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.
Numerous brush piles located around the lake typically hold schools of bream and/or largemouth bass and are good locations to target. Locations of these brush piles are marked with bullet shaped buoys located throughout the lake. These brush piles often attract fish by creating a habitat that provides shelter. Largemouth bass anglers will be more successful during the early morning and the early evening hours. 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. Larger bluegill and redear sunfish (shellcracker) will be congregating on beds throughout the lake. Redear typically begin bedding as water temperatures reach 68 degrees, while bluegill bedding peaks as water temperatures reach 80 degrees. Live baits such as red worms, wigglers, and crickets fished on light tackle in 2 to 5 feet of water are the best bet. As with bass, the most productive fishing seems to be early morning and late afternoon/early evening. 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. For anglers without a boat, fishing off the fishing pier adjacent to the boat ramp can be productive for bream. Catfish can be taken using chicken livers and earthworms primarily in the evening. Night fishing for bass and bream can also be productive as water temperatures increase to the upper 80’s and into the 90’s. Crappie and sunshine bass fishing tend to slow down as water temperatures reach 80 and above.