Lake Harris is located in Leesburg, Lake county Florida, approximately 31 miles north of Orlando. It is the largest lake in Lake County and is part of the Harris Chain of Lakes or Ocklawahah Chain of Lakes.
Lake Harris is the largest of these lake totaling approximately 13,800 acres. An adjoining lake, Little Harris Lake, is a smaller version and the two combined total approximately 15,000 acres.
Deeper than Lake Okeechobee to the south, Lake Harris has many deep holes and sharp ledges. However, the lake is still only 12 foot deep on average in the center. It is almost totally ringed with Kissimmee grass and the bottom is hard sand except for some shallow marshy areas that can be muddy.
Lake Harris, as well as the entire chain of lakes, was thought of as an exceptional bass fishery which hosted many national bass tournaments until around 1990. At this time BASS, Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, held a Megabucks tournament and set a record for the lowest average catch rate.
Starting with this tournament and through the 1990's Lake Harris's reputation, as well as that of the whole chain, was severely damaged. Many rumors ran rampant as to the demise of these fisheries. From over-zealous spraying of the marine vegetation to some sort of bass virus.
One that got little notice was the surrounding farmland that was bought up by the state of Florida. These farms came about during World War ll to help with the food shortages of the time. Many believe it was the years of runoff from these farms, containing fertilizer and pesticides, that did the actual damage to these lakes.
What ever the true cause was, over the last 10 years Lake Harris has started making its comeback to its previous reputation as a premier bass fishery. Today it is not uncommon to see a 5 bass limit exceed 20 pounds or to see someone boating a bass in the 10 to 16 pound range.
What to fish
When you finally get to visit this magnificent fishery you'll have your best luck using plastic worms and spinner baits.
You'll want to use these working cover and the edges of the reeds and grass lines. Topwater lures work well the first few hours of sunlight.
If you plan on using live bait, shiners are your best bet.
When to visit
Probably the best time to visit Lake Harris is between February and April, but I do not believe there is a bad time to go.
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