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The flatwoods of the Osceola National Forest contain a surprising variety of fishing opportunities. From your boat or the banks, fishing your national forest can be enjoyable for you and your family.

Ocean Pond

The most popular fishing area on the forest is Ocean Pond. Rimmed with cypress trees this sandy bottomed, natural lake offers excellent fishing for largemouth bass, bluegill, warmouth and crappie.

The Olustee Beach Recreation Area has a picnic pavilion, bathhouse and a boat ramp. A fishing pier extending along the boat ramp has access for the disabled visitor.  Hog Pen Landing, off Forest Service Road 241, has a boat ramp and chemical toilets. This location is very popular with canoes, kayaks and local fishing boats. 

Borrow Pits

Located throughout the forest are constructed ponds, or borrow pits. These ponds range from 1 to 10 acres in size and several are managed for fishing.

Generally, access to the ponds is limited to unimproved roads that can be muddy or flooded after it rains. Water levels vary depending upon seasonal conditions.  Johnboats or canoes will take you to deeper areas not accessible from the shoreline, but you may need to carry your boat to the water's edge. There are no facilities at the ponds.


The flatwoods are longleaf and slash pine ridges interspersed with bay and cypress-hardwood swamps. Some swamps drain into slow moving, shallow creeks that meander through the forest.  Several bridges span deeper creeks which are popular for cane-pole fishing.

Fishing Regulations

Fishing and frogging are allowed throughout the year. A Florida fishing license is required for all fisherman between the ages of 16 and 65. Licenses are available at your county courthouse and at some local stores. If you are in the county of your residence, you may use up to three cane poles without a fishing license. For additional information contact your local Game Commission.

Please Be Careful

  • Bury human waste 4 to 6 inches deep and at least 100 feet from water.
  • Damaging vegetation around pond edges causes erosion.
  • Never harm or waste wildlife.
  • Use downed wood for fires.
  • Pack out your trash.

Fishing Hints

Fish attractors can be artificial or naturally occurring and serve to concentrate fish at all times of the year. Emergent grasses, bulrush and cowlilies serve as natural fish attractors. Areas of sunken brush have been placed in Ocean Pond and in other managed fish ponds. Floating buoys mark these attractors in Ocean Pond.

  • Largemouth bass can frequently be caught when they move into shallow water to spawn in the spring. Smaller schooling- sized bass are more frequently caught during the summer. These fish respond exceptionally well to plastic worms, topwater floater-divers, spoons and spinners.
  • Bluegill and Redear Sunfish are caught best when they spawn around cypress trees or shallow water. Adult fish are found in deeper areas in the summer. They respond well to crickets, grass shrimp and worms. Fly fishing is often successful.
  • Warmouth fishing is best around cypress trees and submerged plants in shallow areas. They respond well to cane poles with grass shrimp, earthworms and minnows.
  • Black crappie (speckled perch) fishing is especially good during the winter and early spring when the fish are spawning. They respond well to trolling or drifting minnows, jigs and small spinners. Cane-pole fishing with minnows is a commonly used technique.
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