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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

Thanks to large amounts of rain from multiple tropical storms, water levels in Dead Lakes are high and waters will likely remain high for some time. Navigation can be difficult for new anglers in Dead Lakes, a GPS is useful or new anglers could limit fishing to West Arm Creek. Anglers should take caution while boating due to the many snags and stumps in the lake. Bream anglers should fish an ultra-light rod with a number 10 gold hook fishing a wiggler or beetlespin around stumps and snags and along weed lines and in deep holes. Largemouth Bass fishing will pick up in the fall as bass move out of the deep holes and feed in shallow waters. Try fishing early morning and late afternoon in 2 to 3 ft of water with topwater baits. During the day, fish artificial worm or lizards or live shiners. Spotted Bass can often be caught near log jams in and around the Chipola cut-off. Spotted Bass are most easily distinguished from Largemouth Bass by the presence of a tooth patch on the tongue. There is a 12 inch minimum length limit for Spotted Bass. For other key identifying features check out the Spotted Bass species profile. Anglers should also try fishing along weedlines or stumps in shallow water adjacent to deep and/or flowing waters. Other fish species in this lake that anglers may be interested in include Yellow Perch, Flathead catfish (please keep this nonnative species), Channel Catfish, and suckers (please remember that sucker nets are not allowed in Dead Lakes). The best bait for the Flathead Catfish is sunfish, but anglers are reminded to familiarize themselves with current regulations. Live sunfish can only be used for bait if collected and fished using hook and line. Sunfish cannot be used as bait on any other fishing gear (e.g., bush hooks or trot lines). Flatheads can often be caught in deep flowing areas and behind large snags.

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!