Fishing is the second-most-popular sport in the U.S., and there are many parks in the Broward County system that have great fishing areas. (Applicable licenses are required.)
The following information about fishing in Broward County Parks comes from John Cimbaro, a biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The Plantation Heritage Fish Management Area (in Plantation Heritage Park) has fair to good bream (bluegill and red ear sunfish) fishing, good bass fishing, and good catfishing.
There are three fish feeders on site, and near those feeders are the best locations to fish for the bream and catfish. Channel catfish are stocked annually (4,000 fish/year), and catfish up to 12.5 pounds have also been caught at Plantation Heritage. The area is also very scenic. Fishing is allowed from the shore only, not from any of the rental boats. Because it is a Fish Management Area, there are other restrictions as well, such as only one pole per person (even if you are using cane poles), and you must have a valid freshwater fishing license if you are older than 16 or under age 65.
T.Y. Park is not good for bream fishing but very good for bass fishing. The best fishing is from boats (boats are available for rent). C.B. Smith Park has fair bass, with exotic spotted tilapia and a growing population of peacock bass present. There are no longer boat rentals at the marina, but there are lots of areas for shoreline fishing. Quiet Waters Park has good bass fishing and good shoreline access, and is a fairly scenic location to fish. Boats and food concessions are available at the Lakeview Marina. You may bring your own electric trolling motor for use on the rowboats. Fishing is permitted along any shore except at the Splash Adventure swimming beach and the Ski Rixen USA lake.
For all-around fishing, a good setup is a #8 Aberdeen hook fished about three feet under a one-inch bobber. A small split shot near the hook will keep your bait down where the fish can spot it. Recommended baits include live worms, crickets, cut-up hot dogs, and dough balls. All these baits, especially the live worms, will catch most kinds of fish but are especially good for bream. Good lures for bream include tiny jigs, beetle spins, or spinners. For bass, use larger hooks (1/0 or larger). The best bass bait is live shiner. Good lures for bass include plastic worms (black works well most of the time), minnow imitating lures, and spinner baits. Good baits for catfish include chicken or beef liver and live worms (catfish rarely strike lures). Use 1/0 or larger hooks for catfish and fish on the bottom rather than using a bobber.
Here are some other Broward County parks that have fishing areas:
- Brian Piccolo Park & Velodrome - Allowed along the back lake on the dock and west of the dock. No boats allowed.
- Deerfield Island - Primary locations are the marina and west of the picnic area on the Hillsboro Canal.
- Everglades Holiday Park - Fish from our docks or from a boat. Catch-and-release encouraged. State of Florida fishing licenses are required and are for sale on site.
- Hollywood North Beach Park - Fishing is allowed off all the fishing piers on the east side of the Intracoastal Waterway and from the park shorelines as well.
- Markham Park & Target Range - Several lakes and access to the levee leading to the Everglades through Markham Park are great for fishing as well. People also fish in the south and west canals that run along the two sides of the park.
- Reverend Samuel Delevoe Park - Fishing in the lake from shore only; no boat rentals.
- Tradewinds Park & Stables - Lots of shoreline fishing on both the north and the south sides of this park. Tradewinds is the best Broward County park for catching peacock bass, which are becoming more abundant on the south side of the park.
- Tree Tops Park - Fishing is allowed along lake banks.
- West Lake Park - Fishing is allowed from boats out on the waters of West Lake Park. A wide variety of saltwater species can be caught in West Lake, including snook, sheepshead, black drum, and mangrove snapper. In addition, fishing is allowed from all sides from the Sheridan Street bridge that crosses the lake and off the Fishing Trail boardwalk/fishing pier. Lastly, fishing is allowed from the South Trail into the Intracoastal Waterway along the path that goes under the west side of the Intracoastal bridge and continuing along the west side of the Intracoastal Waterway. The boats permitted in West Lake can't use fossil fuels - electric-powered or self-propelled boats only.
Fishing at Broward County Parks can be excellent even if you don't own a boat. Quiet Waters and T.Y. (Topeekeegee Yugnee) parks both rent boats that you can fish from for a minimal fee on weekends and holidays.
If you have your own boat, ramps are available at the following parks: Markham Park & Target Range, Tradewinds Park & Stables, and West Lake Park. Check out the comprehensive list of boat ramps in South Florida.
The "Little League" of bass fishing started on February 2 at C.B. Smith Park. For results and this year's schedule, contact Gary Waingrow at 954-306-3441 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or check online.
This program is specifically designed for ages 12 to 17. Registration opens at the beginning of November and is limited to a maximum of 20 to 23 kids. All participants must be accompanied by an adult 18 years of age or older. The adult will not be permitted to fish. All participants must fish from a boat. Tournament rules are similar to those used in professional bass tournaments. Trophies are awarded at each monthly tournament for first through third places and Big Bass catch. Tournament point totals are compiled over the four months of competition. The angler with the most points at the end of the competition will be named Junior Angler of the Year and will be awarded a special prize package. Cost of the program is $75 (plus applicable sales tax) for each participant and covers all four tournaments. There is no fee for the adult in the boat.
