Known to Florida locals as Lake Toho and located in the city of Kissimmee, explore everything there is to know about bass fishing Lake Tohopekaliga.
Lake Tohopekaliga is the largest lake in Osceola County, Florida.
Also known as Lake Toho, Toho, or West Lake, this 22,700-acre body of water is four miles long and spans an impressive 42 miles in circumference. Its nicknames help discern it from its neighboring lake, East Lake Tohopekaliga, separated from Lake Toho by the three-mile-long Canal 31, or St. Cloud Canal.
Bordered on the northern shore by the city of Kissimmee and the eastern shore by Kissimmee Park, the lake sees a significant number of tourists every year who come to check out the excellent birdwatching and bass fishing opportunities.
This is a theme carried throughout the state, as Florida is known for the excellent fishing opportunities it provides residents and visitors alike.
1. Lake Toho: An Ideal Spot For Bass Fishing
Located only half an hour away from both Disney World and Orlando, Lake Tohopekaliga is a perfect day trip on your way to discover the exciting theme parks our state has to offer.
If you plan to stay overnight, there’s an on-site campground complete with RV hookups. Known as Lake Toho RV Resort, you’ll find this spot on the eastern bank of Lake Tohopekaliga in southern Kissimmee. Within the campground itself, you’ll have quick access to a boat ramp, boat slips, and even a bait and tackle shop.
The lake is only 25 minutes away from the city of Kissimmee and under an hour away from the Lake Marion Creek Wildlife Management Area, which offers excellent opportunities for hunting deer, migratory birds, and even wild hogs depending on the season.
If you’re a serious angler looking to spend a significant amount of time on the water, Lake Tohopekaliga is ideal. The lake’s entire span includes two fish camps, one marina, four public boat ramps, and one county park, all available to anyone who wishes to use the area.
Around the lake, you’ll find several spots known to insiders as prime bass fishing holes. These include North Steer Beach, Goblet’s Cove, and Brown’s Point. There are also eight man-made fish attractors that supply a solid concentration of bass to the lake’s deeper regions during the summertime.
When the flow is strong enough through these tributaries, you can also find great fishing opportunities along Shingle Creek and St. Cloud Canal.
You’re welcome to bring your own canoe, kayak or fishing boat if you’re experienced on the water. You’ll find easy access to the boat launch ramp. You can also fish from the bank or hire a lake Toho fishing guide for a hands-on lesson!
2. Esteemed Bass Fishing Tournaments
As its one of the most popular bass lakes in the entire country, it comes as no surprise that Lake Tohopekaliga is home to some of the best bass fishing tournaments in the nation.
These include the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens Tournament Series and the Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) Professional Bass Tournament.
There’s a reason some of the best bass fishermen in the United States flock to this part of Florida every year to try their hand at a trophy. According to Bassmaster Magazine, which recently recognized Lake Tohopekaliga as one of the 25 best bass lakes in the Southeast, the area might be “the most consistent lake in the Sunshine State”, known for its big quantities of big fish!
That kind of reputation is bound to attract the industry’s elite.
In fact, in 2004, Bassmaster Elite Series pro Dean Rojas broke the BASS Anglers Sportsmans Society Sport (B.A.S.S) record for the heaviest five-bass limit ever caught, right on Lake Toho. Totaling 45 pounds and two ounces, the five fish set a new high that remains unmatched today.
When it comes to official lake records, Captain Ed Chancey holds the one for the biggest bass. Chancey’s catch weighed in at a whopping 16 pounds, 10 ounces.
In addition, the world record for the largest woman-caught bass was also achieved at Lake Toho. It weighed 14 pounds and five ounces.
3. Wide Variety of Fish Types
Though largemouth bass might be its calling card, you’ll also find plenty of other kinds of fish in and around Lake Tohopekaliga.
It’s well-known for its healthy and thriving populations of channel catfish, black crappie, spotted sunfish, redear sunfish, warmouth, chain pickerel, bluegill, and longnose gar.
One of the reasons why such a large variety of fish prefer this body of water is its vast vegetation. It won’t take long to notice that the lake has dense populations of hydrilla in certain areas. Though bass fishing activities often concentrate in this area, it can be difficult to spot the fish among the plants!
When you visit, keep in mind that you might find hydrilla growing in different stages all around the lake. Start by finding plants that look alive, which are often teeming with minnows and birds! Use moving baits such as trolled shiners, swimbaits, or lipless crankbaits, to help eliminate water in those areas.
As soon as you spot a concentration of bass, you can slow down your efforts and truly enjoy the sport.
Over time, you’ll discover situations and environments that are more conducive to catching bass than others. You might find that the fish tend to hit off a point or in a pocket. Other times, they’ll hit off the bottom.
As you learn their habits, try to replicate your methods all the way around Lake Toho!
4. Bass Fishing Tips
Lake Tohopekaliga isn’t particularly deep. In fact, it’s one of the most shallow lakes in the region. As such, it’s bass populations are more affected by weather conditions than ones that live deeper in the water.
If you fish there during the spring season, which runs from December to April, you’ll have the most luck using shiners as bait. Try positioning your anchor a few feet away from vegetation in a spot that holds around one to four feet of water.
If you prefer artificial lures, we recommend sticking to lipless crankbaits, swimbaits and flipped plastic crawfish. Especially if you’re new to the area, it’s easiest to start in areas that have already been scraped. In this case, you’ll want to stick close to spots such as Whaley’s Landing, the interior of Brown’s Point, and Goblet Cove.
As the weather warms up and summer approaches, the water level around Lake Toho will begin to drop, with the most noticeable changes taking place by June.
Lake Toho Bass Fishing Map
During this time, a majority of the bass population will move away from those shallow areas and into the Kissimmee grass or hydrilla that outlines the lake. Some of the best summer fishing spots include Lanier Point, Browns Point, and Big Grassy Island. In addition, the lake’s north shore is replete with tall grasses often concealing large populations of bass ready to bite.
In addition to seasons and weather conditions, the time of day you choose to fish can also affect your success rate.
Do you love to cast a line in the early morning hours? If so, it’s best to stick to topwater baits, including jerkbaits, lipless crankbaits, and swimbaits. Mid-day anglers might see more success with a live worm or crayfish-type lure thrown into thick vegetation.
5. What to Bring
Before you set out for a great day of fishing at Lake Tohopekaliga, don’t forget to pack your Florida fishing license! You can order a recreational one from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) here.
While you can fish in all kinds of climates, it pays to prepare. Check the forecast before you leave. If it’s hot and sunny, load up with plenty of sunscreen, a sun-blocking hat, and a pair of polarized sunglasses. If it looks like rain on the horizon, be sure to pack a high-quality umbrella, along with rain boots and a rain jacket.
In fact, go ahead and pack a sturdy pair of boots, even if the sun is shining. While you can get around Lake Toho by boat in tennis shoes or flip-flops, waders will let you enter the water comfortably.
If you’re camping, pack a bag with all of your personal essentials, including any medications you might need. You’ll also want to have plenty of insect repellant on hand!
In addition to your fishing rods, bait, and tackle, you might also want to bring along a camera or smartphone to capture that great catch you’re sure to land!
Lake Tohopekaliga Boat Ramp
You’ll find the Lake Tohopekaliga boat ramp at the Big Toho Marina located at 69 Lakeview Drive, Kissimmee, FL 34741
Big Toho Marina is located at the lake’s northern end in historic downtown Kissimmee. 69 Lakeview Drive, Kissimmee, FL 34741. The marina is also known for the delicious hamburgers it flips up daily at the on-site grill. You’ll also find a full line of bait and tackle.