Lake Hatchineha is around 6,500 acres and is immediately upstream from Lake Kissimmee, and downstream from Lake Cypress. The Kissimmee river enters and exits on the southern end of the lake.
The water in Lake Hatchineha is generally under 8 feet. During the spring months fish will be found in 2-4 feet of water.
The water levels are controlled by flood gates, and the current flowing through the Kissimmee river seems to help fishing around the river mouth and points along the canals. The difference in water depth between winter level and spring-summer-fall can be as much as 18 inches or more, fairly dramatic when a lot of winter-early spring fishing is done in 3 feet of water or less.
Lures and Baits
Almost everything works here. About the only things that DON”T work well are lures that bury into the weeds, like deep running crankbaits. (‘course I’m sure that SOMEONE at the camp has used ‘em and caught fish on them)
Topwaters, shallow crankbaits, weedless spoons, spinnerbaits, plastic worms, and buzzbaits all work fine, as well as the big bass champion, the wild golden shiner.
There are several distinctive types of cover in Lake Hatchineha. The fish are in different types according to the time of year and the weather. Below is a breakdown of the types and patterns.
Hydrilla grows in water over 4 feet deep. Bass will be in hydrilla after the water reaches a higher temperature. Hydrilla is the most dominant feature of vegetation in Lake Hatchineha, creating quite a navigational hazard at times in the late spring and summer. A lot of the lake is again becoming filled with hydrilla as of March, 1999, but we saw last year that when hydrilla becomes a problem, spraying efforts can knock it down real quick.
Bass will frequent lotus pads (aka lily pads) after a cold front. The bottom is mucky where pads grow, and retains heat a little better. If a cold front passes by, fishing pads with June bug colored crawfish, black-green crawfish down in the roots may work. Otherwise, pads don’t seem to hold many bass as some of the other vegetation. Panfish seem to be near the edges of the pads quite a bit of the year.
Kissimmee Grass grows in around 2-4 feet of water and may contain lots of Bass, particularly during spawning season. Kissimmee grass can be fished with lots of methods, both artificial and live bait.
A favorite spawning spot for bass. Called Flags by the locals, it grows inside the Kissimmee grass line. During winter-spring, when water levels are high, a lot of the arrowhead is in fairly fishable water.
Reeds grow in clumps among the Kissimmee grass and Arrowhead. Pay careful attention to the matted areas. Bass lurk all in around the reeds.
Reeds come in two types – sawgrass, which look like cattails, and buggy whips, which are thinner and much less matted. Sawgrass is thicker and often makes a nearly impenetrable wall along the shorelines and islands. Both hold plenty of bass and other creatures.