Dead Lakes is reported to have been formed when sand bars created by the current of the Apalachicola River blocking the Chipola River. The ensuing high water killed thousands of trees in the floodplain, giving the area its name….but who really knows!
The dead lakes history has several theories as to what happened; one theory is years ago a temporary flood of salt water killed the cypress trees; another is as we meanted earlier the Apalachicola river’s current made a sand bar where the Chipola empties out and blocked the river and flooded the swamp. Who really knows, we think what really happened is that the dam that was built caused the death of these majestic cypress trees. Now, only the stumps are left to rot away. That is how the “Dead Lakes” got its name.
This Dead Lakes is 83-acre area well-known as a fishing impoundment on the Chipola River. Freshwater species regulaurly caught include shellcrackers, bluegill and bass. Anglers find fishing in the spring season to be the most successful. Several small man-made ponds that are actually former fish hatcheries, also offer great fishing opportunity. Anglers may fish from shore or launch a motor boat, Kayak or paddleboat.
Dead Lakes Fishing:
The Dead Lakes and surrounding areas is home to some of the finest and most unique fishing you will ever experience. The area is filled with wildlife and many sub-species of the largemouth bass family, big catfish and hundreds of other types. Anglers should always exercise caution while boating due to the many snags, never ending changes in water levels and stumps in the lake.
Black crappie fishing is best throughout this quarter of the year. Try trolling for “specks” in the main channel of West Arm Creek using crappie minnows and jigs. FWC sampling in the fall indicated good numbers of bream (bluegill and redear sunfish) in the lake. These fish will be found by fishing near willow tree islands associated with stumps and cypress knees.
Shellcracker (redear) and bluegill anglers should fish an ultralight rod with a number 10 gold hook on the bottom with a wiggler. Stumpknockers (spotted sunfish) and redbreast sunfish can also be caught near stumps and snags with worms or beetle spins.
Largemouth bass fishing is good year will slow down during the winter but should pickup in February. During the winter months try fishing the old river channels and curves and cuts in the lake near snags and stumps. Work your artificial baits slowly, as bass will be less active. Best baits for fishing artificial are spinner baits, 3/8oz jigs, 8″ rubber worms, chatter baits in the off color water and of coarse live shiners.
While dead lakes is considered a conservation area, it is not part of the state park system. There is very little information on the area, and you must really go out of your way to explore it; within seconds of arriving you will know the journey was worth the time and effort. What a wonder place the Dead lakes, surrounded by powerful rivers your in the area where cell phone are worthless and time doesn’t change. The stillness and power of the scene reminded you of third sencry movie. But unlike in hte movies, there weren’t droves of wildlife; instead only the ocassional local fisherman dis engageing from life.
Whether the Dead lakes was formed when sand bars created by water flowing from the Apalachicola was blocked up by the Chipola River, who really knows but whats left is one of the most beautiful rivers of the Florida Panhandles, along with a thriving ecosystem for plants, trees, and wildlife.
Dead Lakes Locations:
Dead Lakes offers fishing, boating, camping and nature study. A boat ramp is available.
The uplands are covered mainly by longleaf pines, with sweetbay, magnolia and cypress trees bordering wetlands. Animal life includes foxes, cotton rats, raccoons, opossums, deer, rabbits, skunks, beavers, turtles, snakes and alligators.
Dead Lakes State Recreation Area
P.O. Box 989
Wewahitchka, FL 32465
Dead Lakes Sportsman Lodge
2001 Lake Grove Road
Phone: (850) 639-5051
Monday – Friday 5:30AM to 7:30PM
Weekends 5:30 AM to 8:00 PM
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