While some might visualize a Florida fly fishing trip on the flats with a guide perched high atop a poling platform, still others yearn for freshwater spots where bass and bluegill abound. Charlotte County offers freshwater buggy whippers of all experience levels a place to perfect tight loops or popper techniques.

If you want to try fly fishing for our treasured Florida-strain largemouth or a few feisty bluegill, look no further than these five Charlotte County spots. 

  1. Audubon Pennington Nature Park 

    Operated by the Peace River Audubon Society, the Audubon Pennington Nature Park off of Alton Road may be better known by bird watchers, but shouldn't be overlooked as a freshwater shoreline fly fishing stop either. The canal that twists through the oak hammock and pine flatwoods is home to chunky largemouth bass and popper-pouncing panfish. Bring along a 6 to 7-weight fly rod with floating fly line for best results due to the shallow depth of the canal. 
  2. Webb Lake 

    Pack your fly box with #8 and #10 poppers for panfish, a few 1/0 Clousers or popping bugs for largemouth bass, and then plan a trip to Babcock/Webb Wildlife Management Area. Whether you want to cast from shore, kayak, or boat (electric trolling motor only), Webb Lake is 395-acres full of fly fishing opportunities. The open area near the first boat launch allows ample room for shoreline casters, and the second launch will put kayak or boat anglers in close proximity to loads of lily pads. 
  3. Lake Betty

    If you want to take the whole family along for a day of freshwater fly fishing in Charlotte County, Lake Betty in Port Charlotte is the ideal place to do it. Lake Betty Park (located off of Conway Boulevard) has a fishing pier and plenty of open shoreline space for easy casting. Largemouth bass are the primary species to target. Tie on a Gartside Gurgler or Muddler Minnow and make parallel to the shoreline.
  4. Bissett Park

    Bissett Park is another Charlotte County spot that is well-suited to family fly fishing trips. Located off of Path Avenue in Punta Gorda, the park has a variety of convenient amenities along with a sizeable freshwater pond that holds plenty of largemouth bass. While there are no kayak or canoe launches here, there are open shoreline areas near the tennis and shuffleboard courts. 
  5. Shell Creek

    Hathaway Park provides a convenient access point to Shell Creek Preserve. While there are a few places to cast from the shoreline and the pier, a fly fishing trip here is best spent by kayak or small boat. You will find that some of the most scenic portions of the creek are east of the park, as it narrows and winds towards its headwaters North of Bermont Road. Cast small poppers alongside the lily pads for strikes from bluegill, while switching over to baitfish-imitating streamer patterns near submerged trees and brush piles. 

    Now that you have a list of five places you can try freshwater fly fishing, make sure you have a current Florida freshwater fishing license (purchase one online through the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission) and pick a spot to visit. There is a trophy bass or burly bluegill out there somewhere, and it's just waiting for you in Charlotte County.