There is no arguing that golf is by far the most popular recreational activity in The Villages.
However, there is plenty of debate over what activity can claim the number two spot. Fishing is definitely one of the leading candidates for that role.
Because of the year-round warm weather, there is almost never a bad time for fishing across all of Florida.
The Villages is also located only an hour drive from Crystal River, which is considered to have some of the best Tarpon fishing in the entire world.
While Crystal River is one of many great day trips that anglers can take, there is also an abundance of great fishing located right here in The Villages.
Fishing Rules in The Villages
When fishing at one of the many great locations around The Villages, it is important to make sure that you are following all of the guidelines set forth by the Villages Community Development District. These guidelines were put in place to ensure that fishing in The Villages will be a great experience for years to come.
The most important guideline to follow is that every fisherman over the age of 16 must have a valid license from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Children under 16 are not required to hold a license, and neither are residents over the age of 65 provided that they have proof of their age.
While there are many great fishing locations in The Villages, there are also some locations where fishing is prohibited.
It is important that you are aware of these locations and respectfully avoid fishing there. Fishing is not permitted in Lake Sumter, Harmeswood, or the two ponds located by the Sumter County Annex on CR466. Fishing is also not permitted anywhere that “No Fishing” signs are posted.
The Villages Community Development District specifies that fishermen are required to respect any private property rights around fishing areas. They also state that practicing catch and release is a requirement for fishing in The Villages.
Rod Loaner Program
One of the best things about fishing in The Villages is that you don’t even need to own a rod to participate!
The Villages Freshwater Fishing Club and the Recreation Department have put together a Rod Loaner Program that allows anyone to borrow rods and reels from the regional recreation centers at La Hacienda or Lake Miona.
These rods and reels are loaned to Villagers and guests free of charge. The only requirement for borrowing a rod is that you bring your Villages ID or Guest ID.
Best Fishing Spots
Some of the most popular fishing spots around The Villages include Lake Mira Mar behind the La Hacienda Recreation Center, Lake Chula Vista along the Bernardo Boulevard, and Silver Lake by the Silver Lake Recreation Center.
There are also a number of smaller ponds that make great fishing locations. Many Villagers suggest casting your line at the pond across from the Chula Vista Recreation Center. There are also fishable ponds near Odell Circle, across from the Lake Miona Recreation Center, behind the Ashland postal station, and across the street from the Bonita postal station.
If you are a seasoned angler, these local spots can be a great way to relax between bigger fishing trips. If you haven’t casted a line in years, you can borrow a rod for free and start practicing at any of these locations.
Either way, there is no shortage of great spots for fishing throughout The Villages!