In Florida, there are millions of acres of lakes, rivers and canals and over 1.2 million registered fresh water anglers. Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) biologists work hard to study, protect and conserve Florida's fresh water resources.
Fishing on Lake Okeechobee in South Central Florida has been great in 2013. A variety of reasons account for this. According to FWC’s Barron Moody, regional freshwater fisheries biologist for the FWC, the ideal water level is one. Having a good spawn year and good forage are other reasons. And regulations can help as well. In 2008, moré protective bass and crappie regulations were enacted.
Moody shared a report on freshwater fishing in Lake Okeechobee August 22 with the Florida Outdoor Writers Association at Westgate River Ranch in Polk County. He said the sampling methods FWC uses to help get a handle on fish counts are “electrofishing” and trawling. One sample showed two crappie caught per hour, on average. A roving creel survey over the past five years shows increased anglers’ success. When catch rates doubled, there was “increased angler effort” or more fishing because of word of mouth on healthy, productive catches. Increasing catch rate and increasing angler effort go together. Bass tournaments increase as well during periods of good catch rates.
When Okeechobee’s water level shot up during a particular moment of research, the catch rate fell off. So, even though fish were there, fishing is not good under all conditions, Moody admitted. For more information on this topic as well as other conservation and wildlife topics, visit www.myfwc.com.http://www.myfwc.com