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Okaloosa County

Fw Hurricane River

Hurricane Lake is a 318-acre man-made impoundment constructed in 1971, opened to fishing in 1973, and is designated as a Fish Management Area. The lake has an average depth of 7 feet and a maximum depth of 25 feet with the deepest areas located near the dam and along the old streambed. A considerable amount of flooded timber remains, providing fish habitat. The lake has been stocked with Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, Redear Sunfish (shellcracker), and Channel Catfish. Hurricane Lake is located in northwest Okaloosa County within the Blackwater State Forest approximately 12 miles northwest of Baker, FL. Concrete boat ramps with courtesy docks are located in both the north and south campgrounds. The south campground is accessible from Kennedy Bridge Road off Beaver Creek Road north of SR 4. This campground contains primitive (no electric or water hookups) camping sites maintained by the Florida Forest Service. Restroom and picnic facilities are available. Several earthen fishing fingers are located in this area for use by bank fishermen. Construction of a fishing pier in the south campground is planned for the near future. An informational kiosk is located adjacent to the boat ramp. The north campground is accessible from Hurricane Lake North Campground Road off Beaver Creek Road north of Kennedy Bridge Road. A handicapped accessible fishing pier and an informational kiosk are located adjacent to the boat ramp. This campground has campsites with electrical and water hookups which are maintained by DOF. Bait, supplies, and other conveniences are available in nearby Baker, Blackmon, and Munson. Hurricane Lake is subject to the rules and regulations currently in effect for Fish Management Areas. Please refer to a current copy of Florida Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations. Gasoline boat motors are prohibited from use on Hurricane Lake; however, use of electric trolling motors is allowed.

For reserving campsites and cabins in Florida State Parks check the Reserve America website or call 888-622-9190.

For additional information regarding Hurricane Lake contact Blackwater Fisheries Center in Holt, FL: 850-957-6177.

Hurricane Lake should produce plenty of Largemouth Bass this summer ideally sized for eating. Bass have long since left their beds and are becoming plumper. Anglers should target these fish in deeper water near the dam and around stumps in some of the coves. During recent sampling events, bass were in water deeper than six feet. As water temperatures move into the 80’s, anglers will be more successful during the early morning and the early evening hours. In the hours mentioned above, noisy topwater or Rat-L-Trap style crankbaits can prove effective. While throwing the bait out and rapidly retrieving it may produce an occasional bite, anglers should find better success with an erratic action. As water temperature rises throughout the day, fishers may want to switch to soft plastics and try a slow retrieval to entice the lethargic bass. Fishers should avoid the shallow, densely vegetated patches. Ideally, anglers will have better luck targeting the open water edges near the shoreline vegetation where bass often cruise.

As with Largemouth Bass, the most productive bream fishing seems to be early morning and evening. Larger Bluegill and Redear Sunfish may continue to bed, look for lighter colored areas on the bottom which indicate spawning activity. Anglers should fish these areas with live baits such as red worms, wigglers, and crickets. Fish the live baits on light tackle in three to six feet of water. Another productive method for catching hungry bream are artificial baits such as beetle spins, rooster tails, or curly-tailed grubs. When not targeting spawning aggregates, fishers should target deeper holes or the old creek channels. During recent sampling events, most bream were in water deeper than five feet. Bream often remain deep to escape the summer heat.

Black Crappie fishing may not be very productive this time of year. However, if an angler is determined to fish for Black Crappie, they should aim deep. The fish have moved out of shallow water and are in deeper areas with plenty of vertical structure. Fishers should concentrate on places with submerged structure, brush, or timber piles. Anglers might need to be persistent, but in the right spot crappie jigs or live minnows will induce a few bites. Remember that deeper does not always mean better fishing. Frequently, the deepest waters contain little or no oxygen.

As always, Channel Catfish will be hard-pressed to resist a juicy beef or chicken liver, and earthworms. Fishing these baits on the bottom, in deep water off the fishing pier or near the dam, or with a float, suspending the bait over any available timber pile, should produce results. Anglers having trouble keeping messy livers on the hook should try wrapping it in surgical gauze or pantyhose. Additionally, using longer rods will add casting distance and, concurrently, increase the amount of water available for fishing.

Popular Species

Popular Sport Fish Species

Fish graphics by Duane Raver, Jr.

More species information is available for:

Largemouth bassBluegill, Redear sunfish, Channel catfish

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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.

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