For more details about registration, tournament rules, and general information, contact Bob Newland at 954-357-8816 or email RNewland@Broward.org. The 2015 dates are as follows:
- January 18 - Quiet Waters Park
- February 22 - Tradewinds Park & Stables
- March 22 - Tradewinds Park & Stables
- April 26 - Quiet Waters Park
The tournaments are held once a month on Sunday mornings from "first light" until 1 p.m.
We'll track each of the four tournaments with a rundown, such as these overviews for the 2014 events:
- January 19 at Quiet Waters Park - A chilly start to the first tournament, with an air temperature of just 40 degrees F. at the start. Twenty-one boats competed, and although seven failed to weigh in any fish, 47 bass were brought to the scale, including several weighing more than three pounds and one at more than four pounds. Last year's Junior Angler of the Year, Brad Galvin, is back for one more season, and he proved why he is the reigning champion. Our top five finishers are as follows: First Place - Brad Galvin, 5 fish, 12.60 lbs.; Second Place - Brock Davis, 5 fish, 8.30 lbs.; Third Place - Justin Ray, 3 fish, 7.95 lbs.; Fourth Place - Mason Tilbrook, 5 fish, 7.15 lbs.; - Fifth Place - Jack DeChene, 4 fish, 6.85 lbs.; Big Bass - Brad Galvin, 4.30 lbs.
- February 23 at Tradewinds Park - A lot warmer than January, with 22 boats competing and 67 bass brought to the scale. Similarly to last month at Quiet Waters, several fish weighed more than three pounds and one was more than four pounds. Last month's second-place finisher traded places with the winner at Quiet Waters, which should make the competition for the Junior Angler of the Year title fun to watch. Our top five finishers are as follows: First Place - Brock Davis, 5 fish, 10.25 lbs.; Second Place - Brad Galvin, 5 fish, 9.15 lbs.; Third Place - Wyatt English, 5 fish, 8.35 lbs.; Fourth Place - Robert Murphy, 5 fish, 7.5 lbs.; Fifth Place - Matt Makula, 5 fish, 7.40 lbs.; Big Bass - Brian Blickle, 4.2 lbs.
- March 23 at Tradewinds Park - As we turned the corner and finished the third tournament of this four-tournament series, we had another great day of fishing at Tradewinds. Sixteen boats competed and everyone caught fish, with a total of 70 bass weighed in collectively. The best total weights so far were posted at this one, with six bass weighing more than three pounds, including two more than 5 pounds. Our top five finishers are as follows: First Place - Wyatt English, 5 fish, 15.15 lbs.; Second Place - Austin Still, 5 fish, 13.42 lbs.; Third Place - Ben Tharrington, 5 fish, 11.80 lbs.; Fourth Place - Brock Davis, 5 fish, 11.52 lbs.; Fifth Place - Jakob Scott, 5 fish, 9.2 lbs.; Big Bass - Jakob Scott, 5.4 lbs. There is just one more tournament to go, and the Junior Angler of the Year will be decided next month at Quiet Waters. The competition is close, with Brock Davis currently with 146 points, Wyatt English with 143 points, Jakob Scott with 131 points, and Silvio Gonzalez with 130 points.
- April 27 at Quiet Waters Park - A good final tournament, with 49 bass brought to the scale. The results were close all the way around. Brock Davis was just a few points ahead of Wyatt English for the Junior Angler of the Year title, and both anglers stumbled a little in the final. Brock ended up taking Seventh Place and Wyatt took 10th Place. As a result, Brock was able to hold onto his lead and secure the title, winning $600 in prizes and the Russ Bringger Memorial Trophy. Jakob Scott, who finished in Third Place overall, also had the biggest bass of the year, at 5.4 pounds, earning him a $200 prize package. The competition was also close for top honors at Quiet Waters, with our top five finishers as follows: First Place - Brian Blickle, 5 fish, 12.75 lbs.; Second Place - Brooke Scott, 5 fish, 12.60 lbs.; Third Place - Jakob Scott, 5 fish, 9.7 lbs.; Fourth Place - Brad Galvin, 5 fish, 9.1 lbs.; Fifth Place - Ben Tharrington, 3 fish, 6.7 lbs.; Big Bass - Brooke Scott, 4.05 lbs.
2014 Bass Trail Facts
|Biggest bass caught - Jakob Scott
|Heaviest five-fish limit
|Total number of bass weighed in
|Total weight of all bass weighed in
|Average weight per bass
|Best tournament location
|Junior Angler of the Year
|Tournament prize package
||Worth approximately $1,300|
|Biggest bass caught in the last 15 years
||7.9 pounds at Tradewinds Park|
|Heaviest five-fish limit in the last 15 years
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