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.
Spring bass anglers should fish the shallow weedy areas of the lake and along stumps and snags. Best baits are artificial dark colored lizards and worms and live shiners. Try fishing the old river channels in Econfina Creek as these bass typically spawn the latest and many bass may have spawned in February during the warmer weather. Redear (shellcracker) Sunfish usually begin spawning in April, but spawning is temperature dependent, and redear were already pairing up in March. Biologists saw several redear 10 inches or larger and 1 pound or greater while sampling throughout the lake. These sunfish are notorious for having large spawning aggregates with numerous fish. Spawning areas are typically on sandy bottoms in 2 to 4 feet of water. Try fishing for Redear Sunfish with wigglers along the cypress edges. Crappie will have moved to the deeper holes in Bayou George, Cedar and Bear Creek after their spring spawn. Fish these holes at various depths where structure can be found with crappie minnows. Good numbers of bullhead catfish (butter cats) and Channel Catfish can be found in the deep waters by the dam, deep holes and weedy areas. Best baits include chicken livers, worms and processed baits. Anglers should note that there are four fish attractors (submerged brush piles deployed in 2013) marked by buoys in the main part of Deer Point. The attractors receive fairly low fishing pressure. Electrofishing efforts during the drawdown showed use by Largemouth Bass, Black Crappie, and Bluegill. These attractors may not be easily fished in windy conditions. A few anglers have reported that evening or night fishing on the attractors produces the best results. The brush piles are located in fairly deep water since clearance for boats must be 3 feet, even during drawdown conditions.
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): 3
Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 2