17 Best Bass Lakes in the US: Anglers Ultimate Guide

Bass fishing has long been a favorite pastime for anglers across the United States, with many seeking out the best lakes to maximize their chances of reeling in a big one. 

Whether chasing largemouth bass or smallmouth bass, numerous lakes nationwide have earned a reputation for being among the best bass lakes in the US. 

From the Great Lakes to smaller bodies of water, here are some top spots for bass fishing enthusiasts to consider for their next trip.

Some of the most renowned bass fishing destinations include Clear Lake in Northern California, Lake Erie bordering several states, Lake Okeechobee in Florida, and Lake St. Clair in Michigan. 

Another well-regarded location is New York’s Lake Champlain, which offers largemouth and smallmouth bass, northern pike, yellow perch, and various trout species. The trophy-sized bass in these lakes are a testament to their abundant fish populations and excellent angler access.

Seasonal factors play a significant role in determining the best time to visit these bass hotspots, as catch rates tend to fluctuate depending on water levels and temperature. 

Consulting current tournament data and state fishery, information can help bass anglers plan their trip strategically and increase their chances of success. 

These lakes offer excellent bass fishing opportunities, making them must-visit destinations for any serious bass angler searching for their next record-breaking catch.

Best Bass Lakes in the US

Sea Gull Soaring over Lake Guntersville in Alabama
Lake Guntersville

1. Lake Guntersville, Alabama

Lake Guntersville is a premier destination for bass fishing in the United States. Known for its abundant largemouth bass population, it is spread across 69,000 acres of water. 

Anglers can expect high catch rates and a chance at state-record catches in the deep waters of this lake. The best time to fish at Lake Guntersville is early morning or late afternoon.

Largest Bass Caught on Lake Guntersville

The largest largemouth bass caught on Lake Guntersville was a whopping 14.5 pounds on February 21, 1990. The largest smallmouth bass was caught in 2010 and weighed 5.85 pounds.

SpecificsLake Guntersville Information
LocationAlabama, USA
Coordinates34.4208° N, 86.2094° W
Area69,100 acres (279.6 km²)
Max Depth75 feet (23 m)
Shoreline Length949 miles (1,527 km)
Mean depth15.8 m (52 ft)
Elevation594 ft (181 m) above sea level
Volume1.49 km³ (1,210,000 acre⋅ft)
Fish SpeciesLargemouth bass, smallmouth bass, striped bass, crappie, catfish, bluegill, and more
MarinasGoose Pond Colony Resort Marina, Lake Guntersville Marina, Jackson County Park Marina, and more
Lake Guntersville Information

2. Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Sam Rayburn Reservoir
Sam Rayburn Reservoir. (2023, February 12). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Rayburn_Reservoir

The Sam Rayburn Reservoir is another top spot for bass anglers in East Texas. This large lake spans over 114,000 acres of water and offers excellent fishing trip opportunities for both largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.

The lake also boasts clear waters and numerous boat ramps for easy access. The best seasons for fishing here are spring and fall.

Bass Records For Sam Rayburn Reservoir

The biggest largemouth bass reported from the Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Texas weighed 16.80 pounds and was caught by Tommy Shelton on November 27, 1997.

SpecificsSam Rayburn Reservoir Information
LocationDeep East Texas, USA
Coordinates31.0611° N, 94.1061° W
Area114,500 acres (463 km²)
Max Depth80 feet (24 m)
Shoreline Length560 miles (900 km)
Mean depth20.4 m (67 ft)
Elevation164 ft (50 m) above sea level
Volume4.18 km³ (3,394,000 acre⋅ft)
Fish SpeciesLargemouth bass, crappie, catfish, bluegill, and more
Recreational ActivitiesFishing, boating, swimming, camping, hiking, bird-watching, and more
Nearby AttractionsAngelina National Forest, Big Thicket National Preserve, and more
MarinasCassels-Boykin County Park, Rayburn Resort, Powell Park Marina, and more
Sam Rayburn Reservoir

3. Lake Fork

Lake Fork Reservoir Inlet
Lake Fork Reservoir Inlet

Lake Fork is renowned for producing giant bass in the Southern United States. This East Texas lake covers over 27,000 acres of water and is known for its impressive current tournament data.

Anglers can expect high catch rates and the chance to reel in a trophy bass. The best time to fish at Lake Fork is during the spring season.

Record Largemouth Bass Caught on Lake Fork

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department reports that Barry St. Clair caught the largest largemouth bass recorded from Lake Fork on January 24, 1992. The fish weighed 18.18 pounds and measured 24.5 inches in length.

