First timers to the greater Orlando area may be surprised at the huge numbers of lakes that abound within the city confines, and in every direction around Orlando. And if there are lakes, there is fishing around Orlando. Lots of it.
Some of the lakes around Orlando have brought fishermen from around the world, chasing the huge largemouth bass that inhabit the warm, shallow, food rich environment. According to Florida’s Fish & Wildlife Commission, the largest largemouth bass caught around Florida was a 17.27 pound monster just 30 miles from downtown Orlando in Polk County.
Quite often the locals, and visitors in the know, chase the black crappie or the redear sunfish, and with luck, turning a fishing outing into a delicious meal.
If you can get access to a boat, many (most) of the lakes around Orlando have no-charge boat launching and parking available. Pull up, launch, park, and go fish!
If not, no worries. Get a hold of a fishing pole, and go in almost any direction, and you’ll find a lake. Fish from the shore or the dock. Many lakes have public docks available. The fishing can be absolutely wonderful.
Use worms, crickets as bait or if you have a bucket, pick up some minnows at the local bait shops. A 1/4 pound of small minnows kept two of us going for hours on our recent fishing outing near Orlando on Lake Marion.
Do you need a license to go fishing around Orlando?
Yes, you do. According to the FWC “Nonresidents who are 16 years of age or older are required to have Florida… freshwater fishing or saltwater fishing licenses and permits… ”
You purchase a saltwater fishing permit if you are planning on visiting either coast and surf fishing, or you can purchase a freshwater permit to fish the lakes and rivers around Orlando.
Fishing license fees vary depending on how long you want your license to be valid. Three day, seven day and annual permits are available, and the rate varies depending on the duration of the selected visitor freshwater fishing license. Visit this site for more info about licenses for fishing around Orlando: http://myfwc.com/license/recreational/ .
A Bit of Caution
While encounters with venomous snakes are rare around Orlando, there are some around. So if fishing by the shore, watch for snakes in the water, and avoid them completely if you see them. Florida has a number of water snakes that appear to be of the venomous variety, but are not. Nevertheless, a snake will bite if threatened so leave them all alone.
By the same token, when fishing from the shore or the boat, you will almost always encounter an alligator or two if the lake is big enough. You will usually see them as they swim AWAY from you. Just be aware, and give these native Florida critters the right of way.
Paid Fishing Around Orlando
Not everyone flies into Orlando on vacation with fishing tackle, and when loading up the van for a road trip to Florida to take in Disney World, we’ll sometimes forget to throw in the fishing tackle too.
A number of outfitters around Orlando can provide you with wonderful fishing experiences, and if you go with a licensed outfitter / guide, you normally don’t need to buy a fishing license. Check with the operators to be sure. A few are listed below.
If you get the chance during your vacation in Florida, go fishing around Orlando. You might catch the trophy bass of a lifetime, or just a bunch of really good memories. Either is worthwhile from where we sit.
Fresh crappie for dinner tonight, gotta go! Hope to see you fishing around Orlando!