Best Fishing Spots in Highlands County

Few things compare to the adrenaline rush that comes from the first tug on your line after a quiet morning on calm waters. As the Florida heat drops and the cool breeze of fall settles in, many are taking to the great lakes of Highlands County to welcome peak fishing season from November to April. So, grab a pole and cast a line on the freshwaters of Sebring and its surrounding areas. We’ve got the breakdown of the best fishing spots in Highlands County.

Lake Istokpoga

Taking the title as the fifth largest lake in Florida, Lake Istokpoga attracts anglers from across the nation for its bass-heavy waters. This 28,000-acre lake is located just five miles northeast of Lake Placid and offers the best speck fishing during the winter months. If you’re scouting bass, the canal on the south end houses an active largemouth bass region, along with the Arbuckle Josephine Creek. This lake is ranked one of the best bass lakes in the Southeast by Bassmasters, and it’s the number 1 in the state for 10+ pound bass!

Lake Jackson

The centerpiece of Sebring is more than just the raceway—Lake Jackson brings together the community for activities both in and out of the water. This 9,000-acre fresh lake is used recreationally for swimming, skiing, boating, and of course fishing. With healthy, clear waters and white sand shores, this fishing spot is paired with picturesque views. You’ll want to plan your visits for early morning or just before sunset to catch prime fishing time at this Sebring hotspot.

Lake Placid

Where better to fish in Lake Placid than Lake Placid itself? Located just south of town, this lake is a popular spot among local anglers for its unique shape and diverse fish. Coming in at a little over 3,000 acres, this lake lands at the smaller scale of Highlands waters but offers two ramps for boat entrance. The dense vegetation makes this lake a great spot to catch fish like largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegills, tilapia, catfish, carp, and more. Catch local bass club tournaments here year-round and come by during the winter months for some of the best fishing opportunities in the shallows.

Lake June-in-Winter

This kidney-shaped lake ranks as the third-largest lake in Highlands County at nearly 4,000 acres. A great fishing spot during all seasons, Lake June-in-Winter has two public parks with power-boat access, so you can venture out to largemouth bass, specks, shellcrackers, bluegill, bream, and more. Equipped with its own fishing dock, Lake June-in-Winter is the perfect destination for beginner fishers looking to advance their angling skills.

Lake Lotela

Don’t underestimate this fishing lake because of its size—Lake Lotela offers a pristine fishing experience with its clear waters and dense vegetation. This lake has two public boat ramps, one located on the south side and the other on the east. While these waters are great for big bass fishing that ranges from 7 to 10 pounds, you could also catch a number of other fish, including crappies.

Participate in TrophyCatch

Being home to an abundance of largemouth bass, Highlands County developed an incentive-based conservation program for avid fishers that encourages them to not only get out on the waters but to also preserve some of the biggest, oldest, and most valuable bass in Florida. TrophyCatch was designed to collect valid information through citizen-science about trophy bass to help Florida Wildlife Commission better enhance, conserve and promote trophy bass fishing. Those who follow the catch-and-release guidelines are even eligible for prizes!

Whether you’re a pro fisher or just starting out, Highlands County houses lakes of all sizes for any skill level. As the winter months approach, so do the fish. Don’t miss your opportunity to get out on the freshwaters of Florida and cast a line for a surprise.