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A man and his daughter sitting in a motorized fishing boat.

A fishing license is required to fish on the Apalachicola, Ocala and Osceola National Forests. Fishing licenses are available from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at

Apalachicola National Forest

The Apalachicola National Forest offers a variety of fishing experiences. The best fishing times occur in spring and summer as water temperature increases, but fishing is good year-round. Most anglers fish the lakes and rivers from boats, but there are opportunities for shoreline, bank, or wade fishing. Access to some of these larger lakes and rivers may be concrete boat ramps off of surfaced roads suitable for two-wheel drive vehicles, but many are approachable only by 4 wheel drive vehicles on dirt roads or by walking.

Ocala National Forest

The Ocala is home to two of Florida's top lakes for lunkers - Lake George and Lake Kerr - as well as dozens of smaller lakes you can have all too yourself in the early morning. For the latest and greatest information on where to fish and what to catch on the Ocala, download our extremely popular guide to Fishing Opportunities on the Ocala National Forest.

Osceola National Forest

The Osceola's flatwoods (longleaf and slash pine ridges interspersed with bay and cypress hardwood swamps) are home to a surprising variety of fishing opportunities. From your boat or the banks, fishing your national forest can be enjoyable for you, your friends and your family.

  • Borrow pits: Throughout the forest are constructed ponds, or borrow pits. We manage several of these ponds, up to ten acres in size, for fishing. Generally, access to the them is limited to unimproved roads that can be muddy or flooded after it rains. Water levels vary depending upon seasonal conditions.  Johnboats or canoes will take you to deeper areas not accessible from the shoreline, but you may need to carry your boat to the water's edge.
  • Creeks:  Some swamps drain into slow moving, shallow creeks that meander through the forest.  Several bridges span deeper creeks which are popular for cane-pole fishing.
Fishing Hints

Artificial or naturally occurring fish attractors concentrate fish year round. Emergent grasses, bulrush and cowlilies serve as natural fish attractors. Areas of sunken brush have been placed in Ocean Pond and in other managed fishponds. Floating buoys mark these attractors in Ocean Pond.

  • Largemouth bass can frequently be caught when they move into shallow water to spawn in the spring. Smaller schooling- sized bass are more frequently caught during the summer. These fish respond exceptionally well to plastic worms, topwater floater-divers, spoons and spinners.
  • Bluegill and redear sunfish are caught best when they spawn around cypress trees or shallow water. Adult fish are found in deeper areas in the summer. They respond well to crickets, grass shrimp and worms. Fly fishing is often successful.
  • Warmouth fishing is best around cypress trees and submerged plants in shallow areas. They respond well to cane poles with grass shrimp, earthworms and minnows.
  • Black crappie (speckled perch) fishing is especially good during the winter and early spring when the fish are spawning. They respond well to trolling or drifting minnows, jigs and small spinners. Cane-pole fishing with minnows is a commonly used technique.

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities