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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.

Bluegill and redear can be found around docks and cypress trees scattered around the lake. Target those fish using crickets, earthworms, and grass shrimp. By this time, Black Crappie should be finished spawning.If you are looking for crappie offshore, troll or drift crappie jigs or minnows and try to cover as much water as possible. 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.Santa Fe crappie anglers should try probing the deepest areas of the lake as well (20-30 foot depths). A good place to begin your deep-water fishing is on any one of the marked FWC fish attractors on the lake.Anglers should look for largemouth bass in near-shore maidencane beds, under docks, and around cypress trees as some fish wrap up their spawning. Soft plastics either flipped, pitched, or dragged near structure should draw strikes. Don’t be afraid to look away from the shoreline when targeting bass also.Anglers should try slow-trolling live golden shiners parallel to the outer grass edges, or targeting schooling bass offshore. Multiple trophy bass have been caught this year.

While the bulk of the bass spawning season may be behind us, opportunities for big fish still exist. Register online with FWC’s TrophyCatch program and enter your trophy bass for a chance to win prizes. You can also view Trophy Catch data to see when, where, and how trophy bass are being caught. Entering fish is as simple as submitting a photo of the fish on a scale to the website above. The photo must show the entire fish and clearly show the weight on the scale.

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): 22

Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 3