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It is early morning. Dawn is just a promise on the horizon when he loads his gear into the boat. Even north central Florida is cool this early in the morning and he's fortified himself with a thermos of coffee. Quietly, he steers his boat across Bream Lake looking for a sweet spot -- the perfect place to catch the bream that give the lake its name. He casts and waits, sipping coffee and living the age-old adage that any day spent fishing is a good day. After fishing, there's always swimming, paddling, bird watching and then dinner in nearby Hawthorne. He's daydreaming about sunset from the deck of the house he chose from a list of the lake's vacation rentals when the first fish strikes.
Bream Lake is in Putnam County near the border of Alachua County. The natural spring-fed lake has a sandy bottom and very clean water. At 164 acres, it is small but still has enough water to boat, jet ski and water ski. The lake is surrounded by private land and residences and there is no public boat ramp. In fact, the only public access is through a large culvert tunnel linking Bream Lake to Holden Pond. Surrounded by Alachua County-run Holden Park, Holden Pond has a public boat ramp, and the tunnel is large enough for all but pontoon boats to pass through.
It is worth a little extra effort to get a boat on the water at Bream Lake. The lake is relatively unknown, but locals know it as a fantastic lake for bass and crappie. In addition to the lake's bream, there are also abundant populations of catfish. Anglers can fish for bass and crappie year round, and the bream fishing is best in the late spring through late summer.
Both Lochloosa Lake and Orange Lake are an easy drive from Bream Lake. Together they offer boaters and anglers almost 20,000 acres of water. Orange Lake and Lochloosa Lake are connected by Cross Creek. Made famous by American novelist Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Cross Creek is the home of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historical State Park. Both the Lochloosa Wildlife Conservation Area and the Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park are a short drive from the lake and provide visitors to Bream Lake with a chance to see wildlife and birds. Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park encompasses over 21,000 acres and is home to bison, alligators, wild horses, and over 270 species of birds. Trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding provide access to the park, and overnight camping is also available.
The Cross Florida region is spattered with lakes. Bream Lake is a few miles from Hawthorne, which has over 400 bodies of water within ten miles of the town. Hawthorne itself boasts shops, restaurants, and various accommodations. Visitors to Hawthorne can stroll under the majestic live oaks and past Spanish moss-draped cypress. Lakefront real estate for sale is available around many of the area's plentiful lakes.
Secluded Bream Lake is full of fish, and its quiet waters make it the perfect place to relax. It's close enough to Hawthorne, Gainesville and the larger lakes of Alachua County to provide easy access to all north central Florida has to offer. Come and see for yourself what a vacation to Bream Lake feels like.
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