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Alachua County

Orange Lake

Orange Lake is the largest lake in the North Central Region at 12,550 acres. It is designated as a Fish Management Area and is located about 20 miles southeast of Gainesville. Orange Lake averages 5.5 feet deep with a maximum depth of 12 feet. Water levels fluctuate an average of 2 feet, annually. Outflow is controlled by a fixed-crest weir located at Highway 301 (southeast portion of lake). Orange Lake receives inflow from Newnans Lake through River Styx and from Lochloosa Lake through Cross Creek. Cross Creek (1.8 miles) is navigable to most boats during normal water levels.

Orange lake has an extensive aquatic vegetation community, dominated by spatterdock (lily pads) and periodically hydrilla. Shallow marsh areas are inaccessible to anglers due to the dense growth of vegetation. Bluegill, redear sunfish, black crappie and largemouth bass are generally caught in the deeper spatterdock, emergent grasses and hydrilla.

Marion County and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission allocated funds to establish a fishing pier at Heagy-Burry Park (southwestern part of the lake). The pier is handicap-accessible. A fish attractor is located near the pier, which provides for good fishing.

For more information on FWC management activities at Orange Lake, visit the Orange Creek Basin Working Group webpage.

Shore and Pier Fishing Opportunities/Boat Ramp Locations:

Orange Lake Public Fishing Pier: 5005 Lake Ave, Citra, FL, 32113 (At Heagey-Burry Boat Ramp)

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park/Kate Barnes Boat Ramp: 18700 County Road 325, Cross Creek, FL 32640

For updated information please call:
South Shore Fish Camp 352-595-4241
Sportsman Cove Fish Camp 352-591-1435

Orange Lake water levels have remained at a good condition early this year and raised over a foot in the month of March. There is plenty of water to launch at any boat ramp to access one of the best fisheries Florida has to offer. Pads are starting to work there way back in the southeastern part of the lake and that’s good news for all anglers. Hydrilla coverage has expanded to almost 50% of the lake, and while it’s too thick to access some areas of the lake, it also is providing great habitat for fish at other locations in the lake and anglers should take advantage. FWC spring electrofishing samples showed a strong year-class of Largemouth Bass coming through in 2020 and those fish are now 1 to 2 pounds and have already produced a lot of fun, high number fishing days with some anglers reporting catches of 30 to 40 fish a day. One thing Orange Lake is known for is big bass and there are lots of trophy fish just waiting to cause a commotion. There have already been seven submissions to FWC’s TrophyCatch program of bass over 8 pounds that were caught and released by anglers at Orange Lake in the first 2 ½ months of 2022. That includes two bass over 10 pounds. Tournament anglers have also weighed in numerous five fish limits of over 30 pounds with one tournament weighting in a bass over 14 pounds. Topwater plugs and soft plastics are the bait of choice for many bass anglers fishing Orange Lake. Orange Lake produced a good crappie bite in the winter and spring and there are lots of bream waiting to get on a hook for the summer. As the water gets warm, try moving in shore near vegetation where bream will be gathering up to spawn. They should feed on a grass shrimp or a cricket under a cork.

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 Orange Lake:

Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 56

Trophy Club (10 – 12.9 pounds): 35

Hall of Fame (13+ pounds): 7