Here we go. Headwaters from start to finish. Sit back, relax and if you ever want to venture out on this water, hopefully this will help.
There are a few options for lodging. A lot of Airbnb places are popping up. There’s a guy who rents out 2 travel trailers on his property and there’s a guy who has a travel trailer in an Orange grove that is fairly close. A lot of guys stay in the many hotels in Vero Beach or Sebastian. Some are set up for boats and some are not. We opted to stay in a 4 room set up on Blue Cypress Lake. They call them cabins but they are like small efficiency rooms with a full size refrigerator and a cooktop. Can be set up as 2 twins or 1 king per room. Blue Cypress Lakeside Cabins, Vero Beach, FL, (772) 770-2067 https://bluecypresslakesidecabins.com Would we stay there again? 50/50. Rooms were spotless clean, beds were fantastic comply, shower was a little small and we found that at the end of the day we were too tired to cook and ended up eating at a couple of places in Fellsmere on our way back to the rooms. The trip to the launch was about 40 minutes and there was really no traffic. The drive allowed my fishing partners to catch up on emails, etc. places we ate were the Marsh restaurant, which was very good and a true Mexican restaurant called Tapatias.
Much is said about the road to the launch. I can’t remember the exact length but it’s like 3 or 4 miles long. It’s graded once a week and is the consistency of flour or baby powder and gets everywhere. We trailered everyday with the cover on the boat and it still got coated really bad, not to mention my truck. There is a car wash in Fellsmere where if you are like me, you can rinse your boat and truck off. We did it right before we headed home. The road to the launch is very, very rough if you are getting towards the time it is to be graded. The ramp itself is very nice. It is privately owned but patrolled by FWC to enforce rules. Rules are no entering earlier than 1 hour before sunrise and no parking on the grassy areas, which are clearly marked. There is an open field across the road from the launch that I used a couple of days because the lot was nearing full and there is some drama that goes on everyday. I also witnessed the vultures and crows that liked to perch and walk on any of the trucks parked near the water. One day there was a huge hyacinth island that blew across 1 lane of the ramp rendering it useless. There are 2 lanes. Normal ramp drama is people cutting line and rigging in the launch lane. I have a story about that and will post if asked. There are also a lot of guides that operate out of there. The road to the launch is that same road to Stick Marsh Farm 13.
The lake itself is pretty straight forward. It is your typical Florida shallow lake with deeper canals for general navigation. Remember the lake was designed for habitat so up to date mapping software and waterproof plastic maps to identify areas is paramount. We had to rescue a friend who got high centered when he ventured out of a canal. Because of the canals, you get some great weed edges close to deep water, there is hyacinth mats, reed islands, milfoil, Kissimmee Grass and even rock islands from the dirt they excavated and piled up. We found a submerged old orange grove and there is an area of cypress called the Cypress Maze on maps. We fished it all in the week we were on the water. We have been to Kissimmee and Okeechobee twice and saw the most gators here. My one major takeaway from the lake was that it fishes much, much bigger than it looks on a map. I was a little concerned we were going to be crowded due to the popularity and the size but we were never once crowded and there were days we didn’t have a single boat near us. No air boats allowed and that was refreshing. There is a 25 mph speed limit on the lake and a requirement that you slow to idle when passing in the canals but those 2 rules are pushed by quite a few. The lake is a gem for sure.
We threw a good selection of baits and opted for all artificial. The guides will give clients the option and most choose shiners because, let’s face it, that’s the easiest way to catch a trophy fish. There is a circle hook rule if shiner fishing. We took the gear to float or free line shiners (against my better judgement) but there was a shortage of shiners coupled with the fact that the guides had first dibs and the price was $30 plus a dozen with reports of guides going through 6 dozen a day, made artificials much more attractive. Here is a list of what was thrown:
Senkos 5 & 6 inch weighted and unweighted.***
Speed Senko weighted and unweighted***
Yamamoto Heart Tail weighted ewg hook***
Yamamoto Kut Tail 7.75 inch with screw in nose weight***
Yamamoto Cowboy & Mermaid on Shakeyhead**
Yum 4in Worm on Ned***
Chatterbait Yamamoto Zako Trailer
Swim Jig Yamamoto Paddle tail Zako trailer
Yamamoto DShad and Zoom Super Fluke weightless
* 1 to 4 fish **5 to 10 fish ***over 10 (5 day span).
We averaged 10-15 fish per person, per day. We put a 6lb or bigger in one of the boats everyday. There were 3 boats 2 days and 2 boats the rest of the time. The days of 3 boats we had 6 anglers the days of 2 boats we had 5. The biggest producer by far was the 5 inch Senko with a nose weight and a screw in hitchhiker blade in the tail. My big fish came on the Kut Tail and a lot of fish were caught on the Speed Senko. The Yum 4 inch on the Ned rig caught a ton of small fish and was a surprise because my buddy rigged it up for his nephew who flew in from Boston and wanted to make sure he got on fish. He did catch a 6 pounder on that rig. If you want any details on how or where each was fished, just ask. General consensus was that we were a week early for the big spawn wave. We saw a lot of empty beds and did catch a few off the beds. Now on to the pics….if you want an explanation of any of them once again, just ask. I’ve got a lot more pics if there’s something specific you want to see. Will we go back! ABSOFREAKINLOUTLY!😎😉