Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Blue-green algae concerns in Lake Uihlein postpone fishing tournament

Lakewood Ranch's Youth and Teen Fishing Tournament will take place in October as Lake Uihlein undergoes treatment.

Lakewood Ranch's Olivia Mikos enjoys her first time fishing during the annual Youth Fishing Tournament in 2023 presented by the Lakewood Ranch Anglers Club and Lakewood Ranch Community Activities.
Lakewood Ranch's Olivia Mikos enjoys her first time fishing during the annual Youth Fishing Tournament in 2023 presented by the Lakewood Ranch Anglers Club and Lakewood Ranch Community Activities.
File photo
  • East County
  • News
  • Share

The annual Youth and Teen Fishing Tournament has been moved to October due to blue-green algae blooms in Lake Uihlein in Lakewood Ranch. 

Blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, occur in freshwater areas in Florida. 

According to Protecting Florida Together, sunny days, warm water temperatures, still water conditions and an ample amount of nutrients are some environmental factors that contribute to blue-green algae blooms. 

Lisa Boutote, the district office manager for Lakewood Ranch Inter-District Authority, said the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission tested the water and found blue-green algae present in the lake. The IDA is working with the FWC and the Florida Department of Health-Manatee to ensure it is following all testing and treatment protocols.

Boutote said the blue-green algae can be present in the dirt or water and remain dormant for a long time before rising to the top and causing a discoloration in the water and possibly produce floating mats of algae. 

Lake Uihlein is a privately owned lake, and as a result, state agencies are limited in how they can assist the IDA, Boutote said. 

The IDA’s pond maintenance team continues to test and treat the lake, and signs advising people of the risks of the algae have been posted along the lake. 

Bradenton's Vincent Wang gets some tips from Robert LaVopa of the Lakewood Ranch Anglers Club during the annual Youth Fishing Tournament in 2023 at Lake Uihlein.
File photo

There are no visual signs to indicate whether blue-green algae are producing toxins, according to Protecting Florida Together.

Many blue-green algae can produce toxins, and exposure to the algae blooms can cause health effects in people and animals. 

Direct contact or breathing airborne droplets with high amounts of algal toxins can cause irritation of the skin, eyes, nose and throat. 

The IDA advises that people should not swim in the lake and people should avoid getting water in their eyes, nose or mouth. Shellfish from the lake should not be eaten, and fish fillets should be rinsed with tap or bottled water. Fish guts should be thrown out, and the fish should be cooked well. Pets and livestock should be kept away from the water.

Ed Van Stedum, the president of the Lakewood Ranch Anglers Club, said the algae issues in the lake prompted the club to move the Youth and Teen Fishing Tournament to October.

Lake Uihlein is the perfect location for the tournament as it has sufficient parking for the 100 or more participants, which contributed to the reasoning for moving the tournament to October. 

Although the tournament has been moved, the club’s Youth and Teen Fishing Seminar will continue April 6 at Summerfield Park.

Children will be able to participate in either the 10 a.m. or noon seminar where they will go through four learning stations to learn how to tie fishing knots, different types of fishing tackle to use, fishing ethics and how to cast a rod and reel. 

Participants will receive a free rod and reel upon completing the seminar.

Van Stedum said having the tournament in October will give people an opportunity for children to be involved with the Anglers Club throughout the year. People can participate in the seminar in the spring, attend Learn to Fish seminars every other month throughout the summer and participate in the tournament in October. 

“They can get more practice and when they’re ready, they have an opportunity to participate in the tournament,” he said. 

Van Stedum is looking forward to having children around the lake at Summerfield Park with smiles on their faces. 

“We want children to make positive memories so later on in life they could look back and say someone taught them the right way to fish and they’re still doing it,” he said. 



Liz Ramos

Liz Ramos covers education and community for East County. Before moving to Florida, Liz was an education reporter for the Lynchburg News & Advance in Virginia for two years after graduating from the Missouri School of Journalism.

Latest News