Walton County fishing report for April 25

Fishing is good

Surf: Pompano.

Bay: Lots of redfish and some trout being caught..

River: River is still high. A few crappie, shellcracker, and catfish.

Ponds: Bass being caught on shiners.

Click here for fishing forecast

Bay and river report brought to you by Copeland’s. “Where the locals shop and the tourists are welcome.”

Click here to find out more about Copeland’s.
Copeland’s Gun and Tackle Shop
17290 U.S. Hwy. 331 S
Freeport, Florida 32439
(850) 835-4277
Store hours:
Mon. – Fri.: 6 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Sat.: 6 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sun.: Closed

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Walton County hosting fixed price yard sale in DeFuniak Springs May 13

In an effort to rid the county of surplus items and free up space in county facilities, Walton County will be hosting a fixed price yard sale on Saturday, May 13, from 7 – 10 am at the County Landfill located north of DeFuniak Springs off Highway 83 North.

The fixed price sale may include furniture, computers, monitors, collectibles, antiques, beach equipment, sporting goods, tools and construction items and much more. This sale does not include vehicles.

Items that will be sold at the yard sale include items that the county has surplused that are no longer used or needed by the County, as well as items that are collected through the County’s recycling program at the landfill.

The landfill gates will open at 6:30am to facilitate parking, however entrance to the sale will not be allowed until 7am.

The following rules will be in place for this event:

  • The County will not be holding a pre-sale viewing.
  • Items must be paid for with Cash or local check.
  • All items will be sold on a first come, first serve basis.
  • All items are priced as marked and will not be negotiated.
  • All items are purchased as is and contain no County liability or warranty.
  • All purchased items must be removed from the grounds following purchase. (Assistance with loading will be provided)
  • All sales will be final.
  • All items must be paid for at time of sale and cannot be held.
  • Stockpiling of merchandise will not be permitted.

In addition to the County’s ongoing public auction program, these fixed price sales give the County an additional to opportunity to offer their surplus items to the public for purchase.

If you should have any questions, please contact the County’s Public Information Department at 850-892-8155.

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Choctawhatchee Audubon Society May 2017 events

4 May: Monthly Meeting and Presentation: “Gopher Tortoise Biology and Conservation” By Erica Laine, Wildlife Biologist, Eglin AFB Natural Resources. Eglin AFB has recently undertaken a large project to provide habitat for tortoises displaced by commercial development in other regions of Florida. Ms Laine will describe the scope of the project and the importance that the gopher has to Eglin’s ongoing habitat/wildlife restoration programs.

The meeting will be held in Room 130 of the student services building (Bldg 400) at the Northwest Florida State College – Niceville campus. Socializing begins at 6:30 PM and the program at 7:00 PM. Admission is free and open to the public. Call or e-mail Dr. Don Baltz at (225) 252-2760, [email protected] for more information. Please visit our website at Choctawhatcheeaudubon.org. and our Facebook page at Choctawhatchee Audubon Society.

6 May Field Trip: Okaloosa Landfill. The County landfill north of Wright offers one of the more interesting opportunities to see a variety of birdlife practically in our backyard. Bruce Purdy will lead this excursion. Meet at Pepitos, 1313 Lewis Turner Blvd at 7:30 AM on Saturday the 6th. Wear closed toed shoes, bring binoculars and a camera. Contact Bruce at (305) 926-6030 for more information. Visit our website at Choctawhatcheeaudubon.org and Facebook page at Choctawhatchee Audubon Society.

13 May Field Trip: Join Malcolm Mark Swan and search for Red-cockaded Woodpeckers and Bachman’s Sparrows on Eglin Reservation. You must obtain a reservation permit to participate. These can be obtained at Jackson Guard or online at Eglin.gov. Meet at the Armament Museum Parking Lot at 7AM on the 13th. Contact Malcolm at (210) 343-9082 for more information. Please visit our website at Choctawhatcheeaudubon.org and Facebook page at Choctawhatchee Audubon Society.

20 May Field Trip: Visit Bay County Audubon’s Laidlaw Plantation to see a diverse collection of birdlife and restoration efforts by the chapter to restore this 400 Acre tract. Meet at the CVS parking lot in Oak Creek Shopping Plaza in Niceville at 7AM and caravan to Laidlaw in Holmes County. Bring a sack lunch and wear sturdy shoes. Contact Ron Houser, Bay County Audubon at (850) 381-5651 for details. Please visit our website at Choctawhatcheeaudubon.org and Facebook page at Choctawhatchee Audubon Society.

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Paddle, swim, fish or cave dive at Merritt’s Mill Pond in Marianna

Entrance to the Jackson Blue cave at Merritt’s Mill Pond. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Spring fed pond a natural wonder to explore

What do Jackson Blue, Shangri-la, Twin Caves, Indian Wash Tub, Hole-in-the-Wall, Gator Hole, and Hidey Hole have in common? They are all names of springs feeding into the crystal clear waters of beautiful Merritt’s Mill Pond in Jackson County.

Located just east of Marianna, Merritt’s Mill Pond is actually a 202-acre reservoir fed mostly by one spring named Blue Spring or Jackson Blue. Considered to be one of the most beautiful springs to explore by divers, Jackson Blue’s main vent is a limestone cave close to 5,000 ft. in length. It is a first magnitude spring, discharging an average of about 76 million gallons a day, and is the head waters of Merritt’s Mill pond.