SpecificsLake Fork Information
LocationTexas, USA
Coordinates32°48’8.99″ N -95°32’13.19″ W
Area27,690 acres (112.1 km²)
Max Depth70 feet (21 m)
Shoreline Length315 miles (507 km)
Mean depth22.5 m (74 ft)
Elevation403 ft (123 m) above sea level
Volume0.63 km³ (514,000 acre⋅ft)
Fish SpeciesLargemouth bass, catfish, crappie, sunfish, and more
MarinasLake Fork Marina, Mustang Resort, Pope’s Landing Marina, and more
Lake Fork Information

4. Lake Okeechobee

Lake Okeechobee
Lake Okeechobee

The largest freshwater lake in Florida, Lake Okeechobee, is a great place for bass fishing. It is spread across 730 square miles and home to diverse fish species, including largemouth bass and brown trout.

Its vast size and diverse aquatic vegetation make it one of the best bass lakes in the United States.

SpecificsLake Okeechobee Information
LocationFlorida, USA
Coordinates26.9690° N, 80.7976° W
Area730 square miles (1,890 km²)
Max Depth12 feet (3.7 m)
Shoreline Length135 miles (217 km)
Mean depth9 feet (2.7 m)
Elevation12 ft (3.7 m) above sea level
Volume1.1 km³ (890,000 acre⋅ft)
Fish SpeciesLargemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, catfish, and more
MarinasOkeechobee Marina, Scott Driver Park Marina, and more
Lake Okeechobee Information

5. Mille Lacs Lake

Clouds over Mille Lacs Lake
Mille Lacs Lake

Mille Lacs Lake is a large freshwater body in the U.S. state of Minnesota. It’s the second-largest lake in the state, covering approximately 207 square miles (536 square kilometers). Known for its impressive fish diversity, it’s a premier destination for anglers, particularly those pursuing bass.

The lake is renowned for its smallmouth bass fishing. Smallmouth bass thrive in the varied habitats found in the lake, which include rocky reefs, sandy areas, and weed beds.

The introduction of the bass into Mille Lacs Lake has allowed the species to prosper, and the lake now supports a healthy and sizable population.

A few hotspots for bass fishing in Mille Lacs Lake are:

  1. Indian Point: This is a great spot for smallmouth bass. Located on the southeast side of the lake, it features extensive rocky areas that provide ideal habitats for smallmouth bass.
  2. Rocky Reef: Located on the lake’s northwest side, Rocky Reef is well-known for its bass population. With numerous rock structures, it’s an excellent place to drop a line.
  3. Izatys’ Reef: Another favored spot, Izatys’ Reef, is near the lake’s southern portion. Here, smallmouth bass lurking around the rocky drop-offs and points.
  4. Vineland Bay offers some great shallow water areas and drop-offs ideal for targeting smallmouth bass.
SpecificsMille Lacs Lake Information
LocationMinnesota, USA
Coordinates46.2508° N, 93.5857° W
Area132,516 acres (536.2 km²)
Max Depth42 feet (13 m)
Shoreline Length75 miles (121 km)
Mean depth22 feet (6.7 m)
Elevation1,256 ft (383 m) above sea level
Volume3.05 km³ (2,472,900 acre⋅ft)
Fish SpeciesWalleye, muskie, northern pike, smallmouth bass, and more
MarinasAppeldoorn’s Sunset Bay Resort, Lyback’s Marine, and more
Mille Lacs Lake Information

6. Clear Lake

Clear Lake, located in Northern California, is the largest natural freshwater lake entirely within the state, boasting a surface area of approximately 68 square miles (180 square kilometers).

It is known for its year-round fishing opportunities and is renowned as one of the best bass fishing lakes in the United States.

Clear Lake is particularly famous for its largemouth bass population, thanks to its vast, productive waters. The lake features various habitats ideal for bass, including underwater structures, docks, weed beds, and rocky points.

Popular bass fishing spots in Clear Lake include:

  1. Redbud Park: Located on the lake’s southern end, it provides access to various underwater structures and weed beds that attract bass.
  2. Rodman Slough: Here, the wetland habitat provides great opportunities for bass fishing. The complex waterway system is known for its rich biodiversity, making it a popular spot for bass anglers.
  3. Jago Bay: A renowned spot for largemouth bass. The extensive tule reeds provide excellent cover for the bass, making it a productive spot for fishing.
  4. Rattlesnake Island: Located on the southern part of the lake, it’s a promising spot known for its rocky points and structures that are great for bass fishing.

Record Bass Caught in Clear Lake

Clear Lake has a storied history of large catches. The largest officially recognized largemouth bass caught in Clear Lake weighed 17.52 pounds, caught by Jerry Basgal in 1990.

However, numerous anecdotal reports suggest larger bass may have been caught, potentially over 20 pounds, although these were not officially recognized or documented.

SpecificsClear Lake Information
LocationCalifornia, USA
Coordinates39.0582° N, 122.8310° W
Area43,785 acres (177.2 km²)
Max Depth60 feet (18 m)
Shoreline Length100 miles (160 km)
Mean depth27 feet (8.2 m)
Elevation1,329 ft (405 m) above sea level
Volume1.18 km³ (958,000 acre⋅ft)
Fish SpeciesLargemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, catfish, and more
MarinasKonocti Vista Casino Resort & Marina, Clear Lake Marina, and more
Clear Lake Information

7.  Lake Erie

Lake Erie, one of the five Great Lakes in North America, is the fourth largest by surface area, covering approximately 9,940 square miles (25,745 square kilometers).

