Fellsmere Water Management Area

About this property

The Fellsmere Water Management Area (FWMA), is an important floodplain restoration feature in the heart of the Upper St. Johns River Basin. The property where this 10,000-acre reservoir now sits was acquired to provide various watershed functions: stormwater storage and treatment, water supply, and reducing harmful freshwater discharges to the Indian River Lagoon. This property offers outstanding aquatic habitats teeming with fish and wildlife, and supports a multitude of recreational opportunities, including world-class bass fishing, waterfowl hunting, wildlife observation and boating.

Special highlights of the property include Headwaters Lake at the northern end of FWMA and the Headwaters Boat Ramp. A navigation channel at the southwest corner of Headwaters Lake provides direct access to Egan Lake, an expansive water body featuring open water, herbaceous marsh and wet prairie.

Prior to flooding Headwaters Lake, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) projects sculpted Headwaters Lake and Egan Lake’s marsh bottom to improve fish and wildlife habitat. FWC stocking efforts enhanced healthy sportfish populations. Flocks of migratory waterfowl forage in the marshes during winter months. Threatened and endangered species rely on the mosaic of habitats.

Wildlife viewing

Please respect Florida’s wildlife and use caution while visiting district lands. These are wild animals. For your safety, do not approach or feed any wild animal. The eastern portion of the area contains foraging and nesting habitat for the listed snail kite. Wetland-dependent species found here include great blue herons, white ibis, snowy egrets, limpkins and night herons. Other species include wood storks, ospreys and bald eagles.

Recreational activities

Wildlife viewing, fishing, seasonal hunting, bicycling and hiking along many miles of levees, canoeing and boating.

Outside of the access canals, FWMA contains a mixture of habitats, which combined with varying water levels create shallow water obstacles. Vessel speed shall not exceed 25 mph. The area’s access canals are narrow with blind corners and are vulnerable to erosion from boat wakes. The speed limit within designated portions of canals will be “idle speed,” no wake.

Access

West of Fellsmere, motorized watercraft access is from the Headwaters Boat Ramp. Non-motorized access to the L-75 levee and a non-motorized watercraft launch are available at the Fellsmere Grade Recreation Area (Stick Marsh parking lot).

Please note:

  • Recreational and commercial use of airboats is prohibited.
  • Public access is prohibited along FWMA’s eastern levee and southern interior levee. Public access is also prohibited to the privately owned “island property” separating Egan and Headwaters lakes.
  • Parking outside of designated spots, including on the Fellsmere Grade, is prohibited.
  • Additional parking is available at the Fellsmere Grade Recreation Area (Stick Marsh boat ramp). Paddle craft may continue to launch off the levee in the northwest corner of Headwaters Lake accessed at the Stick Marsh parking area.
  • For everyone’s safety and enjoyment, please follow the posted signs and social distancing guidelines.