Drawdown for Karick Lake Fish Management Area supports bass conservation and habitat management

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is partnering with the Florida Forest Service and Aquatic Habitat Restoration/Enhancement Section to conduct a full renovation of Karick Lake Fish Management Area in Okaloosa County. The agency began releasing water July 13 for a complete drawdown.

This renovation is to improve fish habitat and balance the largemouth bass population. A full drawdown will allow for the aeration and consolidation of organic muck deposits that result from the natural aging of reservoirs, thus improving fish habitat and natural production for fish food organisms.

While the lake is down, structural habitat will be installed in the lake bed and maintenance will be performed on the dam and water control structure. Once water has been returned to the lake, it will be re-stocked to provide a balanced fish community.

Fishing will be permitted while water is being drained from the lake, however access to the lake bed is prohibited. Unstable substrate exposed as the lake drains presents a hazard to individuals attempting to traverse it. Vehicles are not permitted on the dam or fishing fingers.

For the duration of the project, campgrounds and hiking trails surrounding the lake will remain open to the public. Hurricane and Bear lakes are both located on the Blackwater River State Forest and provide ample fishing opportunities within easy travelling distances from the Karick Lake campgrounds.

For more information about this project, email Neil Branson at Neil.Branson@MyFWC.com.