History of lake
Kingsley Lake, located six miles east of Starke, Florida, is rich in history and geological significance and one of the most popular recreational spots in Northeast Florida.
According to an engineering study for Clay County, it is the oldest and highest lake in Florida. It’s actuality on the eastern slope of Trail Ridge, which was the first part of the Florida peninsula to emerge above sea level in the Pleistocene era. Geologists also believe that it was formed as a giant sinkhole, over 90 feet deep at its deepest point.
According to U.S. Geological Survey data, it is also the most stable lake in the North Florida area, seldom fluctuating more than 16 to 18 inches in measurements above sea level. The water remains delightfully cool during the summer months since it is fed by countless underground springs around the shore, as well as in the lake itself.
Kingsley Lake is 5.5 miles around the shoreline and 2 miles across in all directions. It covers approximately 2,000 acres, according to Starke surveyor M. G. McMillan.
The lake is about one mile east of the historic Alachua Trail, which followed Trail Ridge from the Georgia line into this area and was the favorite “highway” used by Indians in their travels back and forth. Old military maps show Fort Van Cortlandt positioned near Alachua Trail about two miles southwest of “Kingsley Pond,” as early surveyors called it.
Top Kingsley Lake Fish Species
Kingsley lake fishing
Kingsley Lake stands among Florida’s marquee bass fishing grounds because it consistently produces the biggest bass in disproportionate numbers for its size. Kingsley bass is also unique because the life span is longer than other locations in Florida.
Trophy bass is pretty typical for Kingsley lake and the state of Florida. This lake is one of the characteristics of many reasons people come over winter and take fishing trips and vacations in Florida.
Guided Trips on Kingsley Lake
It’s common in the winter and spring to produce double-digit fish. Big bass aside in Kingsley Lake, because of its depth. During the spawn, fish come to the shallows, and with the crystal clear water, it’s a sight to see for any bass angler.
The fishing report and trips are limited for the reason you read on this page. But we have exclusive access to some of the biggest fish in Florida, and you can join us. This place stands out among Florida lakes due to the depth and clarity of the water. Interestingly, upwards of 300 acres of the interior of the lake is 40 plus feet deep.
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Why is it called Kingsley Lake?
Alachua Trail was the scene of many Indian incidents during the 1830s and ’40s. According to the legends, one of these encounters occurred when a young Cavalry officer, Captain Kingsley, was surrounded by Indians on a trail south of the lake, and his only way of escape was to swim his horse across the lake to the west shore. The horse was said to have dropped dead from exhaustion, and the lakes named Kingsley ever since.
In the 1870s, ’80s, and ’90s, early settlers were mostly small farmers and fruit growers, engaged in the culture of oranges, strawberries, grapes, and naval stores products derived from native pines. At one time, there was a tramroad from the railroad north of Lawtey to haul lumber from Kingsley’s sawmills.
When was it found?
In the early 1900s, Col. Comer L. Peek, a Starke realtor, and developer subdivided a large tract of land on the west side of the lake and sold 60-foot lots for $50 to residents of Starke for summer cottages. Roads to the lake were hardly more than sand trails at that time, but many Starke people in business commuted the six miles daily in horse-drawn buggies to reach the lake after a hot day in town. Their wives and children usually stayed the entire summer at the lake without coming into town at all.
This type of summer residence continued for the next 20 years or more. Still, with the coming of paved roads and automobiles, the summer colonists were joined by more and more permanent residents who built modern, weather-proofed homes that would also be comfortable for year-round living.
Kingsley Lake is the source of the North Prong of Black Creek and converges with the South Prong at Middleburg to become a tributary to the St. Johns River. During the 1930s, an extensive study was made of the Black Creek Basin to use Kingsley Lake as a water supply source for Jacksonville due to its water quality excellence.
However, the project never started with the outbreak of World War II in the 1940s. The U.S. Army took over a Florida National Guard Camp on the east side of the lake (an area not yet developed by residents) for a massive Infantry Replacement Training Center named Camp Blanding in honor of General Albert Blanding.
The north side of the lake, where the old Kingsley post office is, became a “boom town” with small businesses and entertainment spots catering to servicemen. This atmosphere continued on that part of the lake until the end of the war, then gradually disappeared.
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Why is the lake unique?
Kingsley Lake is almost unique because it is free of water hyacinths, hydrilla, and other obnoxious growth. Its only significant threats are from trash brought into the lake by stormwater runoff and a few sub-standard septic tanks. However, we would hope that improved conditions in the possible future pollution prevented should we receive recognition as an outstanding Florida water. At a later date, we also hope to be allowed to tie in with Camp Blanding’s sewer system, which has the excessive capacity for their present needs. OFW status should also be helpful to us in this instance.
In 1978, Kingsley Lake residents organized and chartered the Kingsley Lake Property Owners Association, which now includes some 150 member families. It has established a Kingsley Lake Civic Center where meetings and social events occur. Although Kingsley Lake is not yet a municipality, it has a well-organized and equipped fire department.
The National Guard organization at Camp Blanding is also very supportive of having Kingsley Lake declared Outstanding Florida lakes.
No public boat ramp access since the closings of Kingsley Beach and Strickland’s Landing presently, there is no public boat ramp at Kingsley lake. Homeowners pay a fee to join Camp Blanding for private boat ramp access.