Friends of Apopka


The Friends of Lake Apopka (FOLA) have partnered with the FWC, TrophyCatch and Bass Pro Shops on an exciting tagged fish promotion. During January 15 through May 31 of 2021 anglers can complete for incredible prizes totaling $10,000!


Catch a Tag


The FWC has tagged 500 sportfish in Lake Apopka, including largemouth bass, black crappie, and bluegill, to help promote fishing on the lake. If you catch and report a tagged fish, you will be entered into a drawing for prizes up to $1,000.


Additionally, a TrophyCatch-sized bass named “Jim Thomas,” after the founder of the Friends of Lake Apopka, has been tagged (FOLA #091), and if caught during the competition dates could be worth up to $5,000. NOTICE: If you catch “Jim Thomas,” simply cut the tag as close to the bass as possible and report it for $2,500! To raise the prize to $5,000 then be sure your photo or video captures from Jim’s tail to his readable weight on the scale. To qualify for the full reward, you must properly document, submit, and get approved into the TrophyCatch program.

Jim Thomas



Lastly, the heaviest TrophyCatch approved bass caught from Lake Apopka between January 15 through May 31 will be awarded an additional $500 in Bass Pro Shops gift cards! This prize excludes the Jim Thomas bass, but no tags are necessary to win. This is just one more reason to plan your next fishing trip to Lake Apopka!

Apopka $500 Reward


For additional information on the contest, please visit: 


Lake Apopka Information:

Lake Apopka is the 4th largest lake in Florida at 30,000 acres and is located on the Harris Chain of Lakes in Orange and Lake counties.


There are 5 public access points including (*Magnolia ramp closed for improvements*):

  • Newton Park Boat Ramp: 798 North Lakeview Avenue, Winter Garden, FL 34787
  • Montverde Boat Ramp: 17208 Abrams Avenue Montverde, FL 34756
  • McDonald Canal Boat Ramp: 24600 County Road 448A Mount Dora, FL 32757
  • Apopka/Beauclair Lock and Dam: Apopka/Beauclair Canal
  • *Magnolia Park Boat Ramp: 2929 Binion Road Apopka, FL 32703


Public Shoreline Fishing Opportunities include: 

  • Newton Park Fishing Pier: 31 W. Garden Avenue Winter Garden, FL 34787
  • Jake Voss Fishing Pier: N. Tubb Street Oakland, FL 34760
  • Oakland Nature Preserve Boardwalk: 747 Machete Trail Oakland, FL 34760


Over the years St Johns River Water Management District and the FWC have invested millions of dollars to help restore Lake Apopka. Restoration activities include replanting of native vegetation, land acquisition of adjacent marsh land, rough fish harvesting, and fish stocking. In 2016–2017, the FWC stocked over 1.4 million fingerling largemouth bass in an effort to increase the bass population. These bass are now 3 and 4 years old and up to 20 inches in length.


Apopka Fish Stocking


Apopka Fish Stocking


Since 2011, the FWC has invested over $500,000 in replanting of native spatterdock (pads) plants in Lake Apopka. From 2011–2014, over 100,000 spatterdock plants, spanning over 125 acres, were planted in Lake Apopka. Today, these planted areas are well established and provide valuable fish habitat and wind breaks for the littoral zone to help shelter and promote submersed vegetation growth.

Submersed vegetation has steadily expanded in the lake. In 2019, St. Johns River Water Management District surveyed the perimeter of lake and reported that 91% of the shoreline transects had submersed aquatic habitat present, which was up from 75% in 2018. In the summer of 2020, the FWC conducted vegetation sampling and found significant expansion of submersed aquatic vegetation, due to non-native hydrilla expanding on the south, east and north sides of the lake.


Apopka Heat Map


The FWC samples fish using electrofishing in both the fall and the spring. From our annual spring bass sampling, it was found that 40% of the lake has high catch rates and boast some of the fastest growing bass in Florida. Below is a hot spots map that shows some areas where there have been high catch rates of bass over 16 inches.   

Lake Apopka also offers anglers great panfish opportunities. During the FWC’s fall sampling on Lake Apopka, we often see bigger bluegill and higher black crappie catch rates compared to other Harris Chain Lakes. Based on previous angler surveys, 60% of the anglers targeted black crappie and had a success rate (fish harvested per hour) of 1.95 fish/hour, which was above the statewide average.


Apopka Map