Skip to main content

2013 Challenge Cup Lake Istokpoga Zone Information

2013 Challenge Cup Lake Istokpoga Zone Information
2013 Challenge Cup Lake Istokpoga Zone Information

Permitted use provided by:

Lake Istokpoga is a 28,000-acre freshwater lake. The oblong-shaped lake is five miles wide by 10 miles long.

Despite its area, it is very shallow, with an average depth of only four feet. Maximum depth is 10 feet. Most of the shoreline is undeveloped and there are two islands, Big and Bumble Bee, in the lake's interior.

Depending on the weather, which is likely to be the determining factor for fishing success, local anglers have ranked the zones (best to worst) 5, 6, 3, 2, 4, 1. The weather, particularly the wind speed and direction, will change that ranking for any particular day. Of the six zones, all include very favorable bass habitat in which anglers have come up with quality fish. Over the last few years, hot spots on the lake have moved around a lot, depending upon the season and the state of the lake's vegetation.

The lake is very shallow, and when there's wind, it can get rough and hard to fish, very fast. It's not unusual when the winds are high to have the motor skeg touch the sandy bottom while riding up and down the high waves, especially on the west side of the lake, south of Henderson's Point.

The other obstacle is hydrilla, which can block water intakes and cause a motor to overheat. The state keeps a hydrilla control plan, so the actual location of hydrilla varies significantly from year to year and from one season to another.

Because Lake Istokpoga is at the base of the Lake Wales Ridge, hydrostatic pressure is created from lakes higher up on the ridge. As a result, there are a lot of seeps and freshwater springs in and around the lake, which create local areas of cooler or warmer water. These are invisible to the angler, but the consequence is that fish may be stacked up in one location, while 20 to 30 feet away there are few, if any, bass, although both spots may be a part of the same habitat and appear identical to anglers.

Zone 5 is difficult to fish when the wind is out of the northeast. The west shoreline of Zone 5 offers great fishing.

The majority of tournaments on Lake Istokpoga are won and the largest fish are taken by anglers who flip into bulrush habitat, or who fish through breaks in the hydrilla. Zone 5 is known as the "West Wall" and when the weather is good, fishermen patrol along the edge of the bulrushes, flipping them to catch big bass. When the lake is rough, this is a difficult technique, but anglers have learned they can go into the lagoons behind the bulrushes, fish in one to two feet of water and find big fish.

Zone 1: 7.3 miles primary shoreline, 0.9 miles island shoreline, 5,498 acres

Zone 2: 4.2 miles primary shoreline, 2.5 miles island shoreline, 2,822 acres

Zone 3: 3.3 miles primary shoreline, 3.9 miles island shoreline, 3,061 acres


Zone 4: 6.6 miles primary shoreline, 2.5 miles island shoreline, 4,211 acres

Zone 5: 3.7 miles primary shoreline, 3.1 miles island shoreline, 3,784 acres

Zone 6: 8.4 miles primary shoreline, 0.9 miles island shoreline, 5,836 acres

Jack Link's Major League Fishing Show Page

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Game & Fish Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now