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J&S Fish Camp (Chancy Bay Recreation Area) Boat Ramp

J&S Fish Camp (Chancy Bay Recreation Area) Boat Ramp J&S Fish Camp sits aside Lake Okeechobee in Okeechobee. There are cabins, boat rentals, and even a tavern here, but we visited specifically to use the boat ramp. The boat ramp's formal name is "Chancy Bay Recreation Area" but everyone knows it as it's decades-old name of J&S Fish Camp.

The Chancy Bay Recreation Area boat ramp is open to the public, so we gave it a try last weekend, in early February. The were about ten other bass boat trailers already there, but there's plenty of parking. The ramp itself is a little short, but we didn't have a problem with it. From this ramp you can putt around the rim canal for a while, or lock through the J&S Lock (S-135) to the lake itself, as we did. The lock just recently reopened (February 2011), and I guess will close when Lake Okeechobee drops to 10 ft, so it's not a year-round option. With the lake depth at 12.5', the lakeside area immediately outside of the lock, leading to deeper water, was less than a foot and a half deep. After hitting bottom many times, we were able to move into deeper water. We crossed Lake Okeechobee and went to the Taylor Creek Lock (S-193) and then went for a ride down Taylor Creek.

All in all, it was a fairly boring boating experience - it's not like there's anything to see on the Lake, and there won't be any dolphins popping up to surprise you, and Taylor Creek was lined with trailer parks and decrepit home docks. Lake Okeechobee is for bass fishing, period, and isn't really marketed to boaters like us, who just like to drive around and see things, so we weren't really expecting more. We'd just never been to the Lake, and never locked, and it was worth doing once. And we did learn something: even if it's supposed to be warm, it's only February, so bring a jacket.

The parking area for the Chancy Bay / J&S Fish Camp ramp is also a parking area for the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail (LOST), as this is the Chancy Bay Access Area, a trailhead that is part of the Florida Trail system.

Location:

9500 SW Conners Hwy
Okeechobee FL 34974
772-597-4455

Web site:

www.jsfishcamp.com


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