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Lake Iamonia, a 5,757 acre lake located northeast of Tallahassee, is a shallow lake with an average depth of 5 feet. Shallow depths, in combination with some of the local wildlife, strongly discourage swimming, yet provide opportunities for other recreational activities.
Lake Iamonia (pronounced Ammonia) derives its name from the Seminole Indian town "Hiamonee" which was located on the banks of the Ochlockonee River. Lake Iamonia is a prairie lake, which means a shallow lake that empties naturally during dry periods, allowing plants to flourish on the nutrient-rich lake bottom. Prairie lakes eventually return to their watery state when wetter conditions prevail. Prairie lakes often have sinkholes, and Lake Iamonia is no exception. A dam was built in 1938 to prevent the lake's water from flowing into the natural sinkhole. However, by 1980 the dam was declared unsafe by the Northwest Florida Water Management District, so the gates were raised to let nature take its course. The gates were removed in 2007. Naturally fluctuating water levels are now considered the healthiest fish environments. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has used dry periods on Lake Iamonia to remove sediment from the bottom. About twice a year water from the Ochlockonee River spills into the western portion of Lake Iamonia.
Fishing Lake Iamonia is a popular pastime, and the lake specializes in prize catches of bluegill, black crappie, and largemouth bass. Shallow depths allow for aquatic plant growth, providing the ideal living conditions for the myriad fish that live beneath the clear waters. Hiding among reeds and lurking below lily pads, the fish have found a habitat rich in nutrients and hiding places. So drop your line into Lake Iamonia, drift as close to the reeds as you dare, and get ready to fill the skillet with savory fish caught right here at the lake.
When you're not fishing, the next best thing at Lake Iamonia is a lazy day of drifting along in a canoe or kayak, camera in hand, ready to frame the next best nature shot. White-tailed deer walk through the trees, stopping occasionally to investigate a sudden sound. Turkeys make their way through yards and across streets, making as much of a raucous as they can muster. And, of course, a site that you will never forget is a giant alligator, sunning itself on the lake's shore or with his head sticking a few inches out of the water, eyes following every movement.
Nature lovers further enjoy a jaunt out to Kate Ireland County Park, where the Van Brunt Landing is located. Providing visitors with picnicking facilities, public restrooms, nature trails, and a boat ramp, this is a perfect place to begin a day packed with outdoor fun. Walk through the park on one of the various walking paths, and you will find yourself face-to-face with some of northern Florida's most brilliant flowers and greenest trees. When you've tired yourself out a bit, circle back to the main camp grounds and sit down to enjoy a cool drink and a packed lunch with your fellow picnickers. And after you've satiated your stomach's cravings, take a kayak out onto the lake to get a better look at the area's wildlife.
When the day is done and you're back in your temporary home, pull up a chair to the nearest window and watch as the sky treats you to a spectacular sunset over the rippling evening waters, for this is a sight you won't soon forget.
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