Several smaller springs feed into the four-mile long pond, creating a haven wildlife viewing as you explore on your kayak, canoe, stand up paddle board or boat.

Cypress trees draped in Spanish moss. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Towering stands of cypress trees draped with Spanish moss are scattered throughout the pond along with oak leaf hydrangea and ferns dotting the limestone rocks along the banks. A variety of birds can be viewed such as herons, cormorants, ibis, kingfisher and cave dwelling black vultures. Turtles are a common sight as they often sunbathe on old floating logs.

There are three main accesses points to Merritt’s Mill Pond. A boat ramp located off of Hunter Fish Camp Road, a park maintained by Jackson County named Blue Springs Recreation Area and Arrowhead Campground at the southern end of the pond. The boat ramp has adequate parking and easy access for boats and paddlers. Blue Springs Recreation Area boasts picnic tables, playground, volleyball court, rest rooms and a designated swimming area with lifeguards during the summer season.

Blue Springs Map download.

Interested in diving at Merritt’s Mill Pond?
Cave Adventurers offers diver equipment for rent along with pontoon rentals. They also offer lodging geared for divers on Merritt’s Mill Pond. To learn more, click here and Hole in The Wall House.

Shangri-La spring on Merritt’s Mill Pond. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

To dive Jackson Blue you will need to sign in at Cave Adventurers and pay a fee of $25 for first the day, $10 for all consecutive days and $150 for annual pass.

How to get there:
Merritt’s Mill Pond is accessible off US 90 in Marianna by taking SR 71 north 1.1 miles to SR 164. For the boat ramp, go 1.8 miles and then south on Hunter Fish Camp Rd. to the ramp. To get to the Blue Springs Recreation Area, continue on SR 164 to Blue Springs Road and turn right.

Merritt’s Mill Pond is renowned for its trophy redear (shellcracker) fishing. The pond currently holds the State record for shellcracker at 4.86 pounds and until recently held the world record fish.

More than forty years ago the federal government owned the Blue Springs site and operated an officer’s club for members of Graham Air Force Base.

Blue Springs Recreation Area: 
Open Memorial Day through Labor Day
5461 Blue Springs Road, Marianna, Florida 32446
Telephone: (850) 482-2114 Alternate: (850) 718-0437
For off season rentals contact the Parks Dept. at: (850) 718-5210 
Open 7 days a week 11a.m. – 6 p.m. (CST) through Aug. Then weekends through Labor Day
Holidays 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Admission Fee: $4.00 per person
Seasonal passes and kayak/canoe rentals click here.

Camping: Arrowhead Campsites/RV Park 
4820 US Highway 90, East 
Marianna, Florida 32446 Phone: 850-482-5583

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Old Nick’s Redfish Round Up tournament May 20

The Old Nick’s Redfish Round Up is the “Largest Redfish Tournament on the Gulf Coast,” held each year in May, along the waters of Choctawhatchee Bay in the Panhandle of Florida. For the 12th year in a row, Nick’s Seafood Restaurant and Treylermade Tournaments will bring hundreds of Anglers from all over the southeast to participate in this highly anticipated, one-day inshore fishing tournament.

The 12th Annual Old Nick’s Redfish Round Up will be held on Saturday, May 20, 2017, and will host a $12,500 TOTAL PAYOUT to the winning team or teams of each division.

To view/print the rules, regulations, and team entry information, please visit – www.nicksseafoodrestaurant.com/tournaments or visit Nick’s Seafood Restaurant at 7585 HWY 20 WEST, Freeport, FL 32439.

A portion of the proceeds from this fishing tournament will benefit healthy local waterways via the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA). For more information about CBA and their mission, please visit – www.basinalliance.org.

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Benefit Smile Mile and 5K race May 20

Date/time: Saturday, May 20, 8 a.m.

Children’s Volunteer Health Network (CVHN) will host their inaugural Smile Mile and 5K Race presented by St. Joe Community Foundation. The race will take place at 8 a.m. with staggered flight start times on Saturday, May 20, 2017 at Watercolor’s Marina Park in Santa Rosa Beach.

Registration is available before the race online and on the day of the race beginning at 7 or click here for advanced registration.

The “Smile Mile – The Fastest Mile on 30A” start time is 8 am at Marina Park in Watercolor. Runners go West on Western Lake, turn right on Buttercup, right onto on 30A. Loop back to make 1 mile course.
The 5K start time is 8:30 am at Marina Park in Watercolor. Runners go West on Western Lake, turn right on Buttercup, right onto on 30A. Loop back to make 5K course.
Online registration is $20 for a Child and $40 for an Adult. Registration after May 1 is $25 for a Child and $45 for an Adult.

Stay for the post race festivities including the Ohana Institute Bands, Max McCann, food, beverages, Epic Photo Co. booth sponsored by Duckies Shop of Fun ~ Seaside, FL and Mercantile ~ Seaside, FL, kids entertainment, prizes and more.

Come celebrate on Friday Night, May 19th, at the CVHN Birthday Bash at The Bellamy of 30A from 6-9 pm. Pick up your race packet, enjoy music, heavy hors d’oeuvres and food for the kids sponsored by Brotula’s Seafood House & Steamer, Jackacuda’s Seafood & Sushi and Cuvée Kitchen + Wine Bar, and more.

All proceeds benefit Children’s Volunteer Health Network.

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