Rodman Reservoir Drawdown Fishing

If there is one place in the state of Florida that is stunning, beautiful, and absolutely amazing for largemouth bass fishing, it’s the Rodman Reservoir. As you wind through the back roads and adventure into the remoteness of Central North Florida, the chills start crawling up your back. You are finally here in Florida, after many months of waiting and impatience. After hitting the dirt road, you know that your adventure is about to begin. Luckily, you planned your trip just right. The Rodman Reservoir has a drawdown roughly every 4 years. 2019-2020 is the year of the drawdown. If you are looking for the biggest bass of your life in a fishery that is remotely unique from the rest, come enjoy some Rodman Reservoir Drawdown Fishing.

The Rodman Reservoir:

Rodman Reservoir North Florida SceneryBefore going into why you should come bass fishing on the Rodman Reservoir, you need some back history. The Rodman Reservoir or Lake Ocklawaha is an artificial reservoir located on the Ocklawaha River in Putnam and Marion County. 15 miles of water that covers 9,500 acres makes this destination one of the best bass fishing locations in the state of Florida. It is widely known as being a top tier and premier bass fishing destination in North Florida.

The Reservoir has so many uses: not only is it an environmental treasure and home for many different species of birds, fish, and mammals, it’s a watershed that filters and helps hold and cleanse water and then sends 21 billion gallons of freshwater to St Johns River.– Rodman Reservoir

The earthen dam and reservoir were the first of a set of two dams and reservoirs that the Corps planned to build along the Ocklawaha River. One of the most important reasons for building this reservoir and dam system was to help facilitate navigation along the Florida Barge Canal. Environmentalists came in and halted construction on the canal creating what we know today as the Rodman Reservoir.

Environmentalists and political leaders continue to work hard to restore the Ocklawaha River to flourish the surrounding ecosystem for all anglers to enjoy.  The discontinued Barge canal and existing river channel have water depths of up to 30 feet. You can enjoy fishing around floating and submerged vegetation, dead standing timber and tree stumps that provide shelter for trophy Florida largemouth bass.

Every 3-4 years Rodman Reservoir drawdowns are conducted to control aquatic plant life, fish, and wildlife habitat enhancement. It is also the time when all the trophy largemouth bass get pulled into smaller confined areas allowing for exceptional, world-class bass fishing.

World Class Rodman Reservoir Drawdown Fishing:

If you always dreamed of catching a trophy largemouth bass, NOW is the time to explore. During the Rodman Reservoir Drawdown, you will get the opportunity of catching large numbers of trophy largemouth bass. As the drawdown slowly occurs, largemouth bass will congregate in concentrated areas on the Reservoir.

It takes a skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable local experts to get you around the fish of a lifetime. They have spent years on the water making sure that when you come down, you have the best time possible. Our experts are geared to tailor their guiding experience to your needs. If you want to learn more about how to effectively use live bait for trophy bass, this is the time to go fishing.  Rodman Reservoir Drawdown Fishing Charter

Also, many bass fishermen and anglers are more concerned with how can I catch trophy bass with artificial baits. Rodman Reservoir Fishing will get the chance at catching giant and monster largemouth bass with artificial baits. Our local experts will dial you in on how to catch bigger bass every time you go fishing. Big baits and slow presentations will be the way to go when fishing this time of year.

During the whole drawdown experience, the largemouth bass will begin to spawn. Once the water temperature is right, the process will begin. If you find key areas with hard bottoms around the protected structure, you can find some bedding fish. The large females will be around, hungry and ready to eat.

Proposed Rodman Reservoir Drawdown Schedule for 2019-2020:

The Drawdown on the Rodman Reservoir is essential for the protection and longevity of the ecosystem. It will help maintain the ecological health and productivity of the reservoir. As a result, there will be an increased benefit for all the recreational anglers that explore its waters.

Drawing the lake down to 11 feet will allow for the management of aquatic vegetation. Natural sunlight will penetrate and kill away invasive species of plants. After this occurs, the reservoir must be flooded and raised above normal water levels.

There are a number of reasons to flood the reservoir to 20 feet NGVD or above the National Geodetic Vertical Datum. Dropping and raising the water levels in a fishery are both equally important to help maintain and foster ecological growth.

Floating hyacinths, water lettuce, pennywort, etc will be loosened and broken from their roots. This will allow them to be transported to shallow water areas creating free weed control. After this occurs, it will be much easier to remove unwanted vegetation.

