Blue Cypress Lake (Everything That You Need to Know)
The St. Johns River, which runs more than 300 miles north to Jacksonville and the Atlantic Ocean, is said to have its headwaters in Lake Blue Cypress. The majority of the 21 miles of coastline, which is encircled by 29,000 acres of marshes, swamps, and cypress trees, is owned by the St. Johns River Water Management District. The lake is 3 miles in width and 7 miles length.
The region is a part of the district’s 150,000-acre reclamation project, which aims to restore wetlands and undo decades of pollution. One of the cleanest lakes in the St. Johns District is Lake Blue Cypress. Two boat launches, a floating dock, parking, two covered pavilions, primitive camping, canoeing, hiking, bathrooms, and showers are all available at the Indian River County Park on the lake’s western shore.
What is Blue Cypress Lake?
You would anticipate that the reddish-brown and green trees in Blue Cypress Lake would be painted blue. These oddly formed members of the cypress family, which are not blue, have conical “knees,” expanded trunks at the base, and grow to heights of 130 feet.
This Lake is home to a large population of these fish-eating hawk and eagle relatives. Ospreys are commonly mistaken for Bald Eagles owing to their white heads. A full-grown adult measures 23 inches in length and has wingspan of more than 5 feet.
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Village of Lake Blue Cypress
The only neighborhood made up entirely of cabins, mobile homes, and a few stilt houses is Blue Cypress Village, which is situated close to Middleton’s on the west side of the lake. These weekend getaways serve as a base camp for those looking for large fish and those trying to avoid the congestion on the coastlines.
Can you try fishing at the lake?
The lake is just 8 to 9 feet deep on average, which encourages a lot of aquatic flora to flourish. Although these water conditions are not the best for swimmers, they provide fantastic opportunity for bass fisherman. Lake Blue Cypress is a fisherman’s paradise, as fishermen will be happy to tell you. Some of the purest water in Florida provides the ideal habitat for bluegill, catfish, chain pickerel, crappie, largemouth bass, shell crackers, and warmouth.
The biggest largemouth bass ever caught at the lake, which is well recognized as one of Florida’s top destinations for bass, was an astonishing 18 pounds, 2 ounces in weight. It makes sense given that the lake’s modest depths are ideal for lily pads, sawgrass, and submerged logs to entwine with cypress roots and provide all of the lake’s fish with the ideal habitats.
Photography at the Blue Cypress Lake
Blue Cypress Lake, which is close to Vero Beach, Florida, has received some internet attention. It takes a while to get there from Winter Springs, which is why I hadn’t done it yet. But I was up at “0 dark thirty” on Saturday for another reason. I was able to sleep in a little bit thanks to the fact that I had packed the previous evening. Additionally, I didn’t want to show there at night on my first visit. So, Kevin M. and I drove off after meeting up at his place at 5:30. On our journey down, there was a lot of fog and mist, but soon it lifted, and the clouds brought some drama to the sky.
Just after 7 a.m., we entered Blue Cypress Lake Road, but it took longer than expected since we stopped to take pictures of three otters playing in the road near the lake and wild turkeys in the fields on the west side.
We first parked close to the campsites at Middleton’s Fish Camp, but the view from the beach wasn’t very good. However, with the correct lens, a dawn photo taken from the bridge across the canal may be rather lovely. We chose to explore the lake by renting a small boat, and wow, I’m so pleased we did! We headed north and spent approximately two hours scouting the woods, beach, and birds.
It’s a beautiful setting with the still lake and cypress trees that have seen better days. Hundreds of Ospreys were also visible, and many of them were either carrying or consuming fish. There were several alligators, some of which were fairly enormous. There were also plenty of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, and they sang to us all morning. Although hawks and barred owls are known to be there, we didn’t spot any of them despite hearing an eagle and not seeing it.
Some tips for photography at the Blue Cypress Lake
The nicest cypress trees, in the opinion of the residents, are located on the west side of the lake, north and south of the canal, where Middleton’s is located. You should probably position yourself between the coastline and some of the further-off trees in order to capture the dawn. If you don’t know the lake, this can be challenging, particularly in the dark. Watch out for concealed obstacles like submerged trees that have fallen and might catch you. A safer shot may be an evening sunset taken with a telephoto lens from a little farther away if you’re on the lake later in the day.
There are a few additional sites in the region you might visit, depending on how much time you have. We passed through Joe Overstreet Road on the way home. We came across a swallow-tailed kite on the way, which I eventually managed to photograph. When we got there, we observed egrets, herons, a bobwhite, eastern meadowlarks, sandhill cranes, red-bellied woodpeckers, and other species. No success in seeing a Whooping Crane, as we had planned.
