For the boat traveler, Lake Okeechobee and the Okeechobee Waterway are quite a transition from the pace of busy coastal cities to the tranquility of Florida's heartland. The Okeechobee Waterway is 152 miles in length from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean and divided into three distinctive sections: the Caloosahatchee River, Lake Okeechobee, and the St. Lucie Canal. The Caloosahatchee River (76.6 miles) is the most scenic part of the waterway thanks to off channel oxbows of the old river. On Lake Okeechobee, the captain has the choice of two routes for crossing. The first route is an open-water crossing (39 miles) and the second route (50 miles) follows the shoreline before entering a tree protected rim canal.
The Corps of Engineers manages five navigation locks and five boat ramps along the waterway at: St. Lucie South Recreation Area, Ortona North Recreation Area, W. P. Franklin South and North Recreation Areas, and Port Mayaca. Non-camper fishing is restricted to the pier at W.P. Franklin North Campground. In addition, boat ramps managed by other organizations are located along the waterway and around the lake.
Lake Okeechobee and the Okeechobee Waterway has a reputation for excellent fishing. More than 60 species of fish are found in the lake. The most sought-after are the Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, and the famous Okeechobee Catfish, and Black Crappie, locally known as "specks." Fishing enthusiasts who travel the waterway may also find salt water species such as Tarpon and Snook near the W.P. Franklin Lock and the St. Lucie Lock.