Are you looking for something for the youngsters to do this summer? Then look no further than our freshwater lakes. Throughout Pinellas County, numerous lakes offer good fishing opportunities with free access.
Walsingham Park off 102nd Avenue has plenty of bank fishing room, so the youngsters can spread out and not get their lines tangled.
Other parks that offer the same and have free fishing are Taylor Park located 1 mile west of Alt. U.S. 19 on the south side of Eighth Avenue. Freedom Lake Park located at the intersection of 49th Street and U.S. 19 and Lake Seminole Park east of Seminole Boulevard on the north side of Park Boulevard.
Also, the City of St. Petersburg's Department of Leisure Services has 18 freshwater and two saltwater lakes for fishing.
All city lakes will remain open through Labor Day. Fishing is allowed between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily.
A freshwater fishing license is required at all freshwater lakes except for children ages 15 and younger or anyone using a cane pole. Shoreline fishing only, no boats are permitted.
Usually, the freshwater lakes are stocked with largemouth bass, bream, catfish and perch.
Children do not need special tackle to fish in these lakes. The simpler the better. A 10-foot cane pole that costs about $6 and a "ready-rig" for it that includes the hook, line, weight and bobber is all they need. And that's another couple of bucks. So, for less than $10, they're ready to go.
Nearly all the fish in the freshwater lakes can be caught on bread balls or worms. A few slices of bread isn't a big deal, and if they want to use worms, let them dig in the flower beds. If that doesn't work, worms are available at most bait shops for about $3 a cup.
The freshwater lakes that are open are Brooker Creek Park, 13th Ave. and 22nd St. N; Childs Park Lake, 11th Ave. and 42nd St. S; Crescent Lake, 22nd Ave. and Fifth St. N; Eagle Crest Lake, Sixth Ave. and 66th St. N; Euclid Lake, 25th Ave. and 17th St. N; Florida Power/Moon Lake, 13th Ave and 42nd St. N; Kelley Lake, 40th Ave. and 20th St. N; Lake Jude, Sixth Ave. and 55th St. N; Lake Vista, 62nd Ave. and 14th St. S; Little Lake Maggiore, 28th Ave. and 25th St. S; Lynch Lake, 70th Ave. and 18th St. N; Mastry Lake, 64th Ave. and 14th St. N; Mirror Lake, Second Ave. and Mirror Lake Drive N; Ruby Lake, 26th Ave. and 35th St. N; Sheffield Lake, 24th Ave. and 49th St. N; Sirmons Lake, 33rd Ave. and 41st St. N; Teresa Gardens Lake, 32nd Ave. and 71st St. N; Walter Fuller Lake, 26th Ave. and 78th St. N.
The same pole and gear can be used at the saltwater lakes. Frozen shrimp or squid are better suited for bait in these lakes. Saltwater lakes generally have spotted sea trout, silver trout, sheepshead, redfish (red drum), mullet, catfish and perch.
No license is required to fish from the shoreline of the saltwater lakes, which are Bartlett Lake, 22nd Ave. and Fifth St. S and Fossil Park Lake, 70th Ave. and Seventh St. N. These are open year-round: Bartlett Lake, Fossil Park Lake, Walter Fuller Lake and sections of Lake Maggiore.
_ Capt. Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 510-4376 or by e-mail at captrickluckydawg.com.