Hurricane LakeOkaloosa County

Hurricane Lake is a 318-acre man-made impoundment constructed in 1971, opened to fishing in 1973, and is designated as a Fish Management Area. The lake has an average depth of 7 feet and a maximum depth of 25 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. Hurricane Lake is located in northwest Okaloosa County within the Blackwater State Forest approximately 12 miles northwest of Baker, FL. Concrete boat ramps with courtesy docks are located in both the north and south campgrounds. The south campground is accessible from Kennedy Bridge Road off Beaver Creek Road north of SR 4. This campground contains primitive (no electric or water hookups) camping sites maintained by the Florida Forest Service. Restroom and picnic facilities are available. Several earthen fishing fingers are located in this area for use by bank fishermen. Construction of a fishing pier in the south campground is planned for the near future. An informational kiosk is located adjacent to the boat ramp. The north campground is accessible from Hurricane Lake North Campground Road off Beaver Creek Road north of Kennedy Bridge Road. A handicapped accessible fishing pier and an informational kiosk are located adjacent to the boat ramp. This campground has campsites with electrical and water hookups which are maintained by DOF. Bait, supplies, and other conveniences are available in nearby Baker, Blackmon, and Munson. Hurricane 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 Hurricane Lake; however, use of electric trolling motors is allowed.

The largemouth bass harvest minimum size limit was changed in July 2010 from an 18-inch minimum size limit to a 12-inch minimum size limit. All bag limit regulations remain the same.

For additional information regarding fishing opportunities at Hurricane Lake contact Blackwater Fisheries Center in Holt, Fl.  Phone: 850-265-3676.

Current Forecast:

In late February and early March Largemouth Bass will begin to move into shallow water in preparation for spawning activity.  Male bass move in first and begin to fan out nests, typically as water temperatures reach the lower 60’s.  Nests are most often constructed in water that is 2 – 6 feet in depth, but nests have been observed in water as deep as 10 feet.  As water temperatures reach the mid 60’s, peak spawning activity begins with the females moving in and pairing with the males.  While spawning can begin when water temperatures are in the lower 60’s and continue as temperatures rise into the upper 60’s, the peak of the bass spawning season normally occurs when water temperatures are in the 64 – 66 degree range.  Observing water temperatures and weather patterns during this time of year can play a big part in angler success.  Cool fronts that often move through this time of year can have a big impact on both spawning and feeding activity and can affect different areas of the lake in different ways.  It is not unusual for one area of a lake to warm-up a little earlier than another which can have a large impact on bass activity in those areas.  Water temperature, wind speed and direction, and the frequency of cool fronts moving through the area all play major roles in bass activity this time of year.  Dark colored plastic worms/lizards and floater-diver type lures are two of the more productive artificial baits used by anglers this time of year.  Rat-L-Traps are also effective according to numerous bass anglers.  Bass can often be found hanging out around clumps of maidencane grass or other types of structure found around the lake.  Redear Sunfish (shellcracker) will be congregating on the oyster-shell spawning area and limerock piles located within the lake. Redear Sunfish spawning activity usually begins as water temperatures reach the upper 60’s and typically peaks when water temperatures are in the 68 – 72 degree range.  As with largemouth bass, water temperatures and weather patterns play a large role in Redear Sunfish activity this time of year.  Overcast days also tend to be more productive than bright sunny days, especially when the water is very clear for both bass and bream.  Live baits such as red worms, wigglers, and crickets fished on light tackle are the best bet.  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.  For anglers without a boat, good catches of Bluegill can be had by fishing off the fishing pier adjacent to the boat ramp in the north campgrounds or off the fishing fingers located in both the north and south campgrounds. Catfish activity is usually slow this time of year and picks up later in the year as water temperatures warm.  Chicken livers and earthworms are good baits to use when pursuing catfish.

FWC Facts:
Freshwater catfish have many external taste buds on their barbels, so they use their sense of taste more than their sight to find prey.

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