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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.

Look for the cooling water temperatures in the coming months to improve bass and crappie fishing as these fish move in closer to shore. If you are targeting black crappie, begin your efforts offshore and move closer to shore as the weather cools. Fish open water or around any submerged structure, including marked fish attractors. A good fish finder will help in locating offshore structure and suspended fish. Troll or drift crappie jigs or minnows and try to cover as much water as possible. Pay attention to water depth, lure depth, lure color and boat speed if you start to catch fish. Use this information to try to pattern these fish on a given day. Experiment with different combinations of speed, lure color, and lure depth to find what the fish want. Don’t be afraid to look away from the shoreline when targeting bass also. Both schooling largemouth bass and sunshine bass can display the same feeding behavior offshore. Bass can be targeted offshore using minnow-imitating plugs or even jigging spoons in deeper water. Anglers can also find scattered largemouth bass in near-shore maidencane beds, under docks, and around cypress trees – especially as the water cools. Try slow-trolling live golden shiners parallel to the outer grass edges. Soft plastics either flipped, pitched, or dragged near structure should also draw strikes. If you catch a trophy bass (8+ lbs), be sure to register and enter it into the TrophyCatch program for guaranteed prizes and the knowledge that you are providing valuable data to FWC biologists. Bluegill and redear can be found around docks and cypress trees scattered around the lake. Target those fish using crickets, earthworms, and grass shrimp.

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): 20

Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 3