The lake spans across the United States and Canada, touching the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ontario. It’s renowned for its excellent fishing opportunities and vibrant bass fishery.

Lake Erie is home to both largemouth and smallmouth bass. However, it is particularly famous for its smallmouth bass population, with the lake’s deep, clear, and rocky habitat providing the perfect conditions for this species to thrive.

Bass are found all over Lake Erie, but here are a few hotspots:

  1. Western Basin Reef Complex: In the western end of Lake Erie, this area is a group of limestone reefs and islands that serve as excellent habitat for smallmouth bass. Bass Island is a popular spot in this area.
  2. Presque Isle Bay: Located off Erie, Pennsylvania, this bay is renowned for largemouth and smallmouth bass. It provides a diverse habitat with plenty of structures and weed beds.
  3. Long Point: This peninsula jutting into the lake from the Canadian side provides excellent bass fishing opportunities, particularly around its various drop-offs and rocky points.
  4. Eastern Basin: The deep, clear waters of the Eastern Basin near Buffalo, New York, offer some of the best smallmouth bass fishing in Lake Erie. The numerous humps and drop-offs in this area hold a large bass population.

Record Bass Caught on Lake Erie

The largest smallmouth bass caught on Lake Erie (on the Ohio side) weighed 9.5 pounds, caught by Randy Van Dam in 1993. The record for largemouth bass in the Ohio portion of Lake Erie was a 21.01-pound fish caught by Roy Landsberger in 1949.

Lake SpecificsLake Erie Information
LocationNorth America
Coordinates42.0669° N, 81.3399° W
Area9,910 sq mi (25,700 km²)
Max Depth210 feet (64 m)
Shoreline Length871 miles (1,402 km)
Mean depth62 feet (19 m)
Elevation571 ft (174 m) above sea level
Volume116 cu mi (484 km³)
Fish SpeciesWalleye, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, and more
MarinasSandusky Harbor Marina, Erie Yacht Club, and more
Lake Erie Information

8. Lake St. Clair

Lake St. Clair, between the U.S. state of Michigan and the Canadian province of Ontario, is part of the Great Lakes system, nestled between Lake Huron and Lake Erie.

Covering an area of about 430 square miles (1,114 square kilometers), it is relatively shallow, with an average depth of about 11 feet (3.4 meters). The lake’s clear water, vast weed beds, and many underwater structures make it a premier destination for bass fishing.

Both largemouth and smallmouth bass are found in Lake St. Clair, but it’s particularly recognized for its abundant smallmouth bass population. It consistently ranks among the best bass fishing lakes in North America.

Here are a few renowned bass fishing spots in Lake St. Clair:

  1. Anchor Bay: The bay’s plentiful vegetation and shallow flats make it a productive location for largemouth and smallmouth bass.
  2. St. Clair River Delta: The mouth of the St. Clair River is a hotspot with a mix of currents and underwater structures that attract bass.
  3. Mile Roads: These areas along the Michigan shoreline are known for their fantastic bass fishing, with numerous drop-offs and weed beds.
  4. Belle River Hump: Located on the Canadian side of the lake, this offshore structure is a magnet for smallmouth bass.
SpecificsLake St. Clair Information
LocationNorth America
Coordinates42.4357° N, 82.6915° W
Area430 sq mi (1,100 km²)
Max Depth23 feet (7.0 m)
Shoreline Length160 miles (260 km)
Mean depth11 feet (3.4 m)
Elevation574 ft (175 m) above sea level
Volume0.5 cu mi (2.1 km³)
Fish SpeciesSmallmouth bass, muskie, yellow perch, and more
MarinasJefferson Beach Marina, Belle Maer Harbor, and more
Lake St. Clair Information

9. Lake Champlain

Dock on Lake Champlain
Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain is a natural freshwater lake in North America, straddling the border between the United States and Canada. The lake is approximately 120 miles (193 km) long and touches the U.S. states of Vermont, New York, and the Canadian province of Quebec.

It covers roughly 490 square miles (1,269 square kilometers), making it the United States sixth-largest lake.

The lake is known for its excellent fishing opportunities and is especially well-regarded for bass fishing.

Both largemouth and smallmouth bass are plentiful in Lake Champlain thanks to a variety of habitats that are well-suited to these species, including rocky areas, weed beds, and underwater structures.

