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Lake Hell 'n Blazes, Hellen Blazes or Helen Blazes, is the source of the St. Johns River, located in Brevard County, Florida, United States, about 10 miles (16 km) southwest of Melbourne. The lake is 260 acres (110 ha) in area, and is at the head of the St. Johns River.[1]

Lake Hell 'n Blazes
LocationBrevard County, Florida
Coordinates28°01′16″N 80°47′37″W / 28.021130°N 80.793669°W / 28.021130; -80.793669Coordinates: 28°01′16″N 80°47′37″W / 28.021130°N 80.793669°W / 28.021130; -80.793669
Basin countriesUnited States
Surface area381 acres (154 ha)

The name "Hell 'n Blazes" has been attributed to the words used by early 20th century fishermenmen while trying to navigate through floating islands, and to the formerly remote location of the lake. The variants "Hellen Blazes" and "Helen Blazes" have been used as euphemisms.[1][2]

The lake originally was in a marshy floodplain that was 10 to 20 miles (16 to 32 km) wide. As agriculture expanded into the floodplain, canals were dug draining into the lake, and the marshes were reduced to just 3 miles (4.8 km) wide near the lake. Heavy rainfall sends large quantities of polluted water into the lake. The lake had been reputed to be one of the best bass-fishing lakes in Florida, but was in decline by the 1970s. Bass stopped spawning in the lake, and rarely entered it. In 1992 the lake was cloged with hydrilla and water hyacinth.[3] By 1994 drainage had left the lake with only a foot or two of water, grounding the floating islands it was known for.[2]

A 1992 report to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission concluded that dredging accumulated sediment from the lake bottom would restore the bass fishery in the lake. As of 2006 no funding had been approved for a dredging project.[4]

The nearby Helen Blazes archaeological site is named for the lake.


  1. ^ a b Wright 2006, p. 46.
  2. ^ a b Thomas 1994.
  3. ^ Wright 2006, pp. 46–48.
  4. ^ Wright 2006, p. 48, 55–56.


  • Thomas, Mike (January 9, 1994). "The Lady Of The Lake Is Not So Ladylike". tribunedigital-orlandosentinel. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
  • Wright, Leroy (2006). Saving the St. Johns River: One Person Made a Difference. Dog Ear Publishing. ISBN 9781598582390.
  • U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Lake Hellen Blazes