As you can see, this whole drawdown process is about ecological conservation. Conservation of the Rodman Reservoir will promote exceptional bass fishing for years to come. We strive to do everything we can to make sure that your experience is something magical.

September 10, 2019 – September 30, 2019: Surcharge to approximately 20.0 ft NGVD (National Geodetic Vertical Datum)

October 1, 2019 – October 15, 2019: Lower from 20.0 to 18.0 feet NGVD

November 15, 2019: Arrive at 11.0 feet NGVD

November 15, 2019 – March 1, 2020: Maintain the water level at approximately 11.0 feet NGVD

March 1, 2020: Begin refill to 18.0 feet NGVD

April 15, 2020: Arrive at 18.0 feet NGVD

April 15 – April 31, 2020: Surcharge to +/- 20.0 feet NGVD

Rodman Reservoir + Florida Fishery Conservation

Rodman Reservoir Father Son FishingIt is important to us and to the Rodman Reservoir that we always stay connected with conservation. Protecting this beautiful fishery and destination is essential. We want our kids and families to be able to experience this wonderful place for many years to come. If you are looking for that trophy largemouth bass and you happen to get it, take the right pictures and measurements. Your local expert can assist you with this.

As a result of taking measurements and pictures, you can have the memory of catching that fish forever. The fishing community found a solution to skin mounts and created replica mounts.  Unfortunately, skin mounts don’t last forever. If you take the right measurements and images of your fish, you can get a replica mount that WILL last forever. This is our suggested way of documenting and preserving your memory forever.

Also, don’t forget to register your Florida trophy bass catches of over 8-pounds with FWC’s trophy catch program. Free gifts and recognition is always a bonus on top of your awesome catch. Be sure to mention your local expert and who you caught your big bass with!

“The FWC mandates that all bass will be catch and release only during this period however panfish will be able to be taken in accordance with state laws, this is an awesome time to catch crappie and bream, I have spent many days only fishing for crappie even when the bass are biting.” – Capt Peter Thliveros

Why Fish the Rodman Reservoir for Trophy Largemouth Bass from the Local Experts themselves:

Captain Ken Walker

“The drawdown of the Rodman Reservoir only happens every 3-4 years. It’s primarily for vegetation control on the Reservoir without the use of chemicals. It allows the cold weather and associated frosts to help kill the overabundant, sometimes invasive plant species.

In doing so, the Reservoir is drained by 9 ft, on average. This causes the total water area (in acres) to go from 12,400 at full pool, to shrink to 4,300 acres. As a result, this leaves shallow areas, high and dry. This action concentrates the fish populations, into the deepest river channels, creeks, and the Florida Barge Canal.

The best fishing is for largemouth bass and crappie (speckled perch). It is absolutely off-the-chain! Moreover, bass and crappie get concentrated into spaces making for a great day of fishing. Live bait and artificials are both really good. Fish of all sizes can be caught in big numbers, including the Rodman Reservoir trophy bass, in excess of 8 lbs and up into the 12-13 lbs range.

Drawdown makes for the best bass fishing you can imagine and in any weather conditions. I’ve fished drawdown in weather from 24 degrees to 84 degrees and had the same results. If you are looking for the big ones, this is the time to come fishing.

The best fishing during the drawdown starts around November 20 and runs until March 1. At that time the Reservoir will be reflooded, which will take until approximately April 15,2020 to reach “ Full Pool” again.

I hope to get the chance to help you land that fish you are after. It would be a dream of mine to get you on that one fish you will never forget. Hope to see you on the water during the Rodman Reservoir Drawdown!”

Captain Peter Thilveros

“Rodman is and will always be one of my favorite places to fish, whether it is at normal pool or drawdown. The numbers of trophy fish over the years have been astounding with some of the largest being over 15 lbs!

I love fishing there during the low water period. It’s a great time to catch numbers of fish and also the big fish that live in the system. It’s best to fish the early part of the drawdown for the bigger fish, they get really smart as time goes on and the pressure of both fishermen and boat traffic on the greatly reduced waterway can have an adverse effect on fishing in general.

That being said don’t think there won’t be a lot of fish caught, in addition to a great shiner bite the artificial fishing will be awesome. This will be a great time for anglers who want to learn more about lure presentation and fish habits as well as how and where the fish position in moving water.

