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Lakes in Orlando Florida


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After many years of living in Las Vegas and enjoying Lake Mead and the surrounding lakes (Havasu, Mojave), it is time to to move to a different part of the country. We need to live in a place that offers opportunities for water sports along with a year around warm climate. We have considered Dallas, but think the weather may be more inclement than what we experience in Vegas, mainly in the winter. We are now considering moving to Orlando to be closer to family, for more temperate weather and for the outdoor activities.

BUT, we are concerned about the lakes. Although there are many; they look small, shallow, dirty, and surrounded and filled with snakes, alligators and other dangerous species. None of these things are a concern to us at Lake Mead, so these things may be intolerable for us.  Besides the lakes being shallow, I am concerned about the size. Sometimes we like to explore and spend a day on the water. I know the Orlando area is the Mecca of wake boarding and skiing, but will we be happy with the lake conditions if we are picky?

I own a 2017 23 lsv and I would like to know how would it fair in the lakes of Orlando? We surf 70% of the time, wakeboard 20% and play the rest of the time.

Are all, if not most of the lakes shallow? Would I be able to use my boat in most of the lakes? What about some of the bigger lakes like Lake Narcoosse, Lake Apopka and Lake Okeechobee, etc.? 

What about animals and species in the water? Is it safe to swim?

Are the lakes fun to hang out on, or do they get boring since they are small and dirty?

Are the best lakes crowded on the weekends? 

Are many of the lakes restricted to home owners only?

What is the overall lake scene like for v-drives and water sports? It may be speculation, but it seems like Tommy's of Florida still has a lot of left over Malibu's from 2017. Is a tow boat a good boat to have in the area, or would I be better off with a different type of boat? 




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Very interested in his informed response as I surf a lot and I’m concerned about depth as I have 28-60 feet) all those other concerns I don’t feel are real, but our scene with same critters is different maybe as we don’t surf inhabited shorelines by people , in LA on our lakes , bayous and canalslike my spillwsy have little or no humans crowding shoreline making those encounters inevitable. those critters go after themselves as gators are fisherman and birders snd the occasional snake, far less nearer to coast versus up river tributaries, are occasional and it usually doesn’t involve them swimming up to you.  The real neighborhood small non navigable ponds/lakes are bad for those type of encounters as small kids and animals definitely look like prey to a gator , 

been interacting with them showing relatives for years and you have to force the encounters like tying up a chicken just before dusk, or trolling up on a sleeping in shallow water gator in the hot summer water 

in fishing situations they are attracted to the floats 

if someone swamp tours and then feed them marshmallows then that’s a problem as they will gather to please the swamp tour customers , but they often do that in places in the marsh where we usually wouldn’t be doing water sports , but when we have done marsh bayous , we had no issues for years 

even in bedico creek made famous by old Milwaukee beer commercials was loaded with them, but the river it fed(lined by camp homes well spaced leaving plenty of critter space the more inhabited waterway doesn’t that might force the encounter) , we skiid regularly in my college and initial boat owning years in my 20’s, never an instance of fear of a real encounter, they hear prop, they are gone!!!!!!!

Edited by granddaddy55
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OK...first of all your fears of lakes being filled with all manner of creatures that will eat you, while certainly understandable, is simply not warranted or justified.  Try to find a single instance of an alligator vs. water skier attack in our lakes.  You won't.  They are ambush hunters.  They hang around near the shore and ambush things that come near them.  Also, they want nothing to do with anything they perceive as bigger than them.  They do not prowl the middle of the lakes waiting for a water skier or surfer to go down or kids to fall off tubes so they can eat them. 

Again, your fears are understandable....everyone who comes from out of state to visit expects an alligator on every street corner.  Are they in our lakes???  Absolutely.  And you can bet that any body of water that is skiable has alligators in it.  EVERY out of state person I have had on the lakes asks "are there alligators in this lake?" first thing in the morning.  I always say "no", then we go enjoy our day, then at the end of the day I ask if they want to see an alligator and it usually takes no more than 10 minutes to find one if you know where to look (in the weed along the shoreline).  They are super easy to find at night because their eyes glow red when hit with a spotlight.

Same with the poisonous snakes.  Occasionally, you will see a water moccasin 'cruising' across the lake, but they are going from point A to point B...not hunting downed water skiers.  When I see one, I make it a point to run it over, because I just hate snakes in general, and they don't damage your prop when you hit them.  We are just not what they eat, and they are not very interested in us.

Regarding the 'dirty' water, that's a myth as well.  I see pictures of the crystal clear lakes from all over the country such as Mead, and while we have a few of those clear lakes, the chain I boat on (Butler Chain), the water is 'brown'.  It is colored that way from the tannic acid the cypress tress along the shoreline release.  While it is brown, it is perfectly fine, spring fed, healthy, etc..  In fact, you see lily pads everywhere.  They don't grow in polluted lake water. But you will not find a more desirable body of water anywhere in Florida (in my opinion) as evidenced by the $1M/acre price for raw land on that chain.

How deep do you need?  and that is an honest question.  I carry 30' of anchor rope and that is more than I need.  But, no, the lakes around here are not 300' deep, but plenty deep enough for anything you want to do behind your boat.  If you hit bottom, the sandy bottom just shines your prop up.  I have never put a ding in a prop...ever.  Sold my last boat after owing it for 10+ years and the prop had never, ever been removed from the boat.



Edited by RTS
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  • 1 month later...

my inlaws have a place on Runny Meade just off the lake Kohoxxxx.  near Kissimmee.  alligators are there.  my wife skiied there when she was younger but out in the middle of the big lake . lake Kohoxxxx.  they apparently dont like the open water.


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