Guana Dam - North Side

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Written by

Sadie Frederick

Destination Distance From Downtown

172.2 miles


2 of 5 diamonds


Time To Complete

2 hours or more


Guana State Park has one of the most unique environments in North Florida; with as many as 44 species of mammals and several species of reptile and bird life, Guana has some of the most beautiful paddling North Florida has to offer. The winding Guana river has seven miles of tributaries and varied Florida landscapes.

The North Side of Guana Dam is a diverse location for flat-water paddling. It contains the southern majority of "Guana Lake", a unique saltwater lake that is created by the park staff letting water into the area on select high tides before shutting it off. The lake provides for excellent fishing as the fish pass through and get trapped inside once the north area fills up.

Guana Dam has a $3.00 launch fee and you need exact change because there is no attendant at the gate. The north side of the Dam has a ramp and sandy beach type launch area (large enough for several kayaks) where you can launch and head north up Guana Lake. Watch out for people fishing off the dam and stay clear of their casting space.

The dam area has full bathrooms and there are two places with water spigots and hoses to rinse off your gear.

FISH SPECIES AND TECHNIQUES:  Guana Lake is well known for some very large redfish and black drum.  Many trout reach "gator trout" size too! Flounder are usually found closer to the dam.  The fish are nearly land-locked in the lake and have no reason to leave when the dam wickets occasionally open.  They have no reason to leave and the lake is full of blue crabs, mullet, and ladyfish so they eat well and get big. 

Guana River has those same species but they generally run smaller than the Lake.  Since it is saltwater, there are some bluefish and sharks caught there, and I have seen tarpon there on four different trips. 

Topwater and shallow sub-surface lures work well early and late in the day on trout and redfish.

Float rigs with Gulp! or curly tailed plastics are good to troll and find where the fish are located, and light weight jigheads get down to the redfish and big black drum are feeding.    

CAUTION: There are alligators in Guana State Park. They are more aggressive during breeding season, which takes place in the spring. The alligators are found more often in the northern part of Guana Lake (Northern part that is north of the dam).

To get there from Jacksonville, head south on A1A through Ponte Vedra Beach.  The entrance to the park is about past Mickler's , and you'll see a sign for the park 1000 feet before the entrance on the right.


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Guana Dam - North Side

Jacksonville, FL, 32082
30.026838, -81.330886

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