Orange Lake in Florida
About Orange Lake
Positioned in Alachua County, Orange Lake in Florida is the largest lake in the North Central Region at 12,550 acres. It’s located in the southeast of Gainesville designated fish management area with about 20 miles of shoreline. Maximum depth of 12 feet, Orange lake averages 5-1/2 feet deep. The water levels fluctuate an average of 2 feet annually.
A fixed-crest weir located at Highway 301 (the southeast portion of the lake) controls outflow. Orange Lake receives inflow from Newman’s Lake through River Styx and from Lochloosa Lake through Cross Creek. Cross-Creek navigable to most boats is 1.8 miles during normal water levels.
Orange Lake Fishing
Orange lake fishing opportunities has an extensive aquatic vegetation community, dominated by spatterdock (lily pads) and periodically hydrilla. Shallow marsh areas are inaccessible to anglers due to the dense growth of vegetation. Marion County and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission allocated funds to establish a fishing pier at Heagy-Burry Park (southwestern part of the lake). The dock is handicap-accessible with a fish attractor near the dock, which provides for good fishing.
Orange Lake has deeper spatterdock, emergent grasses, and hydrilla anglers catch black crappie, Bluegill, redear sunfish, and largemouth bass.
Consequently, the only public ramp available for conventional boat access is Heagy-Burry. Despite the low water levels, catches of largemouth bass, black crappie, and bream have been outstanding over the last several months. The trend for bream and black crappie should continue until water temperatures start to decline, using grass shrimp and minnows as your best. Cooling water temperatures groups up black crappie; anglers should drift or troll minnows and jigs for best results. Largemouth bass anglers can currently enjoy one to two-pound fish around the majority of the Hydrilla edge, although larger fish yields have become more common. Spinnerbaits, jerk worms, and plastic worms will be the top baits.
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Top Orange Lake Fish Species
Making Travel Plans?
Were you thinking of driving? An incredibly good lake and scenic drive if back roads are taken. From the North out of Gainesville take 441 South. Palaka is just to the East and US-20 can be used. From the South out of Ocala try alternative US-301. Be sure to stop at Island Grove along the way.