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Columbia County

Alligator Lake

Alligator Lake (approximately 800 acres) is located in Columbia County near Lake City. Nearly two-thirds of the total lake surface area is within the city limits. Prior to 1997, only 338 acres were accessible to the public. Subsequently, Columbia County purchased an adjacent 987 acres with money obtained through the Preservation 2000 Communities Trust. This purchase included nearly 450 acres of former lake bottom that were diked and drained for agricultural practices in the 1950's and 1960's.

Several sinkholes are located in the north and south basins of the lake which provide direct connection to the aquifer. One of these sinkholes has been responsible for frequently draining the northern lake basin. This results from increased hydraulic pressure upon sinkhole sediments as groundwater levels subside during periods of drought. During these events, the southern areas of the lake retain water, as a shallow connection exists between north and south basins.

Columbia County's Alligator Lake Park opened in April 2002. The entrance to the park can be found off of Old Country Club road in Lake City. A small boat launch on the north marsh central drainage canal and walking access or boatless fishing will provide unique angling opportunities.

Note: Alligator Lake is a Fish Management Area (license is required to fish in north and south lake basins and north and south marshes).

There is current water level information available.

Note – Anglers and Hunters:  The north and south marshes are established as Alligator Lake Small Game Hunting Area (ducks only).  The north marsh area is restricted on Mondays and Thursdays until noon.  The south marsh area is restricted on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursday until noon.

Local contacts: Greens Marine and Sporting Goods, Lake City 386-755-5390; Rooster's Outfitters 386-234-0851

Lower than average water levels in this already shallow, vegetated lake are concentrating the fish. For Crappie try drifting jigs in open water or along tussock edges over deeper parts of the lake. For bass and bream focus on the edges of submersed plants and the shallow water tussocks. Throwing weedless soft plastics or live bait will produce the most bites. This fall, 1000 5- to 15-inch Largemouth Bass were released into the lake to boost the population after the lake dried up in 2019. After refilling, have seen good natural reproduction and growth rates of Bass and Bream.

Popular Species

Popular Sport Fish Species

Fish graphics by Duane Raver, Jr.

More species information is available for:

Largemouth bassBluegill, Redear sunfishBlack crappie

FWC Trophy Catch Logo

TrophyCatch Tracker

TrophyCatch is FWC's citizen-science program that rewards anglers for documenting and releasing trophy bass 8 pounds or larger. The following TrophyCatch bass have been submitted from Alligator Lake:

Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 97

Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 18

Hall of Fame Club (13+ pounds): 1