The physical effects of channelization, including alteration
of the system's hydrologic characteristics, largely eliminated
river and floodplain wetlands and degraded fish and wildlife
values of the Kissimmee
River ecosystem. The meandering river was transformed
into a 56-mile-long, 30-feet-deep, 300-feet-wide canal.
Excavation of the canal and deposition of the resulting
spoil eliminated approximately 35 miles of river channel
and 6,200 acres of floodplain wetland habitat.
The Kissimmee Chain of Lakes:
The Kissimmee Chain consists of Lake Toho, East Lake
Toho, Lake Cypress, Lake Hatchineha, Lake Kissimmee, and
the canals that connect them. Other lakes connected by natural
creeks are Lakes Tiger, Marion, Jackson, Rosalie, and Walk-in-the-Water.
Water from Reedy creek north of the town of Kissimmee eventually
winds up in Lake Okeechobee on it's way to the Everglades.
East Lake Tohopekaliga is part of the Kissimmee River chain
of lakes. It has extensive growths of bulrush and torpedo
grass, which provide excellent habitat for bass. This lake
is one of the best in the state for numbers of bass. This
is one of the clearest lakes in the state. It is usually
easy to see bottom in 6 to 8 feet of water along the reed
line. Overall water quality is very good.
Butler Chain of Lakes:
Located west of Orlando. Johns Lake is at the Orange
and Lake county line and provides wonderful fishing. The
Winter Park Chain in Winter Park and Maitland is known for
its sightseeing opportunities. Several downtown lakes are
large enough to accommodate boating and have public boat
ramps. Clear Lake provides fishing opportunities for bass,
bream and catfish. Lake Ivanhoe fishing can be surprisingly
good for an urban lake. Lake Underhill is on the eastern
side of Orlando and is divided by the East-West Expressway.
This is a good lake to fish for crappie in the winter and
bass in the spring. A healthy catfish population offers
additional fishing opportunities.
Harris Chain of Lakes:
In central Lake County, with natural creeks, canals interconnect
the individual lakes. Boaters can launch in any of the lakes
and make their way into the Ocklawaha River to fish for
bass, bream and crappie.
Clermont Chain of Lakes :
Located in southern Lake County. Lake County has more than
1,000 named lakes. This chain is a popular fishing area
and the large, undeveloped marsh provides excellent wildlife
The Lake Holly Chain is located on Highway 450 just north
of Umatilla. The Ocklawaha River rises from the Harris
Chain of Lakes in Lake County, flows north through Marion
County and eventually discharges into the St. Johns River
near Welaka. The river is heavily used by pleasure
boaters, sightseers and anglers. Lake Weir is a 5,685-acre
lake that is one of the most popular recreation areas in
Marion County. Lake Kerr is in north Marion County near
the town of Salt Springs. It is surrounded by the Ocala
National Forest and is less urbanized than Lake Weir.