We’re on a quest to find the best unknown lakes in Orlando, and it’s brought us here. We have seven top recommendations for you to check out. These are the most recommended bodies of water from local anglers, tourists, and online forums, so be sure to give them a look!
1. Lake Ivanhoe
If you’re looking for a lake in downtown Orlando, you’ll want to check out Lake Ivanhoe. This lake is right off I-4, so it attracts a lot of anglers, but few know how to fish it properly, so it’s still a great unknown lake for anglers who come here with a passion for fishing.
It’s very common to see 8-10lb bass coming out of the lake, and anyone who knows what they’re doing has a solid chance of hooking a picture-worthy bass. Even if you’re not out there chasing giants, there’s a solid supply of bass in the water, so everyone will have a good time casting and reeling.
Locals recommend using soft plastic lures like worms and swimbait. If you’re trying to bag your catch, you’ll need a minimum length of 14-inches, and you can only take five fish per day.
2. Clear Lake
Another lake that they consider part of the “fab five” in Orlando is Clear Lake. If you’re looking for exceptional fishing in Orlando, Florida, this is the lake you better catch yourself on. It’s 313 acres and located right in the heart of downtown.
Here, they’re all about striped bass because of the abundant shad population. It’s the perfect environment for hybrid striped bass to thrive, and while these bass don’t reproduce naturally, they are stocked by local hatcheries.
Most of these hybrid bass are between 8-11 inches in length, and some of them grow upwards of five or six pounds. The local commission recommends fishing for the hybrids during the cooler months from November to March. They suggest looking for changes in the base of the water, such as dredge holes and drop-offs if you expect to find them.
3. Turkey Lake
If you’re a fan of Bassmaster, you’ve likely heard of Turkey Lake. No one knows how this lake got that name, but it’s been featured in the magazine plenty of times as one of the best bass fishing lakes in Orlando. It’s only a few minutes away from the city, and here you can rent a fully-equipped bass boat for $32 a day.
The boat comes equipped with a trolling motor, depth finder, live well, and an anchor. How could you go wrong? Anyway, back to fishing.
If you’re not interested in renting a boat, you can fish from the shoreline or one of the many fishing piers scattered around the lake. They even have fixed piers with fish feeders on them that attract fish closer to the shore.
When you’re traveling with family or friends, you might not have a bunch of people as interested in fishing as you are. If that’s the case, there’s also plenty of other things to do at Turkey Lake. There are beautiful parks, biking trails, nature hikes, and plenty of pavilions for picnicking.
Locals recommend fishing this lake when the weather is stable so try to stay away from windy, rainy, and cold days. Instead, fishing when the sun is shining and temperatures are mild during the winter months. Trolling the shore or jigging is the best way to find bass here.
4. Starke Lake
Starke Lake is what they call a “bass factory” because it’s so known for producing large amounts of bass and making it easy for newbie anglers to catch them. The lake is located on the Universal Studios side of town, and out of all the lakes on this list, it’s the most beginner and family-friendly option.
It’s located at Lakeshore Park, which offers a ton of amenities, including a two-lane boat launch, pier, and outdoor bathrooms.
The 200-acre lake offers an abundant amount of largemouth bass, but locals say they have a hard time catching them if they don’t know where to look. Fishing from the shore and the pier always works because they stock there, but what about the serious anglers who want to hop on a boat and chase after the monsters?
The water is pretty deep here, and the grass and cattails are plentiful along the shore, so you’ll want to fish Texas-rigged worms or craws to navigate your way through the dense vegetation.
5. Lake Underhill
Lake Underhill is the last of the “fab five,” which are considered the best fishing lakes in Orlando, Florida. This infamous lake is known for having a lot of seriously large bass, but most people never fish here because it isn’t the easiest lake to access. It’s right off 408 by the airport but catching bass is a bit difficult because the lake has a lot of dense vegetation for being so large.
The overall consensus of fishing here is shallow diving minnows, and Gulp worms are the best choices. With that knowledge, we’d say that any soft plastic should work, but you want to keep it as natural as possible.
6. Lake Lotus Park
If you’re venturing a bit off the beaten path and you don’t mind a park with a ton of rules, Lake Lotus Park is worth checking out. There are a few caveats here.
First, you can’t access the water using a boat or a canoe. You can only fish from the bank, but you also can’t fish from the bank. In fact, you can only fish from one pier with a Florida fishing license.
So, why would we recommend a lake like this for bass fishing in Orlando? We recommend it for kids. Fishing from the pier here is designed for kids to be able to throw their lines over without getting hung up on anything from the shore.
There’s also a lot of other activities you can do, such as hiking and picnicking but they also have some strict rules on that. There are no alcoholic beverages allowed, and the park doesn’t allow pets of any kind, which is a bit strange.
That said, if you’re looking for a unique park experience with a fishing pier that’s perfect for kids who are just learning, give Lake Lotus Park a look.
7. Shingle Creek
Travel a bit Northwest out of Orlando, and you’ll find one of the greatest waterways moving through Central Florida. Shingle Creek is considered the northernmost section of the Everglades watershed, and it’s named after the cypress trees that line the banks. They used these trees to make shingles during the late 19th century.
Fishing here offers a plentiful supply of striped bass, largemouth bass, white bass, and more.
We recommend taking the river by kayak or canoe so you can navigate through some of the more narrow sections without any issue. Keep in mind that the water can flow quickly towards the southern section, so you’ll need a solid outboard motor if you need to get back upstream.
Nearby you’ll find the Shingle Creek Regional Park, where you can enjoy a picnic, hike, or simply relax and take in the Florida sunshine.
While the best unknown lakes in Orlando aren’t quite “unknown,” the aspiring angler can find plenty of incredible fishing opportunities here if they know where to look.
Our seven lake and river recommendations are some of the best in all of Florida, so be sure to add these to your bucket list and plan your trip around them.