FISH FLORIDA ALLIANCE: Putnam County Tourist Development Council

Putnam County Tourist Development Council

Palatka, FL

Known at the Bass Capital of the World

Putnam County is home to 3 of the "Top 10" bass fisheries in Florida - the St. Johns River, Crescent Lake and Rodman Reservoir. Rodman also made #14 of the top 100 most productive bass fisheries in the nation by Bassmaster Magazine.

The St. Johns River flows north for 310 miles from Indian County to the Atlantic Ocean, and is divided into three basins - upper, middle, and lower. Putnam County is in the lower basin and centrally located to the river's best fishing.

Not only has it earned the title of "Bass Capital of the World", but offers a list of other freshwater and saltwater or brackish-water fishing. Freshwater species include the largemouth bass, black crappie (speckled perch), bluegill, shellcracker, warmouth and catfish. Saltwater species include red fish, flounder, sea trout and tarpon. Shrimp migrate up the brackish water during the summer months. Striped bass can be caught mostly during the fall and winter months.

From downtown Palatka south to Lake George, some 42 nautical miles, the St. Johns tree-lined shores and extensive vegetation provide an excellent habitat for fish. Lake George is a 46,000-acre natural impoundment of the St. Johns. It is the second largest lake in the state, with three spring-fed tributaries, and holds acres of eelgrass beds, as well as old pilings, docks, and jetties. In between the big lake and Palatka, the Ocklawaha River flows into the St. Johns north of Little Lake George via Rodman Reservoir/ George Kirkpatrick Dam. Further north Dunns Creek connects a 5-mile stretch southeast to Lake Crescent, a 15,960-acre lake bordering Putnam and Flagler County. North of Palatka Memorial Bridge to Trout Creek there are plenty of drops, sandbars, docks, pilings, and natural structures to satisfy any anglers idea of a good fishing trip. The river and its connecting waters have numerous marinas, hotels, fish camps, ramps and launches for local and visiting anglers.

Putnam County has the highest economic impact from freshwater fishing of all rural counties in Florida. Local anglers contribute much to the economy fishing weekly, while purchasing boats, motors, registrations, licenses, tags and marine equipment. Putnam’s waterways also attract many bass clubs from surrounding areas on a regular basis. Putnam County and Palatka are recognized across the country as one of the favorite sites for the Bassmaster Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.) professional fishing circuit. B.A.S.S. often returns to the Palatka riverfront to showcase their Elite event, where the world's top 100 professional anglers compete. This exciting event which attracts hundreds of spectators, gives the community national recognition and a terrific economic boost.

Palatka's riverfront is the site for the largest one-day bass tournament east of the Mississippi River. For over 30 years, the Wolfson Children's Hospital Bass Tournament (WCH) launches nearly 500 boats annually, with anglers from all over the southeast. Rodman Reservoir, known for its big bass, is host to the Annual Save Rodman Bass Tournament.

Putnam fishing has it all. Whether it be a family day in a boat, a dock, along the bank, or in the competitive atmosphere of tournament fishing.