Fly Fishing Teneroc | Derby Lake-Youth Conservation Center
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By: Chris O’Byrne FFF Certified Casting Instructor, Photos by: Allen Wyatt and Chris O’Byrne
DERBY LAKE-At Tenoroc Youth Conservation Center
3829 Tenoroc Mine Rd, Lakeland, Florida 33805
I’VE GOT ONE! HELP ME! HELP ME! What else is there? Really? For an angler who has the least inkling to get others outside, watching (and maybe helping) a child catch a fish is the ultimate. I have been very lucky introduce a number of kids to fishing and fly fishing, If I begin to tell stories here, I might crash the internet, so I’ll save those for another time. Besides you should make your own memories by showing youngsters how to fish. On this Father’s day, let me introduce you to some organizations that maintain a beautiful natural facility primed and ready for the next generation.
THE TENOROC YOUTH CONSERVATION CENTER is one of ten facilities in the Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network (fyccn.org). This fine organization runs several programs to promote the outdoor life to our youth. Working on their own and with organizations from the community, including The Andy Thornal Co. and NASCAR, the Tenoroc Youth Conservation Center runs and hosts fishing derbies, Fishing camps, Nature Festivals and general meetings. Derby Lake, at the Tenoroc Youth Conservation Center, is a delightful body of water reserved for Fisherboys and Fishergirls.
THE FISH ARE PLENTIFUL, the trip is short, and access is easy, making this a kid’s haven. The banks are accessible, and fly fishing for Largemouth Bass is a blast, making this a fly fisher’s haven too. When you plan a trip to Derby Lake, remember these points;
- Tenoroc is easy to find if you live in Central Florida or are visiting us
- As of this writing the water level is low. Great News For Little Fly Fishers!
- Derby Lake provides easy access for young anglers and anglers with handicaps, boats are not allowed.
- Be ready! Recent reports have a 27” Largemouth, possibly over 10 pounds, being caught in Derby Lake
- Long time residents of the area have seen Black Bear Bobcat. Maybe they are still around?
- Watch their back cast here, beautiful Cypress trees line the water and search out fly line
- The public is welcome to host kid’s events at the pavilion, contact Tenoroc staff for prices
- Summer “Fish Camp” is a very popular event run by FYCCN
- There are more shady spots here than you can shake a four weight at, so bring a picnic lunch
KIDS LIKE ACTION! When choosing an outfit to put in the hands of a young fly fisher consider a lightweight rod and floating flies. I have found that kids are able to develop good technique and enjoy the fight with Temple Fork Outfitter’s “Bug Launchers.” These complete outfits are structured (length, actual weight and flex) to meet the needs of smaller anglers without compromising on quality as some kid’s outfits do. Top water flies such as the classic Foam Spider, my favorite; the Sneaky Pete or the locally tied Sprog will tempt fish into noisy, splashing strikes sure to elicit squeals of delight.
TENOROC FISH MANAGEMENT AREA COVERS OVER 7, 000 ACRES. Twenty three of their 29 lakes are open to the public and embraced by hiking and equestrian trails which weave through the property. The Youth Conservation Center is a jewel at the center of it all. Three piers offer access and structure while a screened in pavilion provides meeting space. Side walks, shade trees and permanent restrooms make the facility welcoming. Ground breaking on a 3,000 square foot building with classrooms, offices and visitor’s center is set for summer of 2012.
AS THE SOUTHERN SPORTSMAN SAID; “Do yourself a favor. Take a kid fishin’."
NOTE(1): At the time of this publication, the water levels at Teneroc were very low, and it was ideal for fly fishing topwater with a floating fly line. The water can be 5 feet deep where the anglers are standing in the photo above. When water is high, Derby Lake will be difficult to fly fish. AW
NOTE(2): Teneroc is a Management area and requires that all anglers check in at the guard house. There are limitations on the number of anglers on any lake, and they request a fishing report. Youth are allowed to harvest bluegill and catfish, but no bass at the time of this writing. Currently, Teneroc is open Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. AW
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