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.
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.