Freshwater fishing opportunities

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Withlacoochee River

Citrus, Marion, Sumter, Levy, Hernando counties: This 157-mile stream originates in Green Swamp in Hernando County and flows north to the Gulf at Yankeetown. The stream has many limerock areas and associated swamps. Water levels fluctuate except in Lake Rousseau and the area just above the influence of Rainbow River. Public ramps are located at S.R. 44 in Rutland, C.R. 470 north of Lake Panasoffkee, the Outlet River west of Lake Panasoffkee on C.R. 470 in Sumter County, C.R. 39 north of S.R. 200 in Citrus County, U.S. 41 at Dunnellon and S.R. 40 at Yankeetown.

Current Forecast: Evening and after dark hours are most productive times to fish the Rainbow River tributary. Clear water paired with heavy non-fishing use make these off hours the best time for fishing. In the Withlacoochee River, most fishing action will be targeted at bluegill and redear sunfish using crickets and light line.

Lake Panasoffkee

Sumter County: This is a 4,460-acre Fish Management Area located by the town of Lake Panasoffkee. Panasoffkee is unusual; a true spring-fed lake, water depths seldom exceed 4 feet. I-75 runs along the eastern edge and C.R. 470 along the southern and western shore. A public ramp is available on the Outlet River, west of the lake on C.R. 470.

Current Forecast: Lake Panasoffkee has been famed for excellent bluegill and redear sunfish (shellcracker) fishing for many years. This year has been good for big shellcrackers. Summer is a good time to catch bluegill on Lake Panasoffkee. Sight fishing is the best way to locate beds. Once beds are located, it is best to anchor just off of them so that you don’t spook the fish. Fishing on bottom with a worm works well. Bass fishing on Lake Panasoffkee is tough in the hot summer months.

Lake Tsala Apopka Chain

Citrus County: Lake Tsala Apopka is 19,111 acres of shallow, heavily vegetated marshes intermingled with open water pools. Water control structures separate the lake into three main pools named after nearby towns: Floral City, Inverness and Hernando. Public boat ramps are available 1/4 mile east of the intersection of U.S. 41 and S.R. 200 (Hernando Pool); 1 1/4 mile east of City of Inverness on S.R. 470 (Inverness Pool); and on Duval Island Road off C.R. 48, 1 mile east of U.S. 41 (Floral City Pool).

Current Forecast: Water levels remain up compared to recent past years. Navigation throughout most of the chain should not be an issue. Harvesting of tussocks continues and for the most part this chain looks great. The Inverness Pool (Big and Little Henderson, Lake Tsala Apopka and Lake Spivey) showed the best population of largemouth bass out of the three main pools. Definitely fish these waters during the best part of the day (early morning or late evening) to maximize your odds at catching fish.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission