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Calhoun and Gulf counties

Dead Lake

This strangely beautiful 6,700-acre lake with dark tannic waters is located on the Chipola River near the town of Wewahitchka. West Arm Creek of the lake is accessible from Dead Lake State Park and Recreation Area, located off SR-71 just north of Wewahitchka. Follow Gary Rowell Road east into the park; turn right when the road splits past the pond; the boat ramp will be on the south side of the road. There is also a boat ramp located in Calhoun County which allows access to the north western portion of Dead Lake through Cypress Creek. Follow the signs on SR-71 near the intersection of SR-71 and SR-73. There are no facilities at this boat ramp. There are fish camps located around the lake. Care should be taken when operating a motorboat in this lake because it is filled with cypress snags and stumps. This lake enjoys an excellent reputation for its Bluegill (bream) and Redear Sunfish (shellcracker) fishing in the spring.


Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management, Northwest Regional Office: 850-265-3676.

Dead Lake Recreation Area (campgrounds and two smaller fishing ponds); Gary Rowell Rd off Hwy 71, Wewahitchka, FL 32465; contact Mr. W.E.: 850-258-3466.

Dead Lake Sportsman Lodge; east of Wewahitchka at site of old Dead Lake Dam (2001 Lake Grove Rd., Wewahitchka, FL 32465): 850-639-5051.

Magnolia Lodge; 345 S. Bass Dr., Wewahitchka, FL 32465; contact Laura Bush: 850-639-6760.

Off the Map Expeditions (guided kayak or pontoon tours, no boat rentals); contact Mr. Godwin: 850-819-3053.

Dead Lake Facebook page

Anglers should always take caution while boating due to the many snags, stumps, and trees in the lake. A GPS is recommended as navigation can be tricky for the new angler. Black Crappie fishing is usually best throughout this quarter. Try trolling for Black Crappie (specks) in the main channel of West Arm Creek using crappie minnows and jigs. Bream (Redear Sunfish, Bluegill, and Spotted Sunfish a.k.a. ‘stumpknocker’) fishing should remain fair through the winter and early spring. These fish will be found fishing near willow tree islands associated with stumps and cypress knees. Shellcracker (Redear Sunfish) and Bluegill anglers should fish an ultra-light rod with a number 10 gold hook on the bottom with a wiggler. Stumpknockers (Spotted Sunfish) and Redbreast Sunfish can also be caught near stumps and snags with worms or beetlespins. Largemouth Bass fishing will slow down during the winter but should pick up during the month of February. During the winter months try fishing the old river channels and curves and cuts in the lake near snags and stumps. Work your artificial baits slow because Largemouth Bass will be less active in cold water. The best baits for Largemouth Bass will be artificial worms, spinner baits or live shiners. Spotted Bass may also be found in Dead Lakes; they are very common just below Dead Lake around log jams near the Chipola cut-off (connects the Chipola River with the Apalachicola River). Dead Lake also has a great population of Yellow Perch. Yellow Perch are excellent table fare and can be caught using crappie jigs in the deep holes of West Arm Creek.

Popular Species

Popular Sport Fish Species

Fish graphics by Duane Raver, Jr.

More species information is available for:

Largemouth bass, Yellow perchBluegill, Redear sunfish

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TrophyCatch Tracker

TrophyCatch is FWC's citizen-science program that rewards anglers for documenting and releasing trophy bass 8 pounds or larger.

Be the first to submit a trophy bass from Dead Lake!