Regional Reports-South

Lake Tohopekaliga

The Kissimmee chain of lakes has long been noted for yielding long stringers of bragging-size largemouth bass. One of the lakes, West Lake Tohopekaliga (Lake Toho), located just west of Kissimmee/St. Cloud, currently may be the best bass fishery in the country. Last winter, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) fisheries biologists picked the 19,000-acre lake as one of "Florida's Top 10 Black Bass Lakes." Often this kind of claim proves to be a jinx, but at a tournament held in January, Toho put on a remarkable show. With a five-fish daily limit, the leading stringer for the first day was over 45 pounds-an average of more than 9 pounds per bass. The winning weight for the four-day tournament exceeded 108 pounds. The best may be yet to come, however, as Lake Toho is scheduled for a drawdown in the spring of 2002. Largemouth bass will become concentrated and the lake record of 17 pounds may be in jeopardy of falling as Toho offers unprecedented opportunities for trophy fish. Contact: FWC biologist Marty Mann (407-846-5300).