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I had planned for my first trip to Okeechobee this coming May. However, with the new developments on the lake and the plan to lower the lake by 2ft by May, I have concerns about how that may affect the fishing. 

 

Does anyone have any ideas of how this water release may negatively or positively affect the fishing in the short term? 

 

I understand it could be difficult to predict, so I also wonder if I should just go to somewhere like Lake Toho instead. Any recommendations?

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Thanks Scott for doing this video and keeping us informed.  Even at this present level if you don't know where your running, the lake can be dangerous in some areas.  There are a bunch of rock walls that will take out a lower unit if your running the lake.  If you don't know the area run at a slow speed or risk having a bad day.  Clewiston area is especially dangerous.  Anytime it drops below 13 feet you must beware.

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2 hours ago, Back that Bass Up said:

I had planned for my first trip to Okeechobee this coming May. However, with the new developments on the lake and the plan to lower the lake by 2ft by May, I have concerns about how that may affect the fishing. 

 

Does anyone have any ideas of how this water release may negatively or positively affect the fishing in the short term? 

 

I understand it could be difficult to predict, so I also wonder if I should just go to somewhere like Lake Toho instead. Any recommendations?

I live up by Toho so I'm not totally keyed in to what's going on down at Okeechobee.  That said, I have a hard time believing they are going to draw the lake down any further and I've heard nothing about that.  As I understand it, it's already much lower than normal right now.  

 

As far as the fishing goes, my buddy fished an ABA down there about 3 weeks ago and there were some really good bags brought to the scales.  I don't think the fishing is suffering much.

 

Now in my slightly biased opinion Lake Toho and the Kissimmee Chain in general don't have to take a back seat to Okeechobee ever.  Forgive me for the self-promotion here but if you look at this thread:  

I caught those on Kissimmee.  I just fished a team tournament with the buddy I mentioned above on Kissimmee yesterday and when we left, 40.4 lbs was winning it.  We had to tuck our tails and head home with our little 20 lb bag lol.  My point here is that I definitely wouldn't look at fishing Toho and the Kissimmee Chain as settling.  It's a better fishery (again, in my slightly biased opinion.)  :)

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Go to Toho. It has been fishing better than the big O for the last month. Your chances for getting a double digit also increases as you go north. Talking with Capt Steve Daniel last week he said if they do lower to 10+ feet it will concentrate the fish once you locate them. Unfortunately it will require relearning where to fish. There is a lot of resistance not to lower it to that level that the governor is advocating. 

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I grew up in Clewiston, been gone for many, many years now, but since getting back into fishing this past October I've been eyeballing taking a week off and going "home" with the boat, staying at the Marina and fishing the lake (and maybe a few canals for old times sake) since then.  The issues with the algae and water levels caught my attention and I've been trying to educate myself and keep up with what's going on.  But from where I sit it is a convoluted mess with a few special interest groups getting involved, pointing fingers, trying to reinvent the wheel and promote changes that just aren't realistic or feasible.

 

Governor Ron Desantis has suggested getting the lake down to 10.5 by June 1st, the idea being that with what is anticipated as a longer rainy season the lower level will allow the lake to capture more rain before any bleed off is required through the Calloosahatchee and St Lucy Rivers, which is blamed for the spread of the algae on both coasts.  While there needs to be some sort of short term band-aid applied to be sure, as Scott Martin points out in the video, a 10.5 lake level has it's own detrimental impacts in both the short and long term.

 

As geo g points out, the lake can be dangerous even at it's present levels in the 12.5 range, especially coming out of and around Clewiston and the west wall.  I can't even begin to imagine what a cluster-F*$# it will be any lower than that, but want to stress that my knowledge is based around a lake I haven't seen in better than 10 years and been on in over 30 years.  Take it with a grain of salt... ;)

 

At any rate, I have postponed my "reunion" trip this year and if I do manage to get away for a week I'll probably just stay closer to home and try out Hartwell or Clarks Hill/Thurman.  

 

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