Dec 02, 2014 at 03:24 PM

Fellsmere Reservoir - The Best Bass Fishing Lake

Who knows if Fellsmere Reservoir is going to be the Best Bass Fishing Lake.  The probability is awesome that Fellsmere Reservoir will be the Best Fishing Lake- bar none!  The lake is set to be on 10,000 acres of previously farm land in Central Florida right next door (levy) to the famous and legendary Stick Marsh.  The Florida Wildlife Commission Biologist in charge of the project, Dustin Everett, spent months 24-7 on the property making sure the enhancements were done properly.  Dustin put his heart and soul into providing every possible type of cover and structure in the new lake.  Every possible effort has been taken to make this the best possible fishery.

Fellsmere Reservoir is a continuation of the project to improve the water quality runoff into the St. Johns River thereby improving the quality of the water in the St. Johns River.  Fellsmere Reservoir will add to storage water for irrigation uses and provide another area to hold storm water runoff.  Wetlands will be restored.  Wild animals will return to the area.  All efforts are being made to return the land to what it once was; and in the case for bass fishermen- much, much better.

Fellsmere Reservoir - Bluegill Stocking And Tree Planting

Flooding is supposed to occur in the fall of 2015.  Timeliness of the flooding is based on available water.  There is some flooding of the impoundment at this time.  Twenty pits that were on the property before the project began were left as is.  That is to say with the pit being a pit and the fish remaining that were in the pits.  That is a bunch of pits.  That is a bunch of fish.  As soon as the fish escape from the pits and travel around the newly flooded areas those fish will begin to pork up.  Some of the pits have already been covered by flooding.  That is awesome for fishing!

Fishery personnel have been elctrofishing and rod and line fishing to get genetic samples.  The largest bass they have caught so far is seven and a half pounds.  Five Hundred thousand bass fry will be stocked in the Spring of 2015 and another five hundred thousand bass fry will be stocked in the Spring of 2016.  Bluegills have already been stocked.  Fishing will be available to the public as soon as the lake is flooded.  Looks like bass fishing will be awesome at the opening and for many years to come.  Structure and Cover enhancements will help to make this fishery one of the best in the world.

The impoundment is set to be ten thousand acres.  Not all of that is water.  Some is land.  Some is swamps.  Some is a variance from swamp to water.  About 6,700 acres will be open water.  That is the same size as Stick Marsh and Farm 13 combined.  Not all the water will go to the levies.  There is more elevation variance in the bottom of  Fellsmere Reservoir than in Farm 13 or Stick Marsh.  Also, the enhanced areas will have great elevation differences.

Water comes into the impoundment from the Southern end through a pumping station.  That pumping station is located on the canal leading North from Lake Garcia.  Water can be moved out of Fellsmere Reservoir through the pumping station located on the Eastern side of Farm 13 or through pumping stations at the North end of Fells Res.  A weir is in place that will allow water to flow out of Fells Res in the event of the once in every five hundred years flood.  That weir is located at the North end of the lake. Water would flow into the C-54 Canal.

Important to notice here is that the water will not have a normal flow as it does in Stick Marsh and Farm 13.  Fells Res will be more of a lake.  It will be a holding place for water.  Therefore, the water level will tend to be much more stable.  Fish will tend to stay located.

Fellsmere Joint Ventures is going to have a housing development on the East side of Fells Res.  They have begun construction on two private marinas.  When I asked both Dustin from FWC and Hector from SJRWMD about the timeliness of flooding with planned flooding both indicated that Fellsmere Joint Ventures would make sure the flooding occurred according to plan.

All Indian burial grounds have been mitigated.  The only concern for flooding is rain fall.  I asked if Garcia, the three reservoirs that feed Garcia and Stick Marsh were being held higher than normal in an effort to have water to fill Fells Res and received no answer.  The lakes have been held six to nine inches above normal all summer.  Then again, the St. Johns River is high and we have had a bunch of rain.  Fishermen like me can only wish and pray for the best.

Money for the enhancement projects came from the Black Bass Management Plan which obtains funding through the sale of Doc Stamps.  With an improving economy funds were available for the enhancements.

The water level in Fells Res will be held at 19.5 to 20 feet above sea level.  Stick Marsh and Farm 13 are held at approximately 21.4 feet above sea level.  There will be no direct boat traffic movement available from Garcia, Stick Marsh, Farm 13 or Fells Res.  However, someone has a dream to make a sling that can transfer boats from one to the other.  At this point, it’s only a dream.

The enhancements are creek bank type structure; random holes, mounds, drop offs, vegetation, steps, ledges, and any kind of structure imaginable.  Dustin Everett, the Biologist who spent months sleeping in the back of his pick-up to ensure proper enhancement construction, said (rephrased); an angler with a side viewing depth finder will have his side viewer going crazy in the enhanced areas.  Barbed wire, fence posts, and other boating hazards have been removed.  That does not mean run wide open all over the place.  That means obvious care must always be taken when operating a power boat.