Here are some popular bass fishing spots in Lake Champlain:

  1. Ticonderoga Area: Often referred to as “Ticonderoga” or “Ti,” this southern region of the lake is known for its exceptional largemouth bass fishing, with abundant vegetation and shallow bays.
  2. The Inland Sea: This northeastern part of the lake is more renowned for its smallmouth bass, with deeper, colder, and clearer water than these fish prefer.
  3. Missisquoi Bay: On the Canadian side of the lake, this bay features a mix of habitats ideal for largemouth and smallmouth bass.
  4. Malletts Bay: Located near Colchester, Vermont, Malletts Bay has plenty of underwater structures that attract smallmouth bass.
SpecificsLake Champlain Information
LocationNorth America
Coordinates44.5866° N, 73.3801° W
Area490 sq mi (1,270 km²)
Max Depth400 feet (122 m)
Shoreline Length587 miles (944 km)
Mean depth64 feet (20 m)
Elevation95 ft (29 m) above sea level
Volume31 cu mi (130 km³)
Fish SpeciesLargemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike, and more
MarinasPoint Bay Marina, Malletts Bay Marina, and more
Lake Champlain Information

10. Falcon International Reservoir

Falcon Lake, also known as Falcon International Reservoir, is a large reservoir on the Rio Grande, straddling the border between the U.S. state of Texas and the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.

It covers roughly 87,000 acres, providing ample space for various recreational activities, including boating and fishing.

Falcon Lake is famous for its largemouth bass fishing. The reservoir’s warm climate, abundant cover, and nutrient-rich waters provide excellent conditions for these fish to thrive. The bass population in Falcon Lake has led it to be ranked among the best bass fishing lakes in the world on multiple occasions.

A few renowned spots for bass fishing in Falcon Lake are:

  1. Tiger Creek: This area on the American side offers various underwater structures that attract largemouth bass.
  2. Beacon Lodge: Another spot on the U.S. side, it has abundant vegetation, which serves as excellent cover for largemouth bass.
  3. Veleno Bridge: Located near the dam on the U.S. side, this area is a known hotspot with deep water and plenty of structures.
  4. Las Blancas: This area on the Mexican side of the lake offers numerous submerged trees and brush piles that attract bass.
SpecificsFalcon International Reservoir Information
LocationTexas, USA and Tamaulipas, Mexico
Coordinates26.7886° N, 99.2453° W
Area83,000 acres (336 km²)
Max Depth110 feet (34 m)
Shoreline Length212 miles (341 km)
Mean depth40 feet (12 m)
Elevation240 ft (73 m) above sea level
Volume0.4 km³ (335,000 acre⋅ft)
Fish SpeciesLargemouth bass, catfish, crappie, and more
MarinasFalcon Lake Tackle, Falcon Lake RV Park, and more
International ManagementThe United States and Mexico governments manage the lake jointly through the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) for water conservation, flood control, hydroelectric power generation, and recreation.
Falcon International Reservoir

11. Chickamauga Lake

Chickamauga Lake is a reservoir in the U.S. state of Tennessee, along the Tennessee River just north of Chattanooga.

The reservoir stretches over approximately 36,240 acres, providing ample opportunities for recreational activities, including boating and fishing.

Chickamauga Lake is famous for its largemouth bass fishing. Thanks to a successful Florida-strain bass stocking program initiated by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the lake has produced some incredibly large bass.

It consistently ranks among the best bass fishing lakes in the United States.

Notable bass fishing spots in Chickamauga Lake include:

  1. Harrison Bay: Known for its diverse aquatic habitats, including underwater structures and plentiful vegetation that largemouth bass love.
  2. Sale Creek: This area is home to a mix of structures, including docks, weed beds, and channels that attract bass.
  3. Soddy Creek: Here, you can find numerous underwater humps and drop-offs that provide excellent opportunities for largemouth bass.
  4. Watts Bar Dam tailwater: The area immediately downstream of Watts Bar Dam can be a productive spot for bass fishing, especially during times of water discharge.
SpecificsChickamauga Lake Information
LocationTennessee, USA
Coordinates35.3306° N, 85.0519° W
Area36,240 acres (147 km²)
Max Depth72 feet (22 m)
Shoreline Length810 miles (1,303 km)
Mean depth25 feet (7.6 m)
Elevation682 ft (208 m) above sea level
Volume0.9 km³ (750,000 acre⋅ft)
Fish SpeciesLargemouth bass, crappie, catfish, and more
MarinasIsland Cove Marina & Resort, Chickamauga Marina, Harbor Lights Marina, and more
Chickamauga Lake Information

12. Lake Minnetonka

Lake Minnetonka in the fall
Lake Minnetonka

Lake Minnetonka, located in the U.S. state of Minnesota, is a large freshwater lake spanning about 14,528 acres. Not far from Minneapolis, it’s one of the state’s most popular recreational and fishing destinations.

The lake is known for its excellent largemouth bass fishing, thanks to various habitats ideal for these species, including rocky areas, docks, weed beds, and underwater structures.

The lake’s complex structure, featuring numerous bays and channels, offers a multitude of environments where bass can thrive.

