Deer Point Lake
A 5,000-acre impoundment located 7 miles north of Panama City off US 231 and SR 77 at Southport. Deer Point Lake is fed by natural freshwater streams and supplies more than 760 million gallons of fresh water daily to Panama City and the surrounding areas. The lake can be accessed by taking US 231 north from Panama City (6 miles) to C2321 west (1.5 miles); turn right on C2311 (3.5 miles); the ramp (Highpoint) is on the left. There are also boat ramps located on C2321on either side of the dam. A fishing pier is located near the boat ramp on the west side of the dam. This lake is best known for its shellcracker (Redear Sunfish) fishing during the spring (April through June) using earthworms as live bait. Fly fishing for shellcracker during the spring can also be productive when fishing early morning, late afternoon, and evening. Bream (Bluegill) fishing is also good in the spring using crickets and earthworms. Largemouth Bass fishing is best in the spring to early summer and again in the fall using plastic worms and crankbaits. Broken-back minnow lures are also effective for bass when fished near the shoreline.
Tharp's Camp (off Resota Beach Road, 850-265-2330); 4405 Huckleberry Lane, Panama City, FL 32409.
Gates on Deer Point Reservoir remain open and a drawdown (conducted by Bay County Utilities with recommendations from the FWC) is scheduled to occur until the end of February. Currently, water levels in the creeks flowing into Deer Point remain high, therefore water levels in Deer Point Lake remain higher than previous drawdowns. Creek flows and ongoing rains will continue to influence water levels on Deer Point. The drawdown is intended to reduce vegetation (Lemon bacopa) in the lake thus improving fishing and boating access. During low water levels (normal drawdown levels), the boat ramp on the west side of the dam by McCall-Everitt pier provides access for boats needing deeper water. Another ramp that may provide access during drawdowns is the ramp at High Point Landing. Anglers should be mindful of the disconnected floating pier and other debris near High Point Landing post-Hurricane Michael. Recent sampling by biologists did not reveal any new, substantial navigational hazards along popular boat channels, but boaters should remain cautious when navigating the lake due to the many downed trees, docks, and possible floating debris from surrounding homes.
Anglers should always take caution when navigating through northern sections of the lake due to the many snags and stumps. During the winter, bass are often more active in the mornings on the western side of the lake (where the sun warms the water first) and then they become more active along the eastern shoreline in the afternoon. Try fishing for bass in the old river channels of Bear, Cedar, Econfina, and Bayou George using diving crankbaits or rattletraps. The fishing for largemouth bass should pick up when the water begins to warm up during mid-February and March. Bass tend to spawn or congregate in areas warmed by the sun (areas facing the southeast) first and then in Econfina Creek last. Spring bass anglers should fish the shallow weedy areas of the lake and along stumps and snags with artificial worms and lizards.
Biologists recently tagged multiple bass in Deer Point as part of a statewide study evaluating the 2016 bass regulation change and a statewide study evaluating harvest or release of trophy bass. A bass over 8 pounds was tagged in Deer Point Lake. Anglers who catch a tagged bass are asked to cut and remove the tag as close to the bass as possible and then call the phone number on the tag. Anglers who call and report the tag number as well as whether or not they harvested or released the bass may receive an award.
Redear sunfish (shellcracker) and bluegill (bream) fishing should be fair during the winter and pickup in the spring. Try fishing the weed-lines and brush throughout the lake. Best baits include beetlespins, worms and crickets. Historically, there have been reports of excellent crappie catches during the winter months on Deer Point, and this trend should remain through the winter into the spring. Try fishing the deep river channels in Bayou George and Cedar Creek with live minnows on a jig head. Catfish can be found in the deep waters by the dam. Best baits include chicken livers and worms.
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 Deer Point Lake:
Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 2
Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 2