Iron (Fe) and manganese (Mn) reactions have been regarded as the primary factors responsible for the mobilization of phosphorus (P) in lake sediments, although their individual roles are hard to distinguish. In this study, in situ mobilization of P, Fe and Mn in sediments was assessed by high resolution spatio-temporal sampling of their labile forms using diffusive gradient in thin films (DGT) and suction device (Rhizon) techniques. It was found that the monthly concentration distributions showed greater agreement and better correlation coefficients between labile P and labile Fe, than those between labile P and labile Mn, implying that Fe plays a key role in controlling P release in sediments. Furthermore, better correlations were observed between hourly changes in concentrations of soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) and soluble Fe(II), than those between SRP and soluble Mn. Changes were observed under simulated anaerobic incubation conditions, suggesting that P release was caused by the reductive dissolution of Fe oxides. This was supported by the lack of influences on P release from reductive dissolution of Mn oxides in the sediment-water interface and top sediment layers under the anaerobic incubations. In simulated algal bloom experiments, positive correlations and consistent changes were observed between SRP and soluble Fe(II) concentrations, but not between SRP and soluble Mn concentrations. This further demonstrated the Fe-dependent and Mn-independent release of P in sediments. Therefore, Fe redox reactions have a high impact on P mobilization in sediments, while Mn redox reactions appear to have negligible influences.