BEAR LAKE (Santa Rosa County)
Bear Lake (Creek) is a 107-acre human-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. The most profound areas are located near the dam and along the old streambed. Beware of a considerable amount of flooded timber remains, providing fish habitat, restocking the lake with largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish (shellcracker), black crappie, hybrid striped bass, and channel catfish.
In northeast Santa Rosa County within the Blackwater State Forest, we find Bear Lake, approximately 2 miles east of Munson, FL, on SR 4. A dual-launch concrete boat ramp is available in the Bear Lake Campground. Ample parking, a handicapped-accessible fishing pier, and an informational kiosk all situated near this ramp. The Florida Division of Forestry maintains the campground, including bath/restroom facilities and camping and picnic areas. The Division of Forestry (DOF) charges a $2.00/car fee to all persons entering the 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 the lake. Information regarding rentals, call 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 the Florida Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations. Bear Lake prohibits gasoline motors from operating on; however, electric trolling motors are allowed. From the county line, go east on SR 4 to Bear Lake Road. Turn right on Bear Lake Road and go 0.5 miles to the ramp on the right.
Lake provides a single-lane ramp with a paved parking lot capable of accommodating 30 vehicles.
For additional information regarding fishing opportunities at Bear Lake, contact Blackwater Fisheries Center in Holt, Fl. Phone (850) 957-6175
See our Fish Management Area Brochure (PDF) and Map (PDF) for Bear Lake on our Fisheries Publications page.
Bear Lake Fishing
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 used along the shoreline or 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 usually result in bass moving back into shallower habitats to feed, and fishermen will need to adjust their strategies accordingly. Shallow areas adjacent to deeper water drop-offs, where bass can seek refuge during cold periods, can be prime habitat this year. The 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. We suggest catching bluegill and redear sunfish (shellcracker) using live baits such as red worms, wigglers, and crickets fished on light tackle.
Chase the Pattern, not the Fish
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 around the lead headed jig, preferably with chartreuse-colored grubs. Bait with cricket and fish 3 to 4 feet below afloat. Fishing near fish feeders set up in the lake can usually result in excellent 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—recommendation of Earthworms and chicken livers best for catching Catfish.
Top Targeted Fish Species