Skip to main content

Santa Rosa County

Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a 107-acre man-made impoundment constructed in 1959, opened to fishing in 1961, and designated as a Fish Management Area. The lake has an average depth of 8 feet with a maximum depth of 23 feet. Deepest areas are located near the dam and along the old streambed. A considerable amount of flooded timber remains, providing fish habitat. This lake has been stocked with Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, Redear Sunfish (shellcracker), Black Crappie, Hybrid Striped Bass, and Channel Catfish. Bear Lake is located in northeast Santa Rosa County with in the Blackwater State Forest, approximately 2 miles east of Munson, FL on SR 4. A dual-launch concrete boat ramp is located within the Bear Lake Campground. Ample parking, a handicapped accessible fishing pier, and an informational kiosk are located near this ramp. The Florida Forest Service maintains the campground, which includes bath/restroom facilities, along with camping and picnic areas. The Florida Forest Service charges a $2.00/car fee to all persons entering the Bear Lake Campground area. Two primitive dirt boat landings are accessible from Hurricane Lake Rd. and are not currently subject to this fee. A limited number of small jon-boats and canoes are available to rent from DOF for use on the lake. Information regarding these rentals can be obtained by calling 850-957-6140. Bear Lake is subject to the rules and regulations currently in effect for Fish Management Areas. Please refer to a current copy of Florida Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations. Gasoline boat motors are prohibited from use on Bear Lake; however, use of electric trolling motors is allowed.

For additional information regarding fishing opportunities at Bear Lake contact the NW Regional Office at 850-265-3676.

For reserving campsites and cabins in Florida State Parks check the Florida State Parks Reservation Center website or call 800-326-3521.

As water temperatures rise into the spring, Largemouth Bass fishing should continue to increase. Target bass in shallow areas during spawning season and in waters five feet and deeper as temperatures rise in May and June. With temperatures rising, fish the shallows during dawn and dusk with plastic worms and lizards rigged Carolina- or Texas-style, along with Rat-L-Traps and crankbaits for your best chance at success. Noisy topwater baits (e.g., buzzbaits & jerkbaits) also work well in low light, while soft-plastic baits should be used during the heat of the day. Bream and Redear Sunfish (shellcracker) should begin to gather on beds beginning in late-March, often nesting in “communities,” where numerous nests can be found in the same area. Target these areas using light tackle with earthworms, crickets, beetle spins, rooster tails, or small jigs.

Once water temperatures exceed 70 degrees, Black Crappie fishing will be most productive near hard structures in deeper water. Night fishing can also be productive this time of year and many successful anglers will hang a light over their boat to attract baitfish to the area, which in turn will attract crappie. Use small feather or curly-tailed crappie jigs and small minnows for the best chance at success. The daily bag limit for Crappie is 25 per angler per day. Target catfish at dawn and dusk with beef or chicken liver wrapped in stretched surgical gauze. If the weeds are a nuisance, then try rigging a small bobber in between the weight and the hook to keep the bait suspended above any vegetation. The bag limit for Channel Catfish is 6 per angler per day. Gas motors are not permitted on Bear Lake, only electric motors are permitted for use.

Bear Lake

Bear Lake Map and Brochure

For more information see the Bear Lake Brochure and Supplemental Bear Lake Map.

Popular Species

Popular Sport Fish Species

Fish graphics by Duane Raver, Jr.

More species information is available for:

Largemouth bass, Bluegill, Redear sunfish, Black 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 Bear Lake!

Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 4

Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 2