Popular bass fishing spots in Lake Minnetonka include:

  1. Smith’s Bay: Renowned for its weed beds and numerous docks, it can be a very productive spot for largemouth bass.
  2. Brown’s Bay: The mix of structures and vegetation provides excellent cover for bass.
  3. Crystal Bay: This bay is known for its deep, rocky points that attract bass.
  4. Wayzata Bay: Another good spot, with its rocky points and docks providing ideal habitats for bass.
SpecificsLake Minnetonka Information
LocationMinnesota, USA
Coordinates44.9073° N, 93.6344° W
Area14,528 acres (5,879 ha)
Max Depth113 feet (34 m)
Shoreline Length125 miles (201 km)
Mean depth30 feet (9.1 m)
Elevation930 ft (283 m) above sea level
Volume0.44 km³ (365,000 acre⋅ft)
Fish SpeciesWalleye, northern pike, largemouth bass, and more
MarinasWayzata Yacht Club, Tonka Bay Marina, and more
Lake Minnetonka Information

13. Kentucky Lake

Kentucky Lake is a major navigable reservoir along the Tennessee River, spanning the U.S. states of Kentucky and Tennessee. It’s the largest man-made lake by surface area in the Eastern United States, spanning roughly 160,309 acres.

Kentucky Lake is famous for its bass fishing, offering habitats for largemouth and smallmouth bass and spotted bass. The lake is home to abundant aquatic vegetation, numerous underwater structures, and miles of ledges, providing excellent conditions for these species to thrive.

Popular bass fishing spots in Kentucky Lake include:

  1. Big Sandy River: This area, particularly around its embayments and underwater structures, is a well-known spot for largemouth bass.
  2. Jonathan Creek: It’s another excellent area for largemouth bass, thanks to the abundant cover it provides.
  3. Blood River: Known for its deep, clear water, Blood River is a great spot for bass, especially during the warmer months.
  4. Paris Landing State Park: This area features numerous underwater structures and ledges that are attractive to bass.
SpecificsKentucky Lake Information
LocationKentucky and Tennessee, USA
Coordinates36.5610° N, 88.0412° W
Area160,309 acres (649 km²)
Max Depth62 feet (19 m)
Shoreline Length2,064 miles (3,322 km)
Mean depth21 feet (6.4 m)
Elevation359 ft (109 m) above sea level
Volume3.4 km³ (2,750,000 acre⋅ft)
Fish SpeciesLargemouth bass, crappie, catfish, and more
MarinasKentucky Dam Marina, Paris Landing State Park Marina, and more
Kentucky Lake Information

14. Pickwick Lake

Pickwick Lake is a reservoir located along the Tennessee River on Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee borders. The lake covers roughly 43,100 acres and stretches 53 miles long.

The dam that forms the lake, Pickwick Landing Dam, was built by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in the 1930s.

Known for its exceptional sport fishing, Pickwick Lake is especially popular for bass fishing. Anglers can find abundant largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass, thanks to various habitats, including deep river channels, rocky outcrops, weed beds, and submerged structures.

Here are some popular bass fishing spots on Pickwick Lake:

  1. Bear Creek: This tributary on the Mississippi side of the lake is a well-known spot for largemouth bass, thanks to the numerous underwater structures and weed beds.
  2. Indian Creek: Located near the dam, Indian Creek is known for its smallmouth bass, especially around the rocky points.
  3. Yellow Creek: This area is a hotspot for all types of bass due to its diverse aquatic habitats.
  4. Coffee Slough: This area is known for its deep waters, making it an attractive spot for largemouth and smallmouth bass.
Lake SpecificsPickwick Lake Information
LocationAlabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee, USA
Coordinates34.9075° N, 88.0461° W
Area43,100 acres (17,400 ha)
Max Depth59 feet (18 m)
Shoreline Length496 miles (798 km)
Mean depth25 feet (7.6 m)
Elevation414 ft (126 m) above sea level
Volume1.08 km³ (875,000 acre⋅ft)
Fish SpeciesLargemouth bass, smallmouth bass, catfish, and more
MarinasPickwick Landing State Park Marina, Aqua Yacht Harbor, and more
Pickwick Lake Information

15. Lake Havasu

Lake Havasu is a large reservoir behind Parker Dam on the Colorado River, on the border between the U.S. states of California and Arizona. The lake has a surface area of about 19,300 acres, making it one of the largest reservoirs in Arizona.

Lake Havasu is widely recognized as a top spot for bass fishing. Both largemouth and smallmouth bass thrive here, and the lake’s warm climate, combined with its clear water, abundant vegetation, and plentiful underwater structures, provide excellent conditions for these fish.

