Alligator Lake (approximately 800 acres) is located in Columbia County near Lake City. Nearly two-thirds of the total lake surface area is within the city limits. Prior to 1997, only 338 acres were accessible to the public. Subsequently, Columbia County purchased an adjacent 987 acres with money obtained through the Preservation 2000 Communities Trust. This purchase included nearly 450 acres of former lake bottom that were diked and drained for agricultural practices in the 1950's and 1960's.
Several sinkholes are located in the north and south basins of the lake which provide direct connection to the aquifer. One of these sinkholes has been responsible for frequently draining the northern lake basin. This results from increased hydraulic pressure upon sinkhole sediments as groundwater levels subside during periods of drought. During these events, the southern areas of the lake retain water, as a shallow connection exists between north and south basins.
Columbia County's Alligator Lake Park opened in April 2002. The entrance to the park can be found off of Old Country Club road in Lake City. A small boat launch on the north marsh central drainage canal and walking access or boatless fishing will provide unique angling opportunities.
Note: Alligator Lake is a Fish Management Area (license is required to fish in north and south lake basins and north and south marshes).
(Local contact: Greens Marine and Sporting Goods, Lake City 386-755-5390)
Currently the north basin is full and boat launching is possible behind the DOT. As largemouth bass and panfish seek out good bottom for spawning activities this recently inundated area will be very attractive. Water control boards are in place a water control points, so be mindful when moving between the marsh and north basin. Vegetation within the marsh was knocked back by cold weather so casting and fishing with lures is again productive. South basin water levels are good for most boat access behind Lake City High School. The cattail islands indicate shallower water in the south basin. As largemouth bass begin spawning and nest tending, a variety of baits will be likely best bets. Snag less frogs or vibe-tailed worms rigged weed less would be excellent picks for targeting bass within those submerged cattail islands. As water temperatures warm and the summer weather pattern begin, spinner baits and top-water plugs during mornings and evenings always produce strikes. Panfish like to spawn in the waters directly out from the fishing pier in the southern basin and also near the radio tower boardwalk.