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


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): 6


 Current Forecast: 

The habitat on Orange Lake is in excellent shape for some good fishing, now and in the future! Expansive areas of floating vegetation caused by the extended drought that made access, navigation, and fishing difficult on Orange Lake gave way to open water scattered with submersed vegetation that provides great habitat for fish. There is still some need for increased pad coverage, but good fishing habitat is there. Heavy and consistent rainfall events that started in May 2017 with addition of the rain Hurricane Irma dropped, brought water levels up to near historic levels. Orange Lake has produced some good crappie fishing this fall. Black crappie anglers should drift or troll live minnows or artificial jigs in open water. As the water starts to warm up this spring, try moving in shore near vegetation where crappie will be gathering up to spawn. The bass fishing still hasn’t come back to what it once was, but there are some giant fish out there waiting to be caught. Recent fish surveys run by FWC have also observed a bass weighing just short of 13 pounds. The best catches of bass have been reported off of small clumps of pads mixed with hydrilla and coontail.

FWC Facts:
TrophyCatch provides anglers with prize rewards as incentives to weigh and measure their fish and submit photographs that document size.

Learn More at AskFWC