Here are a few renowned bass fishing spots on Lake Havasu:

  1. Havasu Springs: This area at the southern end of the lake is known for its mix of deep and shallow water, weed beds, and rocky structures, making it a hotspot for both largemouth and smallmouth bass.
  2. Windsor Beach: Located near Lake Havasu, this spot features lots of underwater structure and vegetation that attract bass.
  3. Take-off Point: This is a well-known spot with numerous underwater structures and a wide range of water depths that bass find attractive.
  4. California Bay: This area is known for its diverse aquatic habitats and abundance of largemouth bass.
Lake SpecificsLake Havasu Information
LocationArizona and California, USA
Coordinates34.4839° N, 114.3225° W
Area19,300 acres (7,800 ha)
Max Depth90 feet (27 m)
Shoreline Length450 miles (720 km)
Mean depth43 feet (13 m)
Elevation450 ft (140 m) above sea level
Volume0.83 km³ (670,000 acre⋅ft)
Fish SpeciesLargemouth bass, smallmouth bass, catfish, and more
MarinasLake Havasu Marina, Crazy Horse Campgrounds, and more
Lake Havasu Information

16. Lake Tohopekaliga

Lake Minnetonka in the fall
Lake Minnetonka

Lake Tohopekaliga, also known as Lake Toho, is the largest lake in Osceola County, Florida, covering about 22,700 acres. Part of the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, it’s located near Kissimmee and Orlando, making it easily accessible for many residents and tourists.

Lake Toho is famous for its largemouth bass fishing. The lake’s warm climate and extensive vegetation, including hydrilla, cattails, bulrushes, and underwater structures, provide ideal conditions for bass to thrive.

Notable bass fishing spots in Lake Toho include:

  1. North Steer Beach: This area is known for its aquatic vegetation and shallow waters, which attract largemouth bass.
  2. Big Island: The waters around this island are teeming with hydrilla, making it an attractive habitat for bass.
  3. Paradise Cove: This area is known for its extensive grass beds and underwater structures.
  4. Goblet’s Cove: A well-known spot for bass fishing, Goblet’s Cove offers a mix of aquatic habitats ideal for largemouth bass.
Lake SpecificsLake Tohopekaliga Information
LocationFlorida, USA
Coordinates28.2037° N, 81.3949° W
Area18,810 acres (7,610 ha)
Max Depth18 feet (5.5 m)
Shoreline Length42 miles (68 km)
Mean depth10 feet (3.0 m)
Elevation49 ft (15 m) above sea level
Volume0.18 km³ (146,000 acre⋅ft)
Fish SpeciesLargemouth bass, crappie, catfish, and more
MarinasBig Toho Marina, Kissimmee Lakefront Park Marina, and more
Lake Tohopekaliga Information

17. Lake Berryessa

Lake Berryessa is the largest lake in Napa County, California. Formed by the Monticello Dam on Putah Creek, this man-made reservoir covers approximately 20,700 acres.

The lake is a popular recreational spot, attracting many visitors for boating, swimming, and fishing activities.

Lake Berryessa is known for its excellent bass fishing. The lake supports healthy largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass populations thanks to diverse habitats, including rocky points, underwater structures, and a variety of aquatic vegetation.

Some well-known bass fishing spots on Lake Berryessa include:

  1. Putah Creek: This is the main feeder creek into the lake and is known for its great bass fishing, especially during spring when bass move into the creek to spawn.
  2. Markley Cove: Located on the southern end of the lake, Markley Cove features numerous underwater structures that attract bass.
  3. Skiers Cove: This area offers a mix of rocky and sandy bottoms, making it a good spot for largemouth and smallmouth bass.
  4. Pope Creek: Another feeder creek into the lake, Pope Creek offers a variety of bass habitats, including underwater structures and vegetation.
Lake SpecificsLake Berryessa Information
LocationCalifornia, USA
Coordinates38.6097° N, 122.2540° W
Area20,200 acres (8,200 ha)
Max Depth275 feet (84 m)
Shoreline Length165 miles (266 km)
Mean depth92 feet (28 m)
Elevation443 ft (135 m) above sea level
Volume1.6 km³ (1,300,000 acre⋅ft)
Fish SpeciesLargemouth bass, smallmouth bass, catfish, and more
MarinasPleasure Cove Marina, Steele Canyon Recreation Area, and more
Lake Berryessa Information

Fishing Guide: Best Bass Fishing in Delaware

Popular Bass Fishing Regions

Southern States

The Southern States are home to some of the best bass lakes in the United States, attracting numerous bass anglers annually.

Lake Okeechobee in Florida, one of the largest freshwater lakes in the country, is brimming with largemouth and smallmouth bass, making it a top spot for a fishing trip.

Alabama’s Pickwick Lake and more than 117,000 acres of Toledo Bend Reservoir on the border of Texas and Louisiana are famous for their big bass.

Texas boasts several popular bass lakes, such as Falcon Lake, known for its massive bass, and Sam Rayburn Reservoir, with its clear waters and impressive catch rates. Other must-visit Texas locations include Lake Fork Reservoir, A.H. Ivie, and Lake Berryessa.

Western States

In the Western States, anglers will find plenty of bass fishing opportunities. Lake Havasu in Southern California has become a top bass lake in recent years, with its large lake size and great place for various fish species.

Heading up to Northern California, Clear Lake has a reputation for being one of North America’s top bass fisheries, offering shallow and deep water fishing experiences. This natural lake is also home to a record-breaking white bass catch.

Great Lakes Region

The Great Lakes Region provides excellent bass fishing experiences for anglers looking for smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and even northern pike. Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair, and parts of the St. Lawrence River in New York are some of the top lakes to visit for bass anglers.

