Karick Lake is a 65-acre man-made impoundment constructed in 1965, opened to fishing in 1966, and is designated as a Fish Management Area. The lake has an average depth of 7 feet with a maximum depth of 18 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. Karick Lake is located in northwestern Okaloosa County off County Road 189 approximately 8 miles north of Baker, FL. Concrete boat ramps with courtesy docks are located in both the north and south campgrounds. A handicapped accessible fishing pier is located adjacent to the boat ramp in the north campground. Both campgrounds are accessible from CR 189. Informational kiosks are located adjacent to each boat ramp. The south campground contains primitive campsites (no electrical or water hookups) and picnic areas. The north campground has picnic grounds and campsites are available with both electric and water hookups. Both campgrounds have restroom/bath facilities and are maintained by the Florida Forest Service. Bait, supplies, and other conveniences are available in nearby Baker and Blackmon, FL. Karick 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 Karick 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 fishing opportunities at Karick Lake contact Blackwater Fisheries Center in Holt, Fl. Phone 850-957-6177.
On July 10, 2017, the FWC began working in partnership with the Florida Forest Service to conduct a renovation project on Karick Lake Fish Management Area. The drawdown has since ended, and the lake returned to full pool in February 2019. The renovation project included the removal of 63,865 cubic yards of muck, the building of a new fishing pier, the planting of native plants, the installation of five fish attractor locations, and the stocking of Bluegill, Redear Sunfish (shellcracker), and Largemouth Bass. It should take a couple of years for the fish stocked to grow to a catchable size.
Karick 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. 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 around the lake. Ideally, anglers will 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. Bream often remain deep to escape the summer heat.
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.
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 Karick Lake:
Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 1