There is a short list of lakes around the country with a reputation for consistently producing a large number of trophy class largemouth bass. Year after year, Florida's famed Lake Okeechobee is at or near the top of that list because of the shear number of trophy class largemouth bass being caught and released. Locally referred to as "The Big O", Lake Okeechobee is the largest freshwater lake in the state of Florida. It is the seventh largest freshwater lake in the United States and the second largest freshwater lake (the largest being Lake Michigan) contained entirely within the lower 48 states. Okeechobee has over 450,000 surface acres of water covering 730 square miles, and is exceptionally shallow for a lake of its size, with an average depth of only 9 feet. With it's head waters over 100 miles to the north in Orlando, water flows into Lake Okeechobee from several sources, including the Kissimmee River, Fisheating Creek, Lake Istokpoga and Taylor Creek. The lake is part of the 154-mile Okeechobee Waterway that extends from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean, making it the most direct way to navigate to opposite sides of the state, without having to plot a course around the Florida Keys, making Lake Okeechobee as important to trade as it is to recreation.
From a recreational perspective, Lake Okeechobee is an outdoor enthusiast's paradise. Home to numerous species of flora and fauna, Big O is most famous for it's big bass. It is considered to be one of the best trophy bass fishing destinations in the world. If you are like most bass anglers, you've dreamed of catching a trophy largemouth on Lake Okeechobee, and if you haven't made it to The Big O yet, it's likely on your bucket list. If you're considering a trip to Florida, the good news is that all of the state's renowned fisheries as well as most of the lesser known ones have the potential to kick out a big bass on any given day. The reality is that only a fraction of the millions of anglers who target trophy largemouth annually will actually catch that fish of a lifetime. So how do you stack the cards in your favor? First and foremost, if you are not familiar with the fishery, plan to fish with someone who is. There are a number of reputable fishing guides who literally spend hundreds of days on the lake every year. They know where and how to catch the big ones. Secondly, if possible, try to plan your trip when bass are their biggest ... just before the spawn. The spring spawn tends to come a little earlier in South Florida than it does the rest of the country. For your best chance to catch a trophy largemouth, target dates between December and March, but you better book your fishing guides and accommodations early because the whole world knows that Lake Okeechobee is a great place to have an Ultimate Fishing Experience.