Additionally, Mille Lacs Lake in Minnesota and Lake Champlain, bordering New York and Vermont, stand out as excellent bass fishing spots in the region. Both lakes offer anglers a great place to catch trophy bass and are relatively easy to access.

Northeastern States

The Northeastern States have their gems when it comes to bass fishing. New York is home to the St. Lawrence River and Lake Champlain, which boasts an impressive largemouth and smallmouth bass population. Along with bass, anglers can find other fish species in the lake, such as yellow perch, northern pike, and a variety of trout.

In addition, anglers should consider visiting Lake Minnetonka and Lake Guntersville State Park, well-known for crowd-pleasing bass fishing.

Following current tournament data and state fishery information, anglers can determine the best time and conditions to visit these top bass lakes in the United States.

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Bass Species and Habitats

In the United States, bass fishing is a popular recreational activity, with anglers seeking the best lakes to catch large and trophy-sized bass. This section will discuss the four main bass species found in US waters: largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, striped bass, and white bass, along with their preferred habitats.

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass are one of the most sought-after fish species for bass anglers. They are commonly found in large lakes, such as Lake Okeechobee in Florida, Lake Guntersville in Alabama, and Falcon Lake in Texas.

These bass prefer warm, shallow waters with abundant aquatic vegetation, making these areas the best place to target. Largemouth bass are typically more active during early morning and late afternoon hours, so bass fishing during these times is ideal.

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass, though smaller than their largemouth counterparts, are also a popular target for bass anglers. They are commonly found in the Great Lakes, such as Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair, and in other large bodies of water, like Lake Champlain and the St. Lawrence River in New York.

Smallmouth bass prefer clear waters with rocky bottoms to pursue and ambush their prey. The best time to target smallmouth bass is usually during pre-spawn and fall months when they are concentrated in shallower waters.

Striped Bass

Striped bass are a migratory species known for their large size and hard-fighting disposition. They are found along the coastlines of the United States, particularly in larger bodies of water such as the Tennessee River, Lake Havasu, and the Atlantic coast.

Striped bass prefer deeper water with a mix of sandy and rocky bottoms, which makes them perfect targets for anglers utilizing boat ramps and offshore angling techniques.

Catch rates for striped bass are generally higher in the spring and fall when they feed actively before and after migration.

White Bass

White bass are also popular targets for bass anglers, as they are often found in large schools within lakes and rivers across the United States. Notable white bass lakes include Mille Lacs Lake in Minnesota, Kentucky Lake, and Toledo Bend Reservoir.

White bass prefer open water with ample forage, where they actively chase and feed on smaller fish species. White bass fishing is typically most productive when spawning in the spring or moving into tributaries to feed on migrating shad or other baitfish in the fall.

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Fishing Techniques for Trophy Bass

Angler holding a trophy bass he just caught

Lure Selection

When targeting trophy bass – largemouth and smallmouth – in the best lakes across the United States, selecting the right lure is essential.

The choice of lures depends on the lake, season, and specific bass species. Some proven options are plastic worms, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and topwater lures.

Experimentation and adjusting your lures based on what the bass are biting in your preferred body of water will inevitably yield success.

Structure and Cover

Bass are ambush predators, often hiding in structure and cover to surprise their prey. When fishing for trophy bass, seek out spots with aquatic vegetation, shallow water, and submerged objects, such as logs or rocky areas.

Finding areas with structure and cover will increase the chance of targeting big bass in big bass lakes and rivers like Lake Champlain and St. Lawrence River.

Seasonal Patterns

Timing is crucial to catch trophy bass, and the best time varies depending on which lake you are fishing. For example, the united states great lakes, such as Lake Erie or Lake St. Clair, experience seasonal fish movements.

During spring, trophy bass move to shallow waters for spawning, which increases catch rates. Summer and fall months require targeting deeper water structures, as bass seek cooler temperatures. In winter, look for deep water havens like humps and creek channels.

  • Spring: Trophy bass move to shallow waters for spawning; focus on areas with aquatic vegetation.
  • Summer: bass seek cooler temperatures in deeper water structures.
  • Fall: Trophy bass transition from shallow to deep water; focus on structures around the transition zone.
  • Winter: Target deep water havens.

Best place to find trophy bass, such as Lake Okeechobee or Mille Lacs Lake, change with the season. Adjust your tactics accordingly to provide the best opportunities for success.

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Catch and Release Practices

In the quest to find the best bass lakes in the United States, anglers are constantly looking for prime spots to catch largemouth and smallmouth bass.

From the Great Lakes to Clear Lake, Lake Erie, and Lake Okeechobee, some top lakes, such as Lake St. Clair and Lake Champlain, offer unparalleled bass fishing opportunities. Adhering to catch and release practices is essential to ensure the sustainability of these fisheries.

Catch and release practices have been widely adopted by bass anglers around the country, especially in top lakes like Chickamauga Lake, Mille Lacs Lake, and Falcon Lake.

