A Reel Catch - Garden Lake Tarpon

Posted by Nicolette Beard on June 18, 2012 11:30 AM.

One of the things I like most about the Garden is that people can engage in a variety of experiences depending on their interest area and age level. This last weekend was no exception.

From Catch and Release fishing to another memorable Summer Picnic Concert, we saw a steady stream of visitors; some with fishing poles and major outback gear to early birds toting the classic straw picnic baskets. As one concertgoer claimed on our Facebook page, “The concert today was amazing! (Thank you for that Dolette.)

For years, rumor had it that the Garden Lake was home to tarpon, which seemed like a fanciful tale to many who had heard this story. Lo and behold, a 3-foot tarpon was indeed caught by our very own Director of Horticulture, Brian Galligan.


One of our longtime volunteers hypothesized that the tarpon found its way into our lake after Hurricane Donna. He suggested that it was the Gulf surge that provided a new home to many of the fish now populating the lake. For those born after 1960, Naples News’ Lighthouse Project provides fascinating tidbits of hurricane history surrounding that devastating day.

While it wasn’t everyone’s luck to catch a magnificent tarpon, a number of kids were able to catch their first fish, creating a memory that will last a lifetime.


The morning was breezy, tents provided shade, the Children’s Garden offered its wonderful cooling water feature and the water lilies seemed to bloom before your very eyes. All in all, over 500 visitors entered the Garden to partake in some sort of fun, proving that summers in Southwest Florida can attract a solid local crowd.

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