Lakes are not the same after Hurricane Irma.

It has been almost three weeks since Hurricane Irma passed thru Kissimmee and right over Lake Toho. The water is still muddy, the stench remains in the air, especially around Shingle Creek and the water level on the whole Kissimmee Chain is high and water is flowing. I spoke with a few anglers about their take on the aftermath of Irma and how it has effected the lakes.

I asked Jay Turner with Jay’s Bass Bustin Guide Service how the fishing has been for his Guide Trips taken on Toho in the recent week. Jay states “ There are a lot of fish being caught in the running water from West Lake down to Lake Kissimmee. The water has a bad smell too.” Jay is not sure what long term effects the storm will have, but feels that the fishing will be good for the next two weeks if you find the right place in the running water. Jay and his guest have been averaging 25 fish on half day guide trips.

Mark Lundgren, Service Manager at Toho Marine and Outdoors and the organizer of the Toho Marine Wednesday Night Shootout shared with me some of the storm effects he has seen, not only on the Kissimmee Chain but down on Lake Okeechobee as well. Here on Toho for the weekly Wednesday Night Tournament, he states “ The fish being brought in were bigger before the storm.” “ Offshore hydrilla has been ripped up, the waters are muddy and those catching fish and winning are focused on the running water.” Fish not being caught in the running water are being caught in the shallow waters, where they seem to have moved up to. Down on Lake Okeechobee, the North end of Eagle Bay and Grassy Island is half of what it used to be according to Lundgren. Part of it just disappeared. Also the areas of Spoil Island and Harney Pond have no vegetation on them, and with the water as high as it is now and expected to recede, boats will certainly get stuck or tore up so be careful there.

The first night tournament held since the Hurricane and after the boat ramps were cleaned up and repaired attracted only 10 boats. The team of Terry Seagraves and Paul won it with a five fish limit and 13.50 pounds. Second place went to the team of Joe and Carrot with 12.32 pounds. Rounding out Third was the duo of Shelton and Chris with 11.14 pounds and the Denali Big Bass a 4.40 pounder. Now that Fall is here and daylight seems to be getting shorter, weigh-ins are now at 8 p.m.

The Osceola Anglers, Back the Blue fundraising carwash that was cancelled due to the hurricane is scheduled for Saturday September 30. From 9am to 2 pm at Folsom Services – 25 E. 13th Street in St. Cloud. Drop in and support a great group of anglers and a good cause!

Have a wonderful weekend. Tight Lines friends.