These practices help maintain healthy fish populations, promote responsible angling, and support the success of future bass fishing trips.

One key aspect of these practices is adhering to state-set limits in terms of the number of fish that can be kept and their size. For instance, New York’s renowned St. Lawrence River is home to numerous bass species, and its limits are designed to protect the lake’s ecosystem.

While the permissible limits may vary depending on the body of water and state regulations, bass anglers should consciously respect and abide by these limits.

Another crucial aspect is proper handling of the fish. When practicing catch and release, bass anglers should minimize stress and injury to the fish.

This calls for using barbless hooks or pinching barbs flat, handling the fish with wet hands or a gentle grip, and refraining from removing the fish from the water for extended periods.

Returning the fish to its natural environment as quickly and safely as possible helps ensure that released bass can recover and thrive.

Fishing during the best seasons can also positively impact catch and release practices. Some popular bass fisheries in North America, such as Tennessee River’s Pickwick Lake, Lake Minnetonka, and Sam Rayburn Reservoir, offer ideal conditions for bass during specific times of the year.

By timing their fishing trips to align with these optimal conditions, anglers can enjoy high catch rates and even have a chance at landing state record-size fish.

Bass Fishing Tournaments

Anglers gathered on fishing boats for a Fishing Tournament

Local and Regional Events

Local and regional bass fishing tournaments provide an excellent opportunity for anglers to compete and showcase their skills. These events often occur throughout the year, catering to largemouth and smallmouth bass enthusiasts.

Some popular local and regional events include:

  • Bass Champs Tournament Trails: Taking place across several southern states, this event is renowned for offering healthy payouts and attracting many bass anglers, making it a great place to demonstrate skills and win prizes.
  • FLW Series Circuit: Hosted across numerous sites in the United States, the FLW series circuit is among the most prestigious events for bass anglers, featuring various reputable lakes such as Lake Erie, Lake Champlain, and Lake St. Clair.

National Tournament Series

On the national level, there are several significant bass fishing tournaments, such as the Bassmaster Elite Series, Major League Fishing (MLF), and the FLW Tour. These events draw nationwide attention and attract top bass anglers, guaranteeing fierce competition and excitement.

The Bassmaster Elite Series is particularly prominent, offering anglers the chance to fish in some of the best bass lakes in the United States, including Lake Okeechobee and Clear Lake.

In addition to the demanding competition, these tournaments highlight the talents of bass anglers and help determine the best fisheries within North America.

Almost all national events feature multiple divisions, allowing anglers to compete at various levels.

For instance, the Bassmaster Opens series is divided into two divisions: the Northeastern Division and the Southern Division. Each division features a roster of the best bass lakes within their respective regions:

Northeastern DivisionSouthern Division
Lake ErieLake Okeechobee
Lake ChamplainSt. Lawrence River
Lake St. ClairFalcon Lake

These competitions contribute to the ongoing state fishery information and current tournament data, maintaining an up-to-date record of the best fishing lakes and guiding anglers toward their next exciting fishing trip.

Conclusion – Best Bass Lakes in the US

Choosing the best bass lake for your fishing trip depends on many factors, including location, fish species, and time of year. 

Consider current tournament data, state record catch, and input from top fishermen like Bassmaster Magazine Editor-in-Chief James Hall to help you make an informed decision. 

With so many options, your next great bass fishing adventure is waiting at one of these exceptional bass lakes across the United States.

We would love to hear from you if you have fished any of the lakes mentioned in this article. Just leave a comment below. Until next time Happy Bass Fishing!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are some of the best bass lakes in the U.S.?

Some of the top bass lakes in the U.S. include Lake Guntersville in Alabama, Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Texas, Lake Okeechobee in Florida, Clear Lake in California, and Toledo Bend Reservoir, which spans Texas and Louisiana. These lakes offer excellent opportunities for largemouth and smallmouth bass.

What makes Lake Guntersville notable for bass fishing?

Lake Guntersville is one of the premier bass fishing destinations in the U.S., renowned for its largemouth bass’ quantity and quality. It’s a large lake with diverse habitats, including aquatic vegetation, river channels, and deep ledges, making it a year-round fishing destination.

What types of bass can I find in Sam Rayburn Reservoir?

Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Texas is primarily known for its outstanding largemouth bass fishing, but you can also find spotted bass (Kentucky bass) in this body of water.

When is the best time to fish for bass in Lake Okeechobee?

The best time to fish for bass in Lake Okeechobee is during the cooler months, from December through April. This is when bass are in their spawning season, making them more aggressive and easier to catch.

Are there specific regulations for bass fishing in Clear Lake?

Yes, like many lakes, Clear Lake in California has specific regulations to ensure the sustainability of its fish populations. The rules can change from year to year, so it’s always a good idea to check the latest fishing regulations from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife before your trip.

Cory is a content writer-editor and founder of Tackle Box Talk. Favorite Quote: "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime."

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