Water-Related News

Lake Apopka dredging plan stirs hopes of better boating, fishing

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By Stephen Hudak

As Lake Apopka slowly recovers from its polluted past, state officials are planning next spring to dredge troublesome muck near two boat launches, which should improve public access to Florida's fourth-largest lake.

Kent Makin can't wait.

"Back in the 1940s, when the lake was cleaner, this was known as the bass capital of the world," said Makin, 40, a competitive fisherman in Winter Garden whose grandfather was a fishing guide on Lake Apopka during those glory years.

"Once the lake is cleaned up and people can get back out on the water, it will be that kind of place again."

The $4.8 million dredging project, a collaboration of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the St. Johns River Water Management District, aims to suck out an estimated 50 acres of muck from two sites: Newton Park in Winter Garden and Magnolia Park near Apopka. The dredging should make the lake more navigable for boats.