Freshwater fishing in Florida doesn’t get any better than it does in the springtime. Water levels typically drop this time of the year, consolidating fish populations into canals, deeper holes and on the outside edges of vegetation ringing our lakes and ponds.

One of my favorite places to fish in the springtime is the Water Conservation Areas that are part of the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. Bass, bluegills, shellcrackers, warmouth perch, crappie, stumpknockers and several exotic species of cichlids stack up in the canals once the water gets too low to sustain them in the marshes.

Fly anglers, the Loxahatchee wildlife refuge is a fly rodder’s paradise. Start the morning fishing popping bugs or deerhair bugs for bass and jumbo bream. Then, as the topwater bite slows, switch to a sinking spider or Wolly Bugger pattern. Those sinking flies will score plenty of bass and big panfish.

Access points include ramps off Highway 80 in western Palm Beach County, the wildlife refuge office off 441 in Boynton Beach, and Tamiami Trail. Parents, this is a great area to get kids hooked on fishing in Loxahatchee. Time in right, and the action can come cast after cast.