Lake Kissimmee

VillageAngler.com fishing Kissimmee

Lake Kissimmee (Approx. 35,000 acres) is the southernmost lake in the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, averaging 6 to 8 feet in depth at normal pool. To put the lake’s size in perspective, imagine trying to find a specific fishing spot on a body of water 6 miles wide by 15 miles long. The lake is linked to Lake Hatchineha in the west via a 4 mile section of the Kissimmee River. The State Hwy 60 Lock and Dam, located at the southern tip of the lake, connects Lake Kissimmee via the Kissimmee River, with Lake Okeechobee (469,500 acres), some 60 plus miles, and 4 man-made dam structures to the south. Lake Okeechobee eventually drains to the Everglades off its southwestern shores via man-made canals, and to the estuaries and back waters of the Atlantic Ocean off its southeastern shores via the Loxlahatchee National Wildlife Refuge.

Lake Kissimmee hosts 5 main islands. The largest is Brahma Island in the south end of the lake. It is followed in size by Sturm Island in the west quadrant of the lake, separated from the mainland by a narrow slice of waterway known to local anglers as the “Pig Trail”. Bird, Rabbit, and Ox islands are located along the east shoreline of the lake.

Lake Kissimmee’s inflow, other than direct down flow from the rest of the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes to the north, drains from the multitudes of sloughs, hammocks, creeks, rivulets, swamps, ponds, lakes, lowlands, bogs, marshes, and water management areas (3 Lakes WMA), which make up the vast, expansive, Lake Kissimmee Watershed. Specifically, Lakes Marian & Jackson, flow into Lake Kissimmee via the Jackson Canal on the southeastern end of the lake. Lakes Rosalie and Tiger, flow into Lake Kissimmee via Tiger Creek on the southwest corner of the lake, as it passes through the Kissimmee State Park.

The primary emergent aquatic vegetation types that flourish on Lake Kissimmee are Kissimmee grasses, maiden cane, bull rushes, cattails, pepper grasses, and lily pads. Bottom types are eel, musk, and shrimp grasses. Invasive species such as Hydrilla grasses, Gator Grasses, and floating Hyacinths, are kept in check by various eradication programs administered by the State of Florida.

Lake Kissimmee, like West Lake Toho, is world famous for its Bass fishing, and bird watching activities. Anglers, professional and otherwise, come to Lake Kissimmee to test their angling skills. Airboat tours are available for nature seekers, who desire to leave the beaten paths, and view the swamplands at arm’s length. Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area borders the lake on its eastern shores, and offers Turkey hunters from across the country, a chance to bag a highly sought-after “Osceola Tom” trophy.

1977 DRAWDOWN: This drawdown was a dewatering event, with no muck removal. Lake levels were lowered approximately six (6) feet, exposing approximately 20% of the lake’s bottom, allowing for the drying of the lake bottom materials.

1995-1996 DRAWDOWN: The lake underwent a six (6) month scheduled draw down between Nov. 1995, and May, 1996. The lake was lowered about six (6) feet during the first 3 month period, exposing approximately 20% of the lake’s bottom, allowing for the removal of mud, silt, and undesirable vegetation that had invaded the lake. The selected scrape areas were properties owned by the State of Florida. In part, these areas included the southwestern, northern, and eastern North Cove Basins, and sections of the lake's eastern shore lines from Joe Overstreet Landing, south past the 27-Palms area, towards the Jackson Canal. Locals refer to the Jackson Canal as Jack's Slough. The "Push-N-Pile" method was used for the muck removal process, and bull dozers, dump trucks, front end loaders, and heavy-duty scrapers, had 3 months to push, scrape, and pile muck along the pre-designated shorelines. The May completion deadline coincided with the beginning of the rainy season, so as to facilitate the rapid refilling of the lake to normal pool.

DRAWDOWN NOTE: The primary goal of the six (6) month scheduled West Lake Toho 1986/1987 drawdown was to simply expose the lake bottom so that Mother Nature could dry and consolidate as much of the exposed matter that time would allow during the final 3 months of the drawdown. A small scrape area about 4 miles long was completed and the muck was hauled away from the shoreline work site in dump trucks to pre-specified locations. Time consuming and expensive, this “hauling aspect” was eliminated to save project monies for the bids that were let for the forthcoming Kissimmee 1995/1996, the 1998 Lake Cypress, and the West Lake Toho 2003/2004 drawdown projects.

Finally, although Lake Kissimmee boasts being the largest lake (35,000 acres) in the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, the fact that it spans both Osceola County and Polk County, disqualifies it from holding this distinction, thus West Lake Toho (22,000 acres) takes the honor, as it is located ENTIRELY in Osceola County, as are Lake Cypress, Lake Hatchineha, and East Lake Toho.

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Directions

Lake Kissimmee - Ramp #1

Joe Overstreet Rd., Kenansville, Fl.34739
Lat:27.937449, Lon:-81.225978

Joe Overstreet Landing ramp.

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Lake Kissimmee - Ramp #2

1498 Grape Hammock rd., Lake Wales, Fl.33898
Lat:27.817615, Lon:-81.209539

Grape Hammock Resort ramp.

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Lake Kissimmee - Ramp #3

3999 Bruce Blvd., Lake Wales, Fl.33898
Lat:27.978875, Lon:-81.377491

Camp Lester Fish Camp ramp.

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Lake Kissimmee - Ramp #4

3999 Bruce Blvd., Lake Wales, Fl.33898
Lat:27.978875, Lon:-81.377491

Camp Mack Fish Camp.

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