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 Florida State Parks Reservation Center website or call 800-326-3521.
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 yd3 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. These stocked fish should have reached a catchable size by now.
During this quarter, properly identifying local spawning behavior and how fish are reacting to the water temperature regime will likely determine how successful the fishing trips turnout. April through June brings increasing water temperatures to Karick Lake. Largemouth bass fishers should continue to be successful throughout the quarter. Bass will move from shallower habitat used during spawning activities into waters five feet and deeper as temperatures rise later in the quarter. As water temperatures move into the upper 70’s and higher, anglers fishing during dawn and dusk can often catch fish moving into shallow water to feed. Plastic worms and lizards rigged Carolina- or Texas-style, along with Rat-L-Traps and crankbaits can all be effective. If bass are actively feeding along the surface, these fish should be targeted with noisy topwater baits (e.g., buzzbaits & jerkbaits) during low light conditions or with soft-plastic baits when the Florida sun is burning bright. Currently, the largemouth bass population does not consist of much quality-sized fish (two pounds and above).
As the water temperature ranges from 68 to 80 degrees, the bream should begin to gather on beds throughout the lake. During most years, anglers can expect this to begin in late-March and last through September. Redear sunfish (shellcracker) tend to nest in “communities,” meaning there will often be numerous nests built in the same area. Bluegill will often use the same nesting areas previously used by shellcracker and also tend to nest in “communities.” Light tackle with earthworms, crickets, beetle spins, rooster tails, or small jigs can produce nice redear sunfish and bluegill.
As always, catfish are normally most active at dawn and in the evening. Catfish are hard-pressed to resist a juicy beef or chicken liver. If the bait continues to fall off of the hook, try wrapping it in surgical gauze or pantyhose and stretch the fabric to release the odor from the bait. If the weeds are a nuisance, then try rigging a small bobber in between the weight and the hook to keep the bait suspended above any vegetation.
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