Holeyland Fishing

This Holey land project consists of a modification to the current operating plan for Holey Land Wildlife Management Area to implement rain-driven operations for this area. Water deliveries are made to Holey Land from the Rotenberger Holey Land FishingWildlife Management Area or from Stormwater Treatment Area 3 & 4 if Rotenberger flows are insufficient and the water quality of the deliveries are assumed to be acceptable. These new lakes are intended to improve the timing and location of water depths within the Holey Land Wildlife Management Area. This is what lead South Florida Water Management to start the Holey land project and help turn it in to a world class fishery for many anglers.

Visitor Information

The Holey land management area consist of canals surrounding the area that support many species of game fish including largemouth bass, bluegill and other species of sunfish, as well as catfish and several species of exotic fishes. In addition, the canal system serves as refuge for smaller fish species during periods of severe drought. These forage fish are an important part of the prey base for many species of wading birds. Reference the map below of Holey Land to locate boat ramp(s). Fishing license information.

Wildlife Viewing

South Florida Water Management District – Great Blue Heron
Levees are good places to view wildlife. You may encounter white-tailed deer, raccoons, common opossums, armadillos, river otter, bobcats, rabbits, and rats. Swallow-tailed kites, red-shouldered hawks, and many migratory birds are seen during the winter months. Wood storks, ibises, great blue herons, snowy egrets, and cattle egrets are common. The endangered Florida panther may be an occasional visitor to the area.

Wildlife Spotlight: Alligator

Rotenburger and Holey LandAlligator – The American alligator is one of the most commonly seen wildlife species in Florida. Alligators and other crocodilians are the only living Archosauria, the ancient group that included dinosaurs. They have many features more similar to birds or mammals than to other reptiles. The snouts of alligators are broad and rounded whereas those of the much rarer crocodile are longer and more pointed.

Alligators play a key role in the Everglades and other wetlands. During times of drought they dig holes that fill with groundwater. During dry periods, these alligator holes are an important source of freshwater for birds and mammals and are critical to the survival of many aquatic species. Since 1988, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has held a public waters – alligator harvest. Each year Alligator Harvest Management Units, including the Holey Land WMA, are established with conservative harvest quotas.

Fees No Daily-Use Permit currently required. To hunt or fish you must possess the appropriate license and permit.

Facilities Holey alnd has two boat ramps, both are noted on the map below. One dirt, which is not recommended, the other a new two lane boat ramp good for any size boat with dockage.
Public Access Persons must enter and exit the area from the L-5 or Miami Canal levees only.
Airboats may be used for hunting ducks and coots in season, and individuals selected to participate in the public waters alligator hunt may operate an airboat for the purpose of taking alligators (Alligator Hunting Information).

Outside of Water Management District canals all vessels including airboats must be equipped with an orange flag at least 10 inches wide and 12 inches long and displayed at least 10 feet above the bottom of the vessel. During archery, muzzleloading, and general gun-walk seasons, only ATVs are permitted for hunting. While an ATV is in motion, no person shall occupy any platform or structure attached to it. No ATV may be equipped with a steering mechanism that would enable the ATV to be operated from a platform or structure attached to it. No person shall operate any ATV, motorized two-wheeled vehicle, or motorized three-wheeled vehicle unless it is equipped with an orange flag at least 10 inches wide and 12 inches long and displayed at a minimum height of 6 feet above the top of the seat.

Vehicle use regulations: No motor vehicle shall be operated on any part of any wildlife and environmental area designated and posted as “CLOSED” because of inclement weather, poor road conditions, construction, management activities, or wildlife surveys.
No person shall park any vehicle in a manner that obstructs a road, gate, or firelane.
During archery, muzzleloading, and general gun-walk seasons, only ATVs are permitted for hunting. While an ATV is in motion, no person shall occupy any platform or structure attached to it. No ATV may be equipped with a steering mechanism that would enable the ATV to be operated from a platform or structure attached to it. No person shall operate any ATV, motorized two-wheeled vehicle, or motorized three-wheeled vehicle unless it is equipped with an orange flag at least 10 inches wide and 12 inches long and displayed at a minimum height of 6 feet above the top of the seat.
The use or presence of vehicles on wildlife islands, tree islands or tree strands is prohibited.
All vehicles are prohibited from the end of the established duck and coot season through April 30. Airboats are allowed during this period.
Vehicles are prohibited on all levees except L-5 and Miami Canal levees.

Location & Directions: Southwestern Palm Beach County, north of Water Conservation Area 3 and on the east side of the Miami Canal.
From Clewiston – Take US 27 south to Palm Beach/Broward County line. From county line, take L-5 levee west approximately 9 mi to first access point, which is on the north side of the levee.
From Ft. Lauderdale – Take I-595 west to I-75 north. Take I-75 north to US 27. Take US 27 north to Palm Beach/Broward County line. From county line, take L-5 levee west approximately 9 mi to first access point, which is on the north side of the levee.

Nearest Cities/Towns Fort Lauderdale (40 miles southeast), Boca Raton (30 miles east), South Bay (12 miles north), and Belle Glade (12 miles north).

History

Only a century ago the southern third of Florida was an unwelcoming wet wilderness. Lake Okeechobee was nearly twice the size it is today. From the lake, water crept southward down the peninsula through swamp and sawgrass. Rainfall that did not soak into the underlying limestone sat on the nearly flat land. The only dry places were on the Atlantic coastal ridge and the
Everglades hammocks.

Indians inhabited south Florida even before wetter climatic conditions set into motion the beginning of the Everglades 5000 or so years ago. At the time European explorers arrived in the 1500s, Indian cultures were well established, and people lived by hunting, fishing, and gathering wild foods. Villages around Lake Okeechobee may have grown corn, at least for a time. Most of the Indian population was in villages near estuaries and on the coastal ridge. People traveled from these villages back and forth to camps in the Everglades to hunt and fish, much as modern urban dwellers continue to do today.

In 1948 Congress authorized the Central and South Florida Project to protect agricultural and urban areas from flooding and to serve as a source of freshwater for what was fast becoming the heavily populated Gold Coast. Construction of canals, levees, and water control structures began in 1949 and was completed in 1962. These structures have altered the natural hydroperiods and disrupted sheetflow from Lake Okeechobee to Florida Bay. On some portions of the area drained land was used for sugar cane cultivation or cattle ranching.
Holey Land derived its name from the fact that it was used as a practice bombing range during World War II and is pocked with bomb craters.

In 1994 the state passed the Everglades Forever Act to address environmental concerns related to quality, quantity, and timing of water entering the Everglades. For more information on Everglades restoration visit the South Florida Water Management web site.
We at BassOnline.com encourages anglers to practice catch-and-release when fishing for any bass. Overall, this species is a hearty fish and nearly 100 percent will survive being caught and released when properly handled. However, bass do not survive as well in live wells or as long out of water as some other fish. It is important that they be released quickly to maximize their chances for survival.


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