View Full Version : Lake Manatee State Park - Bradenton, FL

06-19-2012, 10:35 AM
Lake Manatee State Park is located on Lake Manatee (a dammed lake on the Manatee River) on the eastern side of Bradenton, FL. Lake Manatee provides the drinking water for Manatee and Sarasota counties and has a 20HP motor limit. You can use a boat with a higher HP motor mounted on it, but you cannot turn that motor on and must use a trolling motor or anything 20HP or less to get around. Due to the smaller size of the lake, many folks get around in smaller boats... jon boats, canoes, kayaks, but you will also see pontoon boats and other types including the larger boats.

Lake Manatee State Park has 60 campsites and allows tents and RV's and each site has a fire ring and picnic table. This site is pet friendly and has nice, clean shower/bathroom facilities. There is a boat ramp at the park and also a picnic and swimming area. The park rents canoes but only on days when the wind is blowing the right way so they don't have to go rescue canoers that can't work their way back against the wind... :-) There is not a fish cleaning station at the park but you are allowed to clean the fish at your site if you so choose or ice them down and take them with you to clean later.

Lake Manatee is a fantastic Crappie lake. The dam was built in the 60's and many people have good luck trolling the old creek bed (depths up to 25ft deep and more as you get closer to the dam) to catch nice crappie year round. There are also lots of channel cats, bass, bluegills, and shellcrackers at various times of the year.

Price at the park is 22 per night (for RV) or half that if you are 65 or older. The park stays full during the prime winter months between Nov-April, so reserve early if you are visiting during that time, but is wide open during the summer. We booked our stays there on Campgrounds and Camping Reservations - ReserveAmerica (http://www.reserveamerica.com)

There is also a public boat ramp located east of the State Park on Highway 64 called Manatee Bait Shop but if you want bait from here and fish early, get your bait the day before because this shop doesn't open early. The boat ramp here is free whereas day use of the State Park boat ramp is $6 if you are not staying at the park. The Manatee Bait Shop is also the closest place to get ice, soda, beer, and some snacks and minor fishing gear. The closest grocery store is about 5 miles away and the closest Walmart is approximately 10 miles.

We would recommend Lake Manatee State Park to anyone that loves to fish and doesn't want to have a lot of congestion on the lake. Due to the HP limit (which is not a problem if you have a good trolling motor! or 20HP or less motor) there are not usually that many boats on this lake. This lake is a hidden gem!

06-19-2012, 03:57 PM
Some great info Fishergurl :highfive

10-16-2013, 06:10 PM
finnaly got my self moved down from Indiana looking forward to hookin a few. been buzy working to add my touch to the place we bought. Living in Colony Cove (Ellenton) so looking forward to floating my boat. Vwery nice artice good read