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Holmes Creek

    Holmes Creek is a spring fed flow starting in southeast Alabama that crosses into Florida and opens up into one of the most popular canoe trails in the panhandle before dumping into the Choctawhatchee River.  The upper stretches of Holmes Creek, nearly impossible to navigate in even the smallest of watercraft due to many blow downs, has high banks and many sand bars.  The lower section, beginning in the town of Vernon, Florida, opens up through low-lying swampland. 

    Although several bridge crossings in Florida make this small flow look appetizing to river fishermen, the first real launch site begins just north of Vernon at Cotton Landing. This is the first of around 10 public launches that Florida River Fishing is aware of on its’ way to the Choctawhatchee.

    Canoeists and fishermen alike will enjoy passing by Cypress Springs (home of Nestle water bottling) and Becton Springs.  This two locations offer a great place to cool off in the summer time and keep this river full of water in even some of the worst drought conditions. 

    Holmes Creek goes from having a nice stain after a good rain to crystal clear in the upper reaches during the summer time and rarely muddies up.  The current is rarely strong except after a strong storm, making Holmes Creek a great location for a paddle up, fish down at any one of its’ numerous boat launches.

    Fishing on Holmes Creek can be excellent or it can be extremely difficult.  Most of the locals say the creek is either “hot” or “cold” and Florida River Fishing has found the same thing to be true.  Due to its’ spings, Holmes Creek can be an excellent location to fish after a cold front due to the water temperature staying about the same, especially in the upper stretches.  It also is a great choice on extremely hot days and extremely cold days. 

    Largemouth bass fishing is good on Holmes Creek.  The bass seem to prefer white or natural colored lures thrown to many of the vegetation and blow downs along the river.  Spotted bass fishing, which can be good on even the toughest of days, enthusiasts will not be disappointing throwing crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and buzzbaits in the current around bends.  The topwater bite (buzzbaits, skitterwalkers, poppers, etc) have had success almost year round and are especially deadly in the summer and fall months.  Even in the heat of the day, throw a white buzzbait at some structure by current and hang on.

    Redbreasts, shellcracker, and bream fishing seem to be king on Holmes Creek.  Most other fishermen on Holmes Creek seem to be targeting this feisty fish with worms and crickets.

    While this FRFer has not attempted it yet, mullet fishing appears to be popular past time on Holmes Creek.  Bass fishermen can see numerous people “snagging” the seemingly thousands of mullet that are cruising by in schools in the summer and fall months.

    Holmes Creek is a great place to take a beginner to river fishing.  The slow current, beautiful scenery, and open places to fish make this a favorite destination for the novice and experienced fishermen alike.

     If you do not have a water craft, that is no problem on Holmes Creek.  All you need to do is head to the town of Vernon, FL and visit the Holmes Creek Canoe Livery.  Give owner/operator Hal a call (850-210-7001 or 850-956-2074) and he will get you set up.  The canoe livery offers canoe rentals, tube rentals, and shuttle and guide services all along Holmes Creek and even on the Choctawahatchee River. They offer half day and full day trips.

 

 
 

Holmes Links:

Current River Level

Holmes Creek Map with access points

Paddling.net Holmes trip report