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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.

Panfish can be found around docks and cypress trees scattered around the lake. Target those fish using crickets, earthworms, and grass shrimp. Small artificial jigs and lures will also take aggressive panfish. If you are targeting black crappie, focus your efforts offshore, either in deep open water or around any submerged structure, including marked fish attractors. Troll or drift crappie jigs or minnows and try to cover as much water as possible. 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. Crappie anglers should try probing the deepest areas of the lake as well (20-30 foot depths). Anglers have traditionally done well while fishing right near the bottom with jigs or minnows after they find the depth contours preferred by crappie on that particular day. Bass anglers should target bass in nearshore maidencane beds, under docks, around cypress trees, and offshore structure. Soft plastics, spinnerbaits, or topwater baits around these areas should draw strikes. Summertime is also a great time to throw topwater frog imitations, especially in early morning or dusk around vegetation. Several trophy bass have been caught and reported this year. Anglers looking to beat the summer heat should focus their efforts on mornings, evenings, or even during the night. Summertime anglers looking to avoid the pleasure boating crowds should focus their efforts during weekdays, early mornings, late afternoons, or even at night.

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): 32

Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 7