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Bassmasters: Rodman Reservoir 17th best bass lake in U.S.



Monitor Editor

Bassmasters Magazine rated Rodman Reservoir, 20 miles south of Melrose,  as number 17 in its listing of the top 100 bass lakes in the U.S.

The Army Corps of Engineers created the 10,000-acre water body, also known as Lake Ocklawaha, in 1968 when it dammed the Ocklawaha River as part of the Cross Florida Barge Canal project.

Environmental groups successfully sued to stop work on the canal in 1971.  Twenty years later, Florida’s cabinet officially deauthorized the project.

Since that time, some environmental groups led by Florida Defenders for the Environment,  have also pushed to destroy the dam that created and sustains the lake.  They say they want to restore the lower Oklawaha to its original condition.

Opponents of that effort formed Save Rodman Reservoir Inc. in 1995 to preserve the lake.  The organization held its 17th annual Save the Rodman Open Bass Fishing Tournament April 20.

The reservoir is widely known as a fishery for championship-size bass.  In 2000,  a Virginia angler missed tying the state record by .07 pounds when he caught a 17.2 bass in Rodman.  The lake’s springs, floating cover of hydrilla and other foliage and a variety of bottoms including deep-water channels,  submerged timber and shallow  flats make it an ideal spawning ground for the fish.

This is the first year the lake made it onto Bassmasters Magazine’s top 100 list.  Other Florida lakes on the directory include Tarpon, Seminole and  Istokpoga.  The Kissimmee chain of lakes and the Florida Everglades also made the top 100.  Rodman Reservoir was the highest ranking Florida lake on the list.  The magazine judged Michigan’s Lake St. Clair as the top bass lake in the country.

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