Great Fishing Awaits In Putnam County, Florida
Simply the Best
Putnam County has long been known apital of the World’, for its trophy largemouth black bass fishing. Putnam County is home to Rodman Reservoir, Lake George, Crescent Lake, and the St. Johns and Ocklawaha Rivers.
Since 2012 Bassmaster Magazine has released annual rankings of the country’s best bass fisheries. They recently compiled numbers gathered over a period of eight years and announced the “Best Bass Lakes of the Decade — Southeast Region” with Rodman Reservoir coming in as #1 and St. Johns River #7.
Putnam County’s waterways offer a list of other freshwater and saltwater or brackish-water fishing. Freshwater species include the largemouth bass, black crappie (speckled perch), bluegill, shellcracker, warmouth and catfish. Saltwater species include red fish, flounder, sea trout and tarpon. Shrimp migrate up the brackish water during the summer months. Striped bass can be caught mostly during the fall and winter months.
Fishing Rodman Reservoir, St. Johns River, and the Ocklawaha River is always a treat. These beautiful waterways produce big trophy bass every year. A bonus is that fishing is excellent year-round.
The St. Johns River flows north for 310 miles from Indian County to the Atlantic Ocean, and is divided into three basins — upper, middle, and lower. Putnam County is in the lower basin and centrally located to the river’s best fishing.
From downtown Palatka south to Lake George, some 42 nautical miles, the St. Johns tree-lined shores and vegetation provide an excellent habitat for fish. Lake George is a 46,000-acre natural impoundment of the St. Johns. It is the second largest lake in Florida and has three spring-fed tributaries.
In between the big lake and Palatka, the Ocklawaha River flows into the St. Johns north of Little Lake George via Rodman Reservoir/ George Kirkpatrick Dam. Rodman Reservoir is considered a premier largemouth bass fishery located in Northeast Florida, covers 9,500 acres, and is about 15 miles long. Located south of Palatka Florida off Highway 19 and connected to St Johns River, Rodman Reservoir is legendary for the number of fish species, trophy bass, redbreast sunfish, and channel catfish which it continues to produce. Not to mention the wildlife and bird species to view. It’s consistently ranked with as one of the top ten best bass lakes in the country. You can count on fishing under floating cover on a trip to this area. There are many dollar weeds and water hyacinths here where bass use to surprise unsuspecting prey. You will also be fishing around eel grass, hydrilla and lily pads.
Further north Dunns Creek connects a 5-mile stretch southeast to Crescent Lake, a 15,960-acre lake bordering Putnam and Flagler County. This lake is exceptional for bluegill and shellcracker fishing. Largemouth bass can be found under pilings and deeper docks. Crescent Lake is approximately 30 square miles in length of clean water, abundant vegetation, and beautiful scenery. The lake also has wildlife, including the majestic bald eagle. Crescent Lake is very unique stemming from the fact that it has a large variety of bass fishing features. It offers everything from shallow grass, shell beds, sharp drops, ledges, deep water, pad fields, logs, cypress trees, and boat docks. Crescent Lake has it all; no matter what the pattern or the fishing day provides, there something here for everyone to fish.
North of Palatka Memorial Bridge to Trout Creek there are plenty of drops, sandbars, docks, pilings, and natural structures to satisfy any anglers idea of a good fishing trip.
The river and its connecting waters have numerous marinas, hotels, fish camps, ramps and launches for local and visiting anglers.
Putnam County and Palatka are recognized across the country as one of the favorite sites for the Bassmaster Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.) professional fishing circuit. B.A.S.S. often returns to the Palatka riverfront to showcase their Elite event, where the world’s top 100 professional anglers compete. This exciting event which attracts hundreds of spectators, gives the community national recognition and a terrific economic boost. Palatka’s riverfront is the site for the largest one-day bass tournament east of the Mississippi River. For over 30 years, the Wolfson Children’s Hospital Bass Tournament (WCH) launches nearly 500 boats annually, with anglers from all over the southeast. Rodman Reservoir, known for its big bass, is host to the Annual Save Rodman Bass Tournament.
All of Putnam County’s water bodies have natural shorelines that are undeveloped and protected lands giving our residents and visitors the opportunity to see the “Reel” Florida.
Fishing in Putnam County is simply the best. Whether you come for a family day in a boat, a weekend fishing getaway, or in the competitive atmosphere of tournament fishing. Our friendly people, our extensive waterways and parks make this area a fisherman’s paradise or a fabulous family recreation destination.
For more information: VisitPutnamCountyFL.com
PUTNAM COUNTY FLORIDA LINKS
NORTHEAST FLORIDA FRESHWATER LINKS
Florida's freshwater fisheries comprise more than 7,500 lakes, ponds and reservoirs, and approximately 12,000 miles of fishable rivers, streams and canals—with no closed seasons. The recreational fishery resources alone in these waters provide entertainment for more than 1.2 million anglers annually.
For general information on what lakes are available in an area by ZIP code or city, check out TakeMeFishing.org's fishing site finder.LEARN MORE
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) oversees more than 6 million acres of land established as wildlife management areas or wildlife and environmental areas. These lands, managed for both conservation and recreation, are more rugged than parks and have fewer developed amenities. You can find out more about the stewardship of these lands and the wide range of recreation they offer through our alphabetical listing or our map.LEARN MORE
A Fish Management Area (FMA) is a pond, lake or other body of water established for the management of freshwater fish as a partnership effort with a local cooperator. The FWC's Division of Freshwater Fisheries manages about 80 water bodies throughout the state that are designated as Fish Management Areas. In many cases, these lakes are stocked with channel catfish, largemouth bass or sunshine bass. Automatic fish feeders and fish attractors concentrate sportfish for bank anglers.LEARN MORE
The first four-time winner of the Gold Medal honoring the nation's best state park system, the Florida Park Service is one of the largest in the country with 175 state parks, trails and historic sites spanning nearly 800,000 acres and 100 miles of sandy white beach.View Statewide Map - Click Fishing under activities and zoom in LEARN MORE
NORTHEAST FLORIDA SALTWATER FISHING LINKS
In Florida, there are a wide range of places to fish and we could not possibly list them all. Fish move and behave differently based on various factors such as weather, temperature, tide, moon phase, salinity, time of year and more. In addition to using the resources on this page, we encourage anglers to contact people with local expertise in areas they want to fish (such as bait and tackle shops, marinas, charter fishing businesses, fishing clubs and online fishing groups). View the regional guides for seasons.LEARN MORE
Are you curious about a particular place to fish in Florida? Planning a trip? Find your destination on the linked page and scroll down matching the number to learn where to go fishing, what you might catch there and when the best time might be! Check out:
There’s no better place to fish than Florida. Every year, millions of people head to sea in search of huge hookups and delicious seafood. But what if you don’t like boats? Simple: Fish from one of the many fishing piers in Florida. Almost every town has one, and most cities have a handful to choose from.LEARN MORE
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