Lake Santa Fe
Lake Santa Fe is a 5,850 acre spring fed lake in northeastern Alachua County Florida. It forms the headwaters of the Santa Fe River, exiting from a smaller body of the water on the north side called Little Lake Santa Fe which then empties into the Suwannee River. Lake Santa Fe has abundant wildlife and is considered an excellent fishing and recreational boating lake. It is one of the largest and most stable lakes in North Florida.
The lake is located entirely in Alachua County, but is surrounded on the East and South side by Bradford County, Clay County, and Putnam County. The Alachua County boundary extends to the ordinary high water line, which is 141 feet above mean sea level.
Lake Santa Fe Fishing
The largemouth bass fishing is really good at times, winter and spring allows this lake to show the quality of the lake. The hybrid sunshine bass recently stocked into Santa Fe Lake is generating a good bit most of the time throughout hte year for excitement. The sunshine bass typically chase shad schools to the surface around the lake…particularly during early morning and evening hours, and folks casting or trolling a variety of minnow-imitating lures can enjoy the action. The bass generally weigh from a pound-and-a-half to two-and-a-half pounds, but are growing rapidly. As well you have the opportunity to catch the occasionally encounter of a hybrid striper remaining from stockings several years ago.
Best techniques are, slow-trolling stick style baits that imitate a shad to hook one of these older surviving hybrids. Always great bass catches coming from Lake Santa Fe, Lochloosa, and Newnans Lakes; but Rodman Reservoir still drews most attention for good reason.
Lake Santa Fe Information
Lake Santa Fe was designated by the State of Florida as an outstanding Florida Water storage which according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, means it is “worthy of special protection because of its natural attributes.” The lake covers approximately 7,046-acre with adding the Santa Fe Swamp at the north end of the lake. It’s considered the headwaters of the Santa Fe River, the largest tributary of the mighty Suwannee River.
Whether you live on Lake Santa Fe, or visit it regularly, you surely appreciate the natural beauty of our lake ecosystem. The responsibility for the present and future health of our lake depends on every one of us, as caretakers of our Outstanding Florida Water. Please take a few moments to explore this web site, intended to be both interesting and informative. Perhaps by increasing our awareness, we will more fully understand the delicate balance between our activities and the health of our lake.
The area between Gainesville and Melrose is filled with many other great recreational lakes, and that helped Gainesville become #1 City in the United States on Money Magazine’s rankings in 1995. And being home to the University of Florida keeps a vibrant atmosphere in this great city with a tradition of outdoors activities and fishing!
Just east 20 miles in Melrose you can find 6,000 acre Santa Fe Lake. At the corner of four counties, Melrose has an interesting history as town far removed from natural waterways…yet somewhat of a seaport for citrus in the late 1,800s. Beautiful homes from summer residents of that era adorn the streets today. Other interesting communities in area are Starke, Keystone Heights, Waldo and Orange Heights.
The intent of the state’s Outstanding Florida Water designation is to “prevent the lowering of existing water quality.” Many scientists feel that we cannot sustain our high water quality indefinitely on Lake Santa Fe, unless we all undertake steps to curb the impact we are having on our precious lake. Isn’t this what unites us all – the need to protect the quality of our water?
Every winter provides a great time for a yearly social event with less business and more time for interaction among locals. A long-standing tradition on Lake Santa Fe is the annual 4th of July Boat Parade. Typically the circumnavigation begins at 11 am. Boats gather at the entrance to the Lake Santa Fe Boat Ramp, Alachua County, at the south end of Big Lake Santa Fe. The circumnavigation goes counter-clockwise along the shore of both lakes. Anyone interested can simply decorate your vessel and come along. Docks provide a great place for viewing.Or when the red, white and blue boats motor by, feel free to jump in your own vessel and join the parade!