Lake Istokpoga located in Highlands County Florida to some is the best big bass lake in the state of Florida. Lake Istokpoga is also one of the biggest trophy bass fishing lakes in Florida and throughout the United States. This lake is beautiful, and designated as a Fish Management Area by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Largemouth bass are the dominant fish of choice here, although fishing for black crappie (specks), bluegill (shellcrackers) are very productive. You will see lots of wild alligators, birds like the osprey, snowy egret, bald eagles and many other can be seen on a days fishing trip. Wild ducks and frogs are also plentiful all over the lake and typically seen while fishing in the marsh areas.
Trophy bass fishing is very good during the spring on this lake and continues through early summer. Our customers catch weights for five-fish of over 30 pounds, which is a six-pound per fish average. On this lake live or wild shiners work about as well as artificial lures. So if you like fishing artificial lures this may be the lake for you also, with jigs being one of the popular big bass baits. Bass generally finish spawning by the end of March to early April, watch the moon phase which has a lot to do with it. Bass will begin schooling chasing threadfin and gizzard shad along weed lines in the open water in spring.
We mentioned Lake Istokpoga was big, well it is 27,692 acres, the fifth largest lake in the state of Florida. The lake is generally shallow like most other Florida lakes, averaging 4 to 8 feet in depth. The major tributaries to Lake Istokpoga are Josephine Creek and Arbuckle Creek, which are located in the northwest and north areas of the Lake, respectively. Water is discharged from the Lake through two major outlets, the Istokpoga canal that flows to the Kissimmee River and the S-68 Canal that flows through a series of canals to both Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River. A reduction of high lake levels has provided the catalyst for development around shores of the Lake, including agriculture (citrus and caldium farms), pasture land, residential and commercial establishments. Many areas adjacent to the Lake that once flooded seasonally or infrequently are now drained. The lake is treasured by local residents for its recreational and scenic qualities. It is also an important regional resource that is being studied as part of the Kissimmee River Restoration Project. One of it closest sister lakes is Crooked lake which if your in the area fishing give a try.
What does Istokpoga mean? “People have died there” It was so named by the Seminole Indians because in the early 1900’s, before they became a tribe, their people tried to cross the waters of Lake Istokpoga and were swallowed up by whirlpools.
Nearly 28,000 acres, lake Istokpoga is one of the best fishing lakes in Central Florida. Our customers and Anglers have travel from all over the state and nation to fish Istokpoga. The sunsets on Lake Istokpoga are unsurpassed.
LAKE ISTOKPOGA is located five miles northeast of Lake Placid, Highlands County, this lake has quality fishing for black crappie (specks) and one of the highest catch ratios for largemouth bass in the state. The bestspeck fishing occurs during winter months drifting over open water, particularly in the northeast and southwest corners. Aquatic vegetation includes spadderdock (bonnets), bulrush (buggy whips), cattail, and pondweed (pepper grass). Kissimmee grass on the south end is particularly productive when there is flow into the Istokpoga Canal. This canal, located off County Highway 621, provides excellent largemouth bass fishing from the bank when the gates are open. Arbuckle and Josephine Creek mouths are also good areas when there is flow. The island areas and associated grass can hold bass any time of year and the deepest portion of the lake (10 ft) is in the southwest corner.
Public boat ramps are located on the north, northeast, and southwest shorelines off of U.S. Route 98, Lake Boulevard off Cow House Road, and Highland Lake Drive off of County Route 621, respectively. There are also six fish camps/resorts on the lake with various accommodations.(See the map below)
SPECIAL REGULATIONS FOR LARGEMOUTH BASS ON LAKE ISTOKPOGA. A slot limit protects quality largemouth bass by requiring that all bass between 15 and 24 inches in length must be immediately released back into the lake. The daily bag limit is three fish per day. Only one of the three fish may be greater than 24 inches. This means you may keep three bass less than 15 inches, or two bass less than 15 inches and one bass greater than 24 inches. For more information on the special regulations or tournament exemptions, contact MyFWC.com.
Lake Istokpoga has several marinas for your convenience, Lake Istokpoga Marina fishing camp and RV park which is located on the South end of the lake. Henderson’s Fish Camp is another great camp that has been around for what seems ever. Don’t forget about Cypress Isle RV Park & Marina another location to get your fishing trip started from.