- Lenses to use
On one camera, I had a 16-35mm lens, and on the other, a 28-82mm equivalent. The 16-35 seemed a little too broad to me given the circumstances. A 24 – 70 would be great for Cypress trees and landscapes the next time I visit, in my opinion. Of course, if you want to photograph birds from a moving boat, you’ll need a stabilized telephoto lens. For some fantastic images, Kevin utilized his 70-300VR on his DX crop body.
- Best time to visit
Visit throughout the months of February through April to see ospreys breeding, nesting, and rearing their young. You may have a great view since some of the nests are quite near to the sea. Just watch not to stress out the birds.
The remainder of the year, there will still be plenty of Ospreys to shoot. Opportunities for flying pictures of these amazing birds with their prey are abundant since many of them are fishing and returning with their catch to a handy tree.
Guide to angle fishing at the Blue Cypress Lake
I won’t lie when I claim that Blue Cypress Lake is one of the world’s most stunningly gorgeous lakes. It is a natural lake situated south of Stick Marsh and Headwaters, 22 miles west of Vero Beach. The St. John’s River Water Management District is the primary landowner along this lake’s coastline. The St. John’s River really originates at the lake. The river runs north from this body of water until it reaches Jacksonville, where it joins the Atlantic Ocean. Nearly 30,000 acres of wetlands surround it. There isn’t a paddle fishing location anywhere else in the world, in my opinion.
The only sights and sounds you will encounter in a canoe or kayak, aside from the occasional boat, kayaker, or nature photographer, are those of Old Florida: the breeze rustling through Spanish moss and bald cypress trees, the chatter of young ospreys, and the responses of their parents as they search for prey to bring back to the nest. Ospreys have a safe haven in this lake. Numerous nests will most likely be seen. More than 300 fish live in the lake as a whole. Please do the right thing and leave a mother Osprey alone if you do approach a tree or group of trees to fish and you frighten them. Because they don’t want the ospreys to abandon their nests and their young, the SJRWMD has erected a notice at the location requesting that we leave if they grow angry.
There are two ramps at Middleton’s Fish Camp where you may launch your boat. They both include portions of coastline that are suitable for lowering a kayak or canoe into the water. Lilly pads have been placed over the one on the parking lot’s northern edge. When I slipped my kayak into the water on the first morning there, I startled a young alligator. The other ramp gives more beachfront area, and the water is clearer, so it’s less likely to frighten a young gator hiding down behind the lily pads. However, that ramp permits parking closer to the launch point, getting you on the lake more quickly. Additionally, there are restrooms and showers on the property. If you need ice or bait, Middleton’s Fish Camp offers both.
- Where to fish?
I usually try to fish as near to launch as I can since I’m in a kayak and have to paddle myself to the location I fish. On my first day there, I went south after exiting the main canal. Kissimmee grass predominated, with a few cypress trees strewn here and there. It was early in the morning, and I used top water presentations to catch a few fish while fishing in the grass, but nothing really noteworthy. After working this stretch, I entered a cove and began using speed worms to fish the trees, where I managed to catch a couple more dinks. I paddled back to the fish camp after fully exploring the area, had a break to stretch my legs and use the bathroom, and then I went back out on the water.
This time, I made a northward turn and continued to go another mile along the cypress tree line. After turning north out of the canal that goes to the fish camp, I weaved in and out of the many trees that are there. I caught a dozen or so fish during this most fruitful period of my lake fishing, including the 5.9-pound fish you see in the photo, which was the largest fish I had caught there in two visits. On a 10-inch ribbon tail worm, he was captured. On day two, I made a northward turn and traveled approximately three kilometers. Today was harder than yesterday. The tree line was receiving oxygenated water much as it did on my first day since it was hot and there wasn’t much breeze to move the water across the lake. The wind was blowing close to 10 MPH on my first day.
The wide lake was turbulent, but I was continuously receiving bites on the underside of the wind-blown cypress trees, where I was also gaining some wind shelter by sitting. I would advise someone who was going to kayak fish this lake for the first time to cover the water. Don’t get into rabbit holes and spend an hour walking a quarter-mile stretch since there may be fish on every tree. Lee moved before flipping and climbing the tree. Lift it and pull it off once it reaches the bottom, then pick it up and move. I believe that this is the most effective method for catching them in large numbers.
Now you know what to expect at the Blue Cypress Lake. Make your travel plans to visit the lake based on this. Then you can end up with getting a bunch of outstanding experiences at the lake.