Calhoun and Gulf counties
This strangely beautiful 6,700-acre lake with dark tannic waters is located on the Chipola River near the town of Wewahitchka. West Arm Creek of the lake is accessible from Dead Lake State Park and Recreation Area, located off SR71 just north of Wewahitchka. Follow Gary Rowell Road east into the park; turn right when the road splits past the pond; the boat ramp will be on the south side of the road. There is also a boat ramp located in Calhoun County which allows access to the north western portion of Dead Lake through Cypress Creek. Follow the signs on SR71 near the intersection of SR 71 and SR73. There are no facilities at this boat ramp. There are fish camps located around the lake. Care should be taken when operating a motorboat in this lake because it is filled with cypress snags and stumps. This lake enjoys an excellent reputation for its bluegill (bream) and redear (shellcracker) fishing in the spring.
Dead Lake Sportsman Lodge (850-639-5051)(east of Wewahitchka at site of old Dead Lake Dam); 2001 Lake Grove Rd., Wewahitchka, FL 32465.
Magnolia Lodge (850-639-6760); 345 S. Bass Dr., Wewahitchka, FL 32465; contact Laura Bush.
Anglers should take caution while boating due to the many snags and stumps in the lake. Navigation can be tricky for those with less Dead Lake experience as the popular main channels are harder to distinguish in high water. Bream anglers should fish an ultra-light rod with a number 10 gold hook fishing a wiggler or beetlespin around stumps and snags and along weed lines and in deep holes. Largemouth bass fishing will pick up in the fall as bass move out of the deep holes and feed in shallow waters. Try fishing early morning and late afternoon in 2 to 3 ft of water with topwater baits. During the day, fish artificial worm or lizards or live shiners. Spotted bass can often be caught near log jams in and around the Chipola cut-off. Spotted bass are most easily distinguished from largemouth bass by the presence of a tooth patch on the tongue. For other key identifying features check out the species profile. Anglers should also try fishing along weedlines or stumps in shallow water adjacent to deep and/or flowing waters. Other fish species in this lake that anglers may be interested in include yellow perch, flathead catfish (please keep this nonnative species), channel catfish, and suckers (please remember that sucker nets are not allowed in Dead Lakes). The best bait for the flathead catfish is sunfish, but anglers are reminded to familiarize themselves with current regulations. Live sunfish can only be used for bait if collected and fished using hook and line. Sunfish cannot be used as bait on any other fishing gear (e.g., bush hooks or trot lines). Flathead can often be caught in deep flowing areas and behind large snags.