly to Bass on the local Golf Course Lakes and then Okeechobee. I spend much of my time now, guiding on the Everglades canal Systems. These days I mostly Fly Fish for bass and cichlids, but have done quite a bit of Tournament Bass Fishing back in the 80’s and 90’s. Just so you know, I am not a fly snob, I used to fish a Skeeter SF 185 DC with a Pro V 150 Yamaha, that I received from George Smith and Ned Johnson back in the good old days fishing Okeechobee. (Red, White and Blue Sparkle oh my)

Enough about my back ground, let us get to the nuts and bolts of this Months, column.

Unfortunately I am starting this month of August off in one of the most difficult months to freshwater fish in our area. High Freshwater flow from heavy summer rain and High Temperatures really hinder our fishing this month.

Lake O Levels are still way up there and the fish are deep in cover. Fishing is tough this month on the Big O, but not impossible. Shiners and Flipping should get you some good bites.

The Everglades Canals are high and Hot, and you certainly do not want to spend the middle of the day out in the Sun sweltering. With that being said there are a few places and times to fish this month.

Lake Trafford has still got some good pan fish fishing and some bass on top water early in the morning. The key is early here just before first light and for a few hours in the morning. Watch carefully, and you Might even find some schooling fish. I like small Rapalas and Top water walking baits on the smaller side.

The Interceptor Canal that is about half way across I75 can have some pretty good fishing in it this month. Not great mind you but at least better than most of the other glades canals. I love to throw small top water flies here, or tiny crankbaits and 4 inch worms. The Trail Hopper fly in Olive works well early in the morning and that is when you want to fish Early. If you can get some cloud cover it will help also may extend your, morning. This is very wide open canal with some weed on either side. The fish might be tight to the side cover if you can find cover that come out a ways from the bank, but you might also try fishing about 10 to 20 Feet off the bank on the drop offs. Please be advised when fishing this canal there are no go zones on both the north and the South. To the North you have the Seminole water and to the South and East the Miccosukee water. These areas are off limits unless you have a pass from either Tribe. There are signs!

This is usually a pretty good time of the year to fish the Golden Gate Canal system. There is usually good water flow and running water at the weirs and Lake Sapphire will usually have some good populations of Peacock Bass. This system is one of the most overlooked in our county. You can catch Peacock Bass, largemouth Bass, Huge Bluegills, Snook, and Tarpon all in one morning. I like to Throw Muddler Minnow Flies here and small Rapalas and don’t forget live Freshwater Shiners. You might fish the banks with artificial lures and slow troll one or two Shiners out the stern of the boat, it can be explosive. You can get Live Freshwater Shiners and Worms at Bills Bait and Tackle in the Hitching Post Plaza On the east trail.

We should probably end it here, I could go on for hours on the freshwater fishing in our area. We have a long season ahead and I do not want the first column to get boring. Come visit me at Mike’s Baithouse and Indian Pass Outfitters on Danford Street, next to Bayview Park in Naples and we can talk Fishing. We carry a full line of tackle including: fly fishing needs and Saltwater and Freshwater Gear, Food, Drink, and Bait. Thanks and Good Fishing. Roan z

If you want to contact Capt. Roan z for a freshwater fishing trip or ask any fishing questions he can be contacted at the Shop 239-775-2248 or cell number 239-269-4426.

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