The bottom elevation will change greatly in the enhanced areas.  The holes were dug making a hole.  Also, when the holes were dug the dirt from the holes was used to makes increased elevations around the holes.  Holes varied in size.  One that Dustin measured for me was thirty feet across.  None of the enhancements were made in straight lines.

Dustin viewed Ray Scott’s video on how to make the perfect bass lake before doing the enhancements.  The hardest part of that was finding a VCR.  While Ray Scott’s video is based on ponds Dustin was able to expand the ideas to a larger impoundment.

Trees were planted as hiding places for fish.  Also, the trees would provide wind breaks when they have grown.  At the time of planting the trees were approximately six feet tall.  I judged the tree height based on photos I saw of individuals planting the trees.  Thirteen thousand trees were planted at the first planting.  Later, two thousand five hundred were planted.  Ten thousand cypress trees were planted.  Additional kinds of trees were Red Maple, Holly, Sweet Gum and Black Gum.

The public ramp for Fellsmere Reservoir is at the North end of the lake and is reached by driving down the same road as to get to the Stick Marsh ramp, just not not quite as long a drive down that road.  The turn off to the Fellsmere Reservoir ramp is just past the entrance to the Elephant Sanctuary.  (No you can’t see any elephants.)

When you come to this area please support the businesses that support fishing and wildlife.  They are listed below.

 

LODGING
Days Inn Melbourne
4200 West New Haven Ave
Melbourne, FL  32904
321-724-2051
Holiday Inn Express and Suites
1206 Malabar Rd. SE
Palm Bay, FL  32907
321-220-2003
www.Hiexpress.com/palmbayfl
Motel 6
1170 Malabar Rd. SE
Palm Bay, FL  32907
321-951-8222
Quality Inn
890 Palm Bay Rd. NE
Palm Bay, FL  32905
321-725-2952
Palmbay.fledcphosp.com
MARINE, TRAILER SUPPLIES & REPAIR
Callagy Tire
6625 S. Babcock St.
Malabar, FL  32950
321-727-8988
Ferguson’s INC
1315 West New Haven Ave.
West Melbourne, FL  32904
321-723-5425
BAIT AND TACKLE
Bass Pro Shops Stick Marsh Outpost
750 Bass Pro Shops Dr. NE
Palm Bay, FL  32905
321-674-3701
Elite Anglers Services
3257 Dixie Hwy
Palm Bay, FL  32905
321-953-6444
Stick Marsh Bait & Tackle
9 S. Mulberry St.
Fellsmere, FL  32948
772-571-9855
GUIDE SERVICE
Hugh Crumpler’s
Florida Trophy Pro Bass Fishing
Palm Bay, FL  32909
www.Hugh-Crumpler.com
321-626-6174
A new website:  www.FellsRes.com is going on line soon.  The website is dedicated to providing information and updates regarding Fellsmere Reservoir.

LODGING

Days Inn Melbourne
4200 West New Haven Ave
Melbourne, FL  32904
321-724-2051

 

Holiday Inn Express and Suites
1206 Malabar Rd. SE
Palm Bay, FL  32907
321-220-2003
http://www.Hiexpress.com/palmbayfl

 

Motel 6
1170 Malabar Rd. SE
Palm Bay, FL  32907
321-951-8222

 

Quality Inn
890 Palm Bay Rd. NE
Palm Bay, FL  32905
321-725-2952
http://palmbay.fledcphosp.com

 

MARINE, TRAILER SUPPLIES & REPAIR

Callagy Tire
6625 S. Babcock St.
Malabar, FL  32950
321-727-8988

 

Ferguson’s INC
1315 West New Haven Ave.
West Melbourne, FL  32904
321-723-5425

 

BAIT AND TACKLE

Bass Pro Shops Stick Marsh Outpost
750 Bass Pro Shops Dr. NE
Palm Bay, FL  32905
321-674-3701

 

Elite Anglers Services
3257 Dixie Hwy
Palm Bay, FL  32905
321-953-6444

 

Stick Marsh Bait & Tackle
9 S. Mulberry St.
Fellsmere, FL  32948
772-571-9855

 

GUIDE SERVICE

Hugh Crumpler’s
Florida Trophy Pro Bass Fishing

Palm Bay, FL  32909
www.Hugh-Crumpler.com
321-626-6174

 

 

Some Of The Enhancements

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images/stories/fellsres-2.jpg

images/stories/fellsres-3.jpg

images/stories/fellsres-5.jpg

images/stories/fellsres-6.jpg

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Winning At Stick Marsh