Lake Istokpoga Guide


Florida 27,692 acres


With one of the highest largemouth bass catch rates in the state, Lake Istokpoga is considered a top fishing destination in central Florida and the nation. Black crappie are also abundant.


Located 5 miles northeast of Lake Placid in central Florida. 2:15 hours south of Orlando International and 2:25 southeast of Tampa International.


The lake is generally shallow like most other Florida lakes, averaging 4 to 8 feet in depth. The significant tributary creeks to Lake Istokpoga are Josephine Creek and Arbuckle Creek, located in the northwest and north areas of the lake.

Lake vegetation includes spadderdock (bonnets), bulrush (buggy whips), cattail, and pondweed (pepper grass). Kissimmee grass on the south end is particularly productive when there is flow into the Istokpoga Canal. This canal, located off County Highway 621, provides excellent largemouth bass fishing from the bank when the gates are open. Arbuckle and Josephine Creek mouths are also good areas when there is flow. The island areas and associated grass can hold bass any time of year and the deepest portion of the lake (10 ft) is in the southwest corner.


Live wild shiners work about as well as artificial lures on this lake. Bass generally finish spawning by the end of March to early April. In mid-May, depending on the lunar phase and water temperatures,  largemouth bass will begin schooling, chasing threadfin and gizzard shad along pepper grass in the open water.

SPECIAL REGULATIONS FOR LARGEMOUTH BASS ON LAKE ISTOKPOGA. A slot limit protects quality largemouth bass by requiring that all bass between 15 and 24 inches in length must be immediately released back into the lake. The daily bag limit is three fish per day. Only one of the three fish may be greater than 24 inches. This means you may keep three bass less than 15 inches, or two bass less than 15 inches and one bass greater than 24 inches.


Due to warm, shallow water, autumn, winter and spring are the best times to fish for bass on Lake Istokpoga. The southwest corner of the lake has some of the deepest water – ten feet. Later in the season, bass tend to congregate in the areas with deeper water and can be caught in weedy areas nearby


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Fishbone Tackle

1451 US-27 N, Lake Placid, FL

Big Water Bait & Tackle

1027 Martin Blvd NE, Moore Haven, FL