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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 take caution while boating due to the many snags and stumps in the lake. Navigation can be challenging to anglers new to this lake and so it may be worthwhile to look at google satellite maps or utilize a GPS when venturing far into the lake. Bream (Redear Sunfish, Bluegill, and stumpknocker) fishing should be excellent through the spring as fish aggregate to spawn when water temperatures reach 70 degrees. These fish will be found fishing near stumps and snags. Shellcracker (redear) 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. Anglers have previously reported successful fishing for largemouth bass in the West Arm of Dead Lakes, especially towards the bridge. This area is easily accessible from the boat ramp inside Dead Lakes Recreation Area park. Fishing for largemouth bass will also pickup in mid-March through April as bass begin to spawn. Try fishing backwater areas in 3 to 5 feet of water for spawning bass. Recommended baits for bass include artificial worms, lizards, spinner baits or live shiners. Another fish often caught in West Arm Creek that is not usually caught in other rivers in Florida is the yellow perch. See Yellow Perch in Florida for details regarding a recent research study on yellow perch in Dead Lakes.

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!