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For fun in summer, try fishing area lakes

© St. Petersburg Times
published June 2, 2002

It won't be long before all the youngsters rejoice with schools closing for summer break. What better time for them to go fishing? And just in time, the city of St. Petersburg's Department of Leisure Services has opened 18 freshwater and two saltwater lakes.

All lakes remain open through Labor Day. Fishing is allowed between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily.

A freshwater fishing license is required at all freshwater lakes except for ages 15 and under or anyone using a cane pole. Shoreline fishing only; no boats are permitted.

Usually freshwater lakes are stocked with largemouth bass, bream, catfish and Nile perch.

Youngsters do not need special tackle in these lakes. In fact, the simpler the better. A 10-foot cane pole that costs about $6 and a ready-rig for it that has the hook, line, weight and bobber is all they need. And that's a few more dollars. So for less than $10 youngsters are ready to go.

Nearly all fish in the freshwater lakes can be caught on bread balls or worms. A few slices of bread aren't a big deal, and if youngsters want to use worms, let them dig their own. If that doesn't work, worms are available at most bait shops at about $3 a cup.

The same pole and gear can be used at saltwater lakes. Frozen shrimp or squid are better suited for bait. Saltwater lakes generally have spotted sea trout, silver trout, sheepshead, redfish (red drum), mullet, catfish and Nile perch.

No license is required to fish from shore. The saltwater lakes are Bartlett Lake, 22nd Avenue and Fifth Street S, and Fossil Park Lake, 70th Avenue and Seventh Street N.

These lakes remain open for year-around fishing: Bartlett, Fossil Park, Walter Fuller and certain sections of Lake Maggiore, 38th Avenue and Dr. M.L. King (Ninth) Street S.

The Department of Leisure Services asks those who fish in the lakes to observe these guidelines:

Cast netting is permitted on Lake Maggiore only.

Crab traps are not allowed in a city lake.

Obey all posted signs.

Fish only from shore.

Clean fish at home.

Use trash container.

Remove litter from your fishing outing.

Do not encroach upon private property.

Be considerate of the surrounding neighborhood.

Do not create excessive noise.

-- Capt. Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 510-4376. If you've had a great day fishing from land and want to share it with readers, contact the LUBBERLINE at (727) 893-8775 or e-mail

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