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George Welcome

Stick Marsh/Farm 13 and more

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As the saying goes, "time flies when your having fun", and that has been the case here on Stick Marsh/Farm 13, Ansin/Garcia, and Blue Cypress Lake. We have been fishing all three locations depending on weather and winds with most of our time being spent on Stick Marsh/Farm 13.

Blue Cypress Lake: This is one of the most enjoyable lakes to fish, and although it doesn't have the reputation for and abundance of big fish, they are there to be caught. The lake is a large oval, and the only natural lake in the Blue Cypress Conservation Area. Surrounded by towering cypress trees that in many areas come well out into the water the lake offers good bass fishing and a stellar reputation for producing big crappie. Access to the lake is good via 2 ramps that are located at Middleton's Fish Camp and Middleton's offers the finest shiners if you wish to live bait fish. Unlike many of the Florida man-made impoundments this is a lake well suited to shore pounded with varied offerings around the lake. The west shore from Middleton's Fish Camp south is heavy with Kissimmee Grass, Bulrush, and Maiden Cane as well as cypress trees. This grass continues along the south rim and then north along the east rim to about mid-point of the lake. The northern have of the lake is cypress laden with access well back into the cypress. It's all great fishing but my favorite is working the grass areas of the lake. Exiting out the mid-point of the north shore is the M-Canal that runs the length of the Marsh/Farm and the Zig/Zag which heads east along the south end of the Farm. At times both legs can be excellent. Over the next couple of months the spawn will be setting up and taking place. You can get the hot spot information by talking with the gang at Middleton's Fish Camp. The only drawback to the fishing here is the dirt road access which can be quite rough with washboard effect at times. The access road is located going north off Route 60, approximately 3 miles east of YeeHaw Junction.

Ansin/Garcia Lake: This man-made impoundment located off Route 512, 1.5 miles north of Route 60 and just 8 miles west of I95 Vero Beach exit is another winner in this group of lakes. Although it shares the same waters as the Stick Marsh, it was designed totally different which makes it a great place to go when the wind makes the Marsh a difficult place to fish. For many, its tranquil scenery, and varied impoundments make it the favored choice over all the lakes. This lake was at one time a horse ranch which included a race track for training. The outline of the racetrack is still very visible and can be traced by boat, and at times can produce some excellent fishing. From areas heavily covered with spatter dock, to impoundments of open water this lake offers a much varied fishing mecca. Navigational concerns are few compared to the Marsh however, the false levees that separate some of the impoundments should be approached with caution. With lake levels up as they are right now there is no concern, but as lake levels drop, groundings become possible. Access to this lake is directly off 512 and pavement all the way. Two ramps and a spacious parking lot make this one easy to get to.

Stick Marsh/Farm 13: This man-made lake is reputedly one of the finest producing lakes in North America, and rightfully so. The numbers of fish caught each year that are in excess of 10-pounds is staggering, and days presenting catches of more than 50 bass are common. It is not a small lake as is the common perception based on its name, presenting 6700 acres, (11 square miles), which can be quite daunting to figure out at times. The conditions below the surface vary tremendously with the Stick Marsh being a lake of cover which ranges from a mixture of Cypress, Palm, and Wax Myrtle. Although not prominent features, there are a couple old hunting roads that criss-cross the lake and knowing where these start and end can give you a distinct advantage in tracking bass on this side. Although fish can be found on the Marsh side throughout the year, the spring holds the better fishing. Areas of historical preference seem to be the northwest quadrant, an area called Twin Palms, (located sort of in the middle of the lake), and the SW.

Separating the lake to force the water to flow greater distance is a divider levee that goes 3/4 of the way from the east to the west. The south side of that levee is Farm 13, which is totally different from the Marsh side. The bulk of area is open flat field which was once a radish field, farm #13 of Fellsmere Farms, hence the name. Although there is only grass for cover in the open area, this side has structure. There are 3 irrigation ditches that run from the north to the south, and one major feeder ditch that runs from the east to the west at mid field. In addition there are two current producing structures: an irrigation pumping station at mid-point on the east wall, and the famous spillway allowing access to the water flowing into the Marsh/Farm from Ansin/Garcia, which is in the SE corner. If either structure is producing current and attract the bass the fishing will simply blow your mind. Days of 250 bass and more have been had by two people fishing in these locations. The only way to know if there is current is to go and look as neither structure is operated on any schedule and both are controlled by two different entities.

The south end of Farm 13 holds much of interest for our spawning season. With wood located everywhere below the surface it offers the bass conditions that are ideal in support of their reproduction endeavors. This is also the area of the lake that sees the most boat damage, so a word to the wise: be careful across the entire southern width of the Farm.

For all three lakes, bait selection can be quite varied. However there are some that are a staple to production and should be a major portion to your tackle selection. Rattle traps, small crank baits, hard jerk baits, plastics, spinner baits, and top water baits are all requisite in your box and will cover just about all the bases for you. Line strength should be in the 17# plus range as you need to get the fish up and keep them out of the wood. Also poles should have adequate backbone to facilitate moving the fish quickly.

When fishing any of these lakes remember: The next cast can produce a fish that is in excess of 10-pounds. Stay alert, and keep casting. See you out there. Say hi if you get the chance.

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Guest avid

Well there you have it boys and girls.

There are few people who know this area as well as GW.

and take it from ole uncle avid.

There are more than few bigguns to be had.

just check my avatar.

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Avid, so that is where you go to catch those lunkers.

You guys really have it good in Florida when it comes to fishing, both fresh and salt water.

Keep those photos coming and remember to smile!

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