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 additional information regarding Hurricane Lake contact Blackwater Fisheries Center in Holt, FL: 850-957-6177.
Hurricane Lake is the perfect place to decompress and unwind after a busy “holiday season,” so load up the boat or sit on the bank and enjoy this wonderful lake. Through the months of January and February, weather patterns will continue to be crucial. Cold fronts push fish into deeper water, while warmer days following these systems will cause fish to seek forage in shallower areas. The FWC stocked over 38,000 adult threadfin shad during the winter of 2018 to provide forage for sport fish populations. Anglers should look for shallow water habitats located adjacent to steep drop-offs where these schools may congregate. In October of 2016 the FWC installed four large brush-pile fish, material has been added to these attractors every year since. Look for large, white, cigar-shaped buoys which mark the brush piles.
As the water begins to warm up in late February and early March, look for largemouth bass fishing to follow suit. Water temperatures approaching the low-mid 60s will begin to draw largemouth bass into the shallows to spawn. Male bass move in first, building nests in 2-6 feet of water with some even venturing as deep as 10 feet. Larger female bass will then begin to pair with males at each nest site. Peak spawning activity generally occurs around water temperatures of 64-66 degrees. It is not unusual for certain areas in the lake to warm up faster than others. This can create “hot-spots” for largemouth bass activity so don’t be afraid to explore the entire lake perimeter. In addition to water temperatures, weather patterns are critical to angler success this time of year. Monitor cold fronts which can have significant effects on feeding and spawning activity. Dark colored plastic worms/lizards are particularly effective at generating strikes from aggressive, spawning bass. Spinnerbaits, floater-diver type lures, and rat-L-traps are also popular artificial baits this time of year. During low-light conditions (sunrise/sunset) noisy topwater lures (buzzbaits and surface plugs) can be thrilling as they generate explosive strikes at the surface.
Bluegill and redear sunfish (shellcracker) will likely still be moving between shallow and deep-water areas based on the changing weather patterns. Fish these areas with red worms, wigglers, or crickets either on the bottom with a small weight or deep below a cork. Be sure to use small hooks and light tackle to prevent these fish from recognizing your gear. Artificial baits such as beetle spins, roostertails, or curley-tailed grubs can also be effective when fished with a slower retrieve to access deeper water. Redear sunfish (shellcracker) generally begin to congregate as water temperatures approach the upper 60s with spawning activity peaking around 68-72 degrees.
Catfish will be cruising the deeper portions of the lake searching for any tasty morsels they can pick up off the bottom. Use smelly chicken livers, beef livers, or earthworms to draw these transient predators to your hook.
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 Hurricane Lake!