Above all, letting a trip like such pass could led to future regrets. Let’s get you ready and confirmed for that fishing trip you have been dreaming of. During this time and this year, you will have the opportunity at landing some of the biggest bass you had ever seen. Take advantage of our knowledge and years of experience to help you get the trophy bass you are after. Booking your Rodman Reservoir fishing trip early is really important because the spots fill up quickly.”

Captain David Lang

“The Rodman Reservoir Drawdown is a special time for me. It brings back memories from 4 years ago during the last one. It’s not every day that you get the chance to experience something like this. Fishing is simply amazing and you can fish all day until the bait is gone.

Beautiful and cool weather brings on the perfect match for a day on the water. These conditions paired up with the drawdown behavior of the fish result in some of the best fishing you will experience.

When traveling to the Rodman Reservoir during this time, you will most likely want to focus on catching Trophy largemouth bass. This will be a prime time to catch the biggest fish of your life. I also want to let you know about Crappie fishing. Enjoy spending time trolling spider rigs along deeper water putting fish after fish in the boat. If you love constant action along with some great table fare, crappie fishing should not be overlooked during this period of time.

One of my favorite parts about the Rodman Reservoir is that it’s consistently rated in the top bass fisheries in the nation.  Unquestionably, the best part about being a fishing guide is sharing along the passion for the sport. Now, I get the chance too and I really would love the opportunity to share a moment with you on the water.

Being fully-retired, it is nice to now guide clients for the joy and pleasure of putting smiles on travelers’ faces.  At any point in the day or during your trip, you can land a giant trophy largemouth bass. Fishing standing timber, big fish all trip long, the most breathtaking scenery you will ever see, is a small list of why you should come to experience the Rodman Reservoir Drawdown!”

Why You Should Fish with a Local Expert on the Rodman Reservoir:

There are two main reasons why picking a local expert to show you around the Rodman Reservoir is essential: Safe Navigation and Finding Trophy Largemouth Bass! Selecting and exploring the Rodman Reservoir, especially during the drawdown period with a local expert will provide you with safe navigation and the best shot at the trophy largemouth bass.  Rodman Reservoir Drawdown Fishing Trip

During the Rodman Reservoir Drawdown, water levels are going to drop. Contrary to previous navigation, the Reservoir will begin to get difficult to navigate.  If you are navigating the waters by yourself in your own vessel, please be careful. The smartest thing you can do is hire a local expert beforehand to get a better look and feel for navigation. Otherwise, let the local expert do his magic while you sit back and enjoy catching some big Florida bass!

The benefit of a local expert is that they also provide everything you need for the fishing trip. All you have to do is step aboard and sit back. When embarking on your fishing journey, everything you will need is included. Enjoy cold water and a cooler filled with ice for additional beverages and snacks you bring along. Live bait and a Florida fishing license will the only additional cost on your fishing trip. You can access the Florida Fishing License portal here!

Artificial Bait Fishing Vs Live Bait Fishing

If you are looking to catch the biggest bass of your life, live bait is the way to go. Presenting their natural forage to a hungry bass is irresistible. Once you hook the wild-caught live shiner, they begin to get nervous. The vibrations that they put off a draw in the largemouth bass.

During the Rodman Reservoir Drawdown, live bait fishing is going to be the best way to catch big numbers of trophy fish. If you are looking to dial in on some artificial bait and lures, you can also have a blast catching fish with them as well. Maximize your time and catching experience by getting live bait, but don’t be afraid to throw some artificial baits in the mix.  As a result, you never know what will happen and if anything, you will learn something along the way.

Rodman Reservoir Drawdown Fishing 2All across Florida, you can experience some exceptional fishing with live bait. As local experts and professional charter service, we always recommend live bait. There is something about watching your bait move or get nervous that gets your blood flowing. If you love a topwater bite, you have to explore what live bait can do for you. Largemouth bass will come out of nowhere to blow a wild-caught shiner out of the water!


NOW is the time to explore what North Florida bass fishing has to offer. The Rodman Reservoir is going to produce some of the biggest bass we have seen in a long time this upcoming season. Rodman Reservoir drawdown fishing has started and is now waiting for you. This place will instill memories into you for a lifetime to come and will have you itching to come back as soon as possible. The Rodman Reservoir is located near Gainesville, FL, home of some great fishing!

We hope you get to experience this amazing place with one of our local experts. If not, be careful and enjoy every moment on the water. See you on the water next time!

Come Visit Gainesville and Catch Yours Today

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