Southwest Florida, at first site, doesn’t sound like a fresh water angler’s paradise. It’s true, the region only has a handful of natural lakes and only one, Lake Trafford in the farming community of Immokalee is accessible to the public The second is at the complete other end of Southwest Florida which is Lake Tarpon just on the outside of Tampa Florida. There are many other lakes in the region but, they are all man made, rock pits, canals or water retention areas for the numerous housing and golf course developments. Most of them are stocked and offer some excellent bass, catfish, peacock bass and panfish fishing.
Don’t construe the shortage of natural lakes and the restricted use man-made lakes with a lack of places to fresh water fish. Southwest Florida has hundreds of miles of drainage canals containing tons of fish. There region has three major canal systems: The Everglades, Cape Coral and Golden Gate systems. We don’t want to count out the Caloosahatchee River as one of great largemouth bass location either, located just out side of Ft Myers it’s convent to everywhere and especially as you are driving to world famous Lake Okeechobee.
Certain parts of each system are locally famous for good largemouth bass, panfish fishing and peacock bass. Each system has a few boat ramps, some bridges to fish from and plenty of areas where you can fish from the banks but theres no experience like being in the boat as we slither through the areas.
Driving around the region you will also notice that there are drainage canals, many of these we do access along many of the major roads. Don’t overlook these as possible fishing hot spots.
This part of the state has year-round largemouth bass, panfish fishing and peacock bass. Most of the bigger bass are caught during the cooler months when the fish are more actively feeding, but Southwest Florida is known for the place where you can fish year a round.
Black crappie, preferring colder waters, aren’t as prevalent in this part of the state. Lake Trafford has the best crappie fishing in the region with the winter month being best. Oscars, exotic fish that are working their way into southwest Florida from the Southeast Florida area, can be very abundant in the freshwater canals, particularly along the US 41 canal in eastern Collier County. Catfish, mudfish and several species of gar are also common freshwater residents.