Ocala National Forest Lakes

Ocala National Forest Wildcat Lake

Lakes & Marion counties

There are approximately 600 natural lakes in the Ocala National Forest with lakes Bryant, Mill Dam, Kerr, Crooked, Wildcat, Lou Echo, Grasshopper, Eaton and Quarry Fish Pond being the most popular. A booklet titles "Fishing Opportunities in the Ocala National Forest" by the Ocala National Forest Interpretive Association is available at the Visitors Welcome Center at the intersection of S.R. 40 and C.R. 315. This booklet describes sport fishing locations, with recommendations for fishing methods and accessibility, as well as a topographic map.

Note: There is a slot and special bag limit on Lake Kerr. No person shall kill or possess any largemouth bass that is 15" or more in total length and less than 24 inches in total length. No person shall take in one day more than 3 largemouth bass of which only one may be 24" or longer in total length.

Note: Lake Wildcat has a special regulation requiring all largemouth bass to be released immediately.

 Current Forecast:

Lake Bryant has now has a ramp with free access, and is always a good place to seek panfish.  Bluegills typically bed near lily pads in this lake.  However, the docks sometimes hold fish as well.  FWC biologists observed large redear sunfish and bluegills around the entire lake this March.  The lake level is low, so much of the vegetation is inaccessible.  Because of this, the two brush attractors (marked by yellow buoys) can produce some fish.  Hybrid striped bass (sunshine bass) were stocked in 2012 and 2013, and are now of catchable size.  Anglers have been targeting these in open water using minnows or trolling with small plugs.  Try fishing at night.  Hybrid stripers like cooler temps, so they are most active at night during the summer.  More hybrid stripers will be stocked in 2014, helping to further establish this fishery.  Use caution at this lake when launching because of the low water conditions.  Lake Kerr can also produce panfish by fishing in the open water where the water depth drops.  Fish on the shallow side of the drop on the bottom for panfish.    Bass fishing in the forest remains good through out the summer.  Night fishing in some of the larger forest lakes (Bryant, Wildcat, and Grasshopper) works well.  Fishing with shiners tends to produce the best results.  If you want to have an exclusive fishing experience, you can rent access to Buck Lake from the US Forest Service.  The lake is only open to anglers who rent the lake, so it is a nearly unfished area.  This can make for some exciting angling.  Try fishing over the brush piles (US Forest Service staff can provide the locations).  Contact the Seminole Ranger District for information at 352-669-3153.

FWC Facts:
Nearly one-fourth of all marine animals, including about 7,000 species of fish, depend upon coral reefs for some part of their life cycle.

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