(Santa Rosa County):
Bear Lake is a 107-acre man-made impoundment constructed in 1959, opened to fishing in 1961, and designated as a Fish Management Area. The lake has an average depth of 8 feet with a maximum depth of 23 feet. Deepest areas are located near the dam and along the old streambed. A considerable amount of flooded timber remains, providing fish habitat. This lake has been stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish (shellcracker), black crappie, hybrid striped bass, and channel catfish. Bear Lake is located in northeast Santa Rosa County with in the Blackwater State Forest, approximately 2 miles east of Munson, FL on SR 4. A dual-launch concrete boat ramp is located within the Bear Lake Campground. Ample parking, a handicapped accessible fishing pier, and an informational kiosk are located near this ramp. The Florida Forest Service maintains the campground, which includes bath/restroom facilities, along with camping and picnic areas. The Florida Forest Service charges a $2.00/car fee to all persons entering the Bear Lake Campground area. Two primitive dirt boat landings are accessible from Hurricane Lake Rd. and are not currently subject to this fee. A limited number of small jon-boats and canoes are available to rent from DOF for use on the lake. Information regarding these rentals can be obtained by calling 850-957-6140. Bear 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 Bear Lake; however, use of electric trolling motors is allowed.
For additional information regarding fishing opportunities at Bear Lake contact Blackwater Fisheries Center in Holt, Fl. Phone 850-957-6175.
See also our Fish Management Area Brochure and Map for Bear Lake.
Largemouth bass will become more active as water temperatures cool. Dark colored plastic worms and floater-diver type lures should be two of the more productive artificial baits when used along the shoreline or within the flooded timber. Rat-L-Traps are also effective according to numerous bass anglers. Fishing around brush fish attractors can also be very productive as these sites provide excellent cover. Bullet-shaped buoys mark brush fish attractor sites around the lake. Anglers should be observant of weather patterns during this time of year. Cold fronts late in the year will often push bass into deeper waters. Warm days following a cold front will often result in bass moving back into shallower habitats to feed, and fishermen will need to adjust their strategies accordingly. Shallow areas that are adjacent to deeper water drop-offs, where bass can seek refuge during cold periods, can be prime habitat this time of year. A key to success this time of year is to be observant of conditions and adjust your fishing strategies, lures, and presentations based on these observations. Bluegill and redear sunfish (shellcracker) can be caught using live baits such as red worms, wigglers, and crickets fished on light tackle. As with bass, these fish will be moving between shallow and deep-water areas based on changing weather patterns. Another productive method for catching bream is to take a small Beetle Spin (1/16 or 1/32 oz.), detach the spinner and use only the little lead headed jig preferably with chartreuse colored grubs. Bait with a cricket and fish 3 to 4 feet below a float. Fishing near fish feeders that are set up in the lake can usually result in nice catches of bream. If you are catching a lot of small bream, larger bream can often be found by fishing just a little deeper in the same area. Using the appropriate size hook is also an important factor when fishing for bream. Bream have small mouths and most bait and tackle stores sell “bream hooks” that are perfect when you are targeting these fish. For fishermen without a boat, fishing off the fishing pier adjacent to the boat ramp can be productive for bream. Crappie and sunshine bass fishing tends to pick up as water temperatures drop to 70 and below. Catfish can be caught using earthworms and chicken livers.