Anglers continue to compete for the title of “the best” in the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Battle of the Lakes between Fellsmere Water Management Area (also known as Headwaters and Egan lakes) and Orange Lake in Florida. Bass fishing enthusiasts can join the battle with rods and reels as the friendly competition approaches the Sept. 30 deadline to determine which Florida water will be crowned the victor. The lake that tallies the heaviest weight of trophy size bass (8 pounds or larger) will be the winner and one angler from the winning side will be randomly selected for prizes from professional anglers Shaw Grigsby or JT Kenney.
At the end of July, Fellsmere was ahead with 84 trophy largemouth bass catches totaling 750 pounds. Orange Lake had 56 trophy catches entered into the contest to date totaling 546 pounds and claims the only four Hall of Fame bass weighing 13 pounds or heavier. All bass must be submitted to and approved by FWC’s TrophyCatch citizen-science program to qualify and the minimum weight is 8 pounds.
“Conservation and research are the real prizes in this competition,” said Tom Graef, Director of FWC’s Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management. “Information gathered from each submission helps guide our trophy bass management activities on these waters as well as statewide.”
Echoing the FWC’s choice of Fellsmere and Orange Lake for the contest, Bassmaster recently listed both waters alongside Lake Okeechobee on its prestigious “Top 10 Best Bass Lakes of 2023,” making Florida the most represented state on the list.
The catch deadline for Season 11 of TrophyCatch also ends on Sept. 30. Anglers must submit catches from this season by Oct. 15. For more information about how the FWC is focusing efforts to grow bigger bass, visit MyFWC.com/TrophyBass. To learn more about the TrophyCatch program, visit TrophyCatch.com.
For general waterbody information, fishing forecasts, virtual tours, plant control operation schedules and annual workplans, boat ramp information, and more, visit the “What’s Happening on My Lake” website at MyFWC.com/Lake. To learn about Fellsmere, Orange Lake, and other top destinations to go freshwater fishing, go to MyFWC.com/Fishing and near the bottom of the page, select “Fishing Sites/Forecasts.”
For more information about the FWC’s Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management, contact Michelle Kerr at 850-510-4776 or Michelle.Kerr@MyFWC.com.