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Alachua County

Santa Fe Lake

This 5850-acre lake has a "little" northern area and a "big" southern arm connected by "the pass" where shad school and fishing is usually good for schooling largemouth and stocked sunshine bass. Numerous homes surround the lake, most with docks and ski boats; fishing is always best early and late or at night and on weekdays. In spite of development, the fish habitat is outstanding with many areas of cypress and healthy maidencane grass beds.

Local contact: Chappini's Bait & Tackle 352-475-9496; Bald Eagle Bait and Tackle 352-473-6060.

In summer, panfish and bass are the fish to target here. Panfish can be found in the vegetation all around the lake. Fishing the edge of vegetation in close proximity to cypress trees can be highly productive. Target these fish using crickets, worms, and grass shrimp fished just off the bottom. Fly fisherman can also catch them using popping bugs on the surface. Crappie are finished spawning now but can be targeted offshore by trolling or drifting jigs, beetle spins, or minnows. Try to cover as much water as possible to find a school and stay on it once you find them. A good fishfinder will help in locating offshore structure and suspended fish. Experiment by fishing different water depths, lure depths, lure colors and boat speeds and use that information to duplicate your success in other areas of the lake. Bass anglers should target bass around nearshore vegetation, under docks, around cypress trees, and offshore structure. The areas connecting the different lobes of the lake are also worth trying. Soft plastics, spinnerbaits or crankbaits fished around these areas should draw strikes. Anglers should try slow trolling live golden shiners parallel to the outer grass edges or when targeting schooling bass offshore. If you fish with artificial lures shad imitations or lures with a lot of flash will be the most effective. As recreational boating activity and temperatures increase concentrate your effort early in the morning or late in the evening.

Popular Species

Popular Sport Fish Species

Fish graphics by Duane Raver, Jr.

More species information is available for:

Largemouth bassBluegill, Redear sunfishSunshine bassBlack 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 Lake Santa Fe:

Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 35

Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 8