Alachua County

FW-Orange.jpgOrange Lake is the largest lake in the North Central Region at 12,550 acres. It is designated as a Fish Management Area and is located about 20 miles southeast of Gainesville. Orange Lake averages 5.5 feet deep with a maximum depth of 12 feet. Water levels fluctuate an average of 2 feet, annually. Outflow is controlled by a fixed-crest weir located at Highway 301 (southeast portion of lake). Orange Lake receives inflow from Newnans Lake through River Styx and from Lochloosa Lake through Cross Creek. Cross Creek (1.8 miles) is navigable to most boats during normal water levels.

Orange lake has an extensive aquatic vegetation community, dominated by spatterdock (lily pads) and periodically hydrilla. Shallow marsh areas are inaccessible to anglers due to the dense growth of vegetation. Bluegill, redear sunfish, black crappie and largemouth bass are generally caught in the deeper spatterdock, emergent grasses and hydrilla.

Marion County and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission allocated funds to establish a fishing pier at Heagy-Burry Park (southwestern part of the lake). The pier is handicap-accessible. A fish attractor is located near the pier, which provides for good fishing.

For updated information please call:
South Shore Fish Camp 352-595-4241
Sportsman Cove Fish Camp 352-591-1435

For information about the management of Orange Lake and its wildlife resources, visit the Orange Lake Management Page.

 

Popular species:

Popular fish species

Fish graphics by Duane Raver, Jr.

 

TrophyCatchTrophyCatch Tracker

TrophyCatch External link 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 Orange Lake:

Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 4

 

 Current Forecast: 

Orange Lake is looking better than it has in a long time!  The expansive areas of floating vegetation caused by the extended drought that made access, navigation, and fishing difficult on Orange Lake has given way to open water scattered with lily pads that has traditionally dominated the lake’s habitat. Vegetation management strategies designed to restore access and improve habitat is responsible for some of this change, along with the help of a little time.  Heavy and consistent rainfall events have also helped the lake, bringing water levels back up by a foot in the early summer.  Orange Lake provided some of the best black crappie fishing in the area last winter and spring.  These fish are most likely in the open water now and will still need to feed.  There were also good reports of nice size bream.  Grass shrimp or live minnows are hard to beat while the bream are spawning, which will continue through September.  The bass fishing is what Orange Lake is really known for, and it is something worth the effort.  Local fishing clubs have produced some excellent bags during weigh-ins of their tournaments, and there has been numerous reports of fish being caught weighing over 10 pounds.  Recent fish surveys run by FWC have also observed 10 plus pound bass.  The best catches of bass have been reported off of small clumps of lily pads mixed with hydrilla and coontail.  FWC is holding regular meetings to seek stakeholder input on future lake habitat management strategies. For those interested, please visit Orangecreekbasin.wordpress.com External link for future meeting updates and management progress.



FWC Facts:
The secretive little pygmy sunfish is not a true sunfish and may be more related to sticklebacks and pipefishes.

Learn More at AskFWC