Largemouth Bass regulations change on Karick Lake

A largemouth bass catch-and-release regulation – implemented as a way to create a trophy bass lake for Karick Lake in Okaloosa County isn’t working and no longer will be on the books after July 1, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologists say.

The regulation has been in place for six years. The regulation on the 65-acre lake will change to statewide bass fishing rules. Anglers can keep up to five bass per day that are 12 inches and larger. Only one fish can measure 22 inches or larger.

When the catch-and-release only rule was adopted July 1, 2000, by FWC for Karick Lake, fisheries biologists said they believed it would turn the lake into a trophy largemouth bass fishery, drawing fishermen from throughout the southeast.

“What we did was create an overabundance of bass 15 inches and less and few bass that were 18 inches and larger,” Bob Demauro, fisheries biologist, said. “It was a good idea but it just didn’t work.”

Karick Lake is eight miles north of Baker, off State Road 189 in the Blackwater River State Forest. It’s the smallest and one of four FWC-managed lakes in the area.