LAKE OKEECHOBEE — Mike Krause at Okeechobee Fishing Headquarters reports fishing was good last week on the big lake.
“Guys are catching a lot first thing in the morning,” he said.
“We’re seeing more grass,” he said, referring to the submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) that provides cover for spawning fish. He added the SAV is in the marshes but “grass is not out in the lake where we would like to see it yet.”
“In the past week, I’ve been all over the lake,” he said.
“In Pelican Bay, the fishing is pretty good,” he said. “Bluegill fishing is really good.”
“Around Ritta Island — I was there Saturday — there was a lot of Kissimmee grass, a lot of bullrush. The water is pretty clean,” he continued. He added that high winds over the weekend periodically stirred up mud from the bottom.
“Crappie season was a good as we have seen it in a few years,” said Mr. Krause. “It’s not as good as it was three years ago, where guys could just pull one fish after another. Some guys have had one of the best years they have ever had. Some said, ‘No, we didn’t catch anything.’ You have to work for it.”
In the Tin House Cove area, inside the marsh area there is a lot of submerged vegetation, he reported.
He said he is concerned about the lack of SAV outside the marsh areas. He wonders if the chemicals used by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to kill the invasive exotic plants might have built up in the muck, inhibiting the growth of native grasses.
While Palm Beach County closed boat ramps and marinas on the lake, so far Okeechobee County boat ramps are open. FWC requires those on shore maintain 6 feet separation between people; no more than 10 people may be on a boat: and, on the water boats must stay at least 50 feet apart.
Mr. Krause said as long as everyone is respectful of the social distancing rules, the ramps should stay open.
Social distancing is not a problem on the water, said Mr. Krause. Bass fishermen are fine with staying 50 feet from other boats; if anything, that might be too close for comfort when casting a line. He said there have been tournaments held during the pandemic and everyone was respectful of the social distancing rules. Deputies came out to check on them and there were no problems.