In support of the resource management goals and objectives for the area and to provide a quality experience for all area users, the following recreation activities are allowed.

Hunting

Wild turkey
David Moynahan - Wild Turkey

Hunting on Fisheating Creek is by permit only and is limited to small, high-quality hunts. Permits are issued through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission quota hunt process. Except for special-opportunity spring turkey hunts, hunting is only permitted west of U.S. 27. On Fisheating Creek deer hunting is good; turkey hunting, excellent; hog hunting, excellent; migratory bird hunting, poor; and small game hunting, fair. Hunting conditions and access by boat are dependent on water levels, which can change drastically within a week. The best conditions for deer are when water levels are down in the creek but not so low as to make travel by boat impossible. These conditions also provide more browse vegetation for deer.

Fisheating Creek was the source for reintroduction of the Osceola turkey to other parts of Florida in the 1960s and 1970s. The special opportunity turkey hunts are an excellent chance for hunters to harvest a highly prized Osceola turkey. The third Outstanding Gobbler of all time came from Fisheating Creek during the 2002 season.

 

Hunting Regulations with Maps and Calendar

 

Fishing

Permitted anywhere on the creek. You can fish from canoe, kayak, boat or along the bank. Reference the Map of Fisheating Creek WMA PDF to locate boat ramp(s). Fishing license information.

Wildlife Viewing

Fisheating Creek WMA is an excellent place to view wildlife year-round. Wading birds of all types - ibis, herons, egrets, wood storks, roseate spoonbills - as well as hawks, osprey, and owls are common. This area is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail. You may also request a copy or download or print the Fisheating Creek Bird List PDF. Visit the  Wildlife page for more information about the area's wildlife.

Hiking

During high to average summer water levels, the best place to hike is off SR 78 south of Lakeport. From this point, you can hike to Fort Center. Archeologist William Sears's book Fort Center provides a wealth of information about the area. In the winter, go west of Fort Center on the same access path to Cowbone Marsh, where you can observe wintering wading birds. It is best to hike through the cypress swamps, small hardwood hammocks, and open prairies west of US 27 January through May.

Biking

There are some opportunities for biking on the area. During the winter dry season, you can bike the easy 3-4 mile trail from SR 78 to Cowbone Marsh. On most of the area, soils dry out and become traversible. Roads are disked for firebreaks, making the area tough on even the toughest bikes.

Paddling on Fisheating Creek
David Moynahan

Paddling

Fisheating Creek begins in Highlands County and flows approximately 50 miles to Lake Okeechobee. The tea-colored water passes through banks lined with cypress and oaks. Paddlers will see numerous alligators and a wide variety of bird species around every bend. A canoe/kayak rental and livery service is available at the campground off US 27 in Palmdale. There is also an improved ramp available for launching your own boat. Water levels in the creek vary widely with rainfall so it is best to check current conditions at U.S. Geological Service - Water Information website before planning your paddling trip.

Alligators are abundant and are most visible when water levels are low.

Camping

Camping on Fisheating Creek
Florida Photo Archives

Primitive camping is permitted year-round throughout the area. Both full hook up RV sites and primitive campsites are available at the concession-operated Palmdale campground. During established  hunting seasons, individuals are encouraged to camp at the Palmdale campground or at designated sites along Fisheating Creek.

Primitive camping is also allowed throughout the WMA 365 days/year except in designated closed areas.



FWC Facts:
Florida's official state butterfly, the zebra longwing (Heliconius charitonius) lives in hammocks, swamps & forests, sleeps in groups and returns to the same roost nightly.

Learn More at AskFWC