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21 Best Bass Fishing Lakes In The U.S.

Mark Armstrong
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Bass are a very popular freshwater game fish in the United States. Well, is it found just about everywhere in North America!

But where are the best bass lakes to be found around this wonderful country?

Here’s our list containing some (actually, 21 to be exact) of the top bass fishing lakes in the USA, so you can check them off your bucket list and… fingers crossed… catch some trophy bass.

21 Best Bass Fishing Lakes In The US - PinterestPin

21 Top U.S. Lakes For Bass Fishing

1: Lake Guntersville, Alabama

Lake Guntersville, AlabamaPin
Courtesy of lakeguntersville.org

Lake Guntersville is a 69,000 acre lake in north Alabama and is well known as one of the country’s top bass fishing lakes. Late winter through early spring can be a great time for bass fishing but the lake can also offer some great year round fishing opportunities.

There are numerous marinas and boat launches to give you access to the water, including at Lake Guntersville State Park on the eastern side of the lake, where you’ll also find a campground.

> Kayaking spots around Alabama

2: Lake Okeechobee, Florida

The largest freshwater lake in Florida and one of the largest in the United States, Lake Okeechobee is consistently ranked among the top bass fishing lakes in the country. Its opportunities for year round bass fishing can make it the perfect fishing destination.

There are many places where you can access the lake if you want to take a boat or a SOT fishing kayak out onto the water and there are also options to fish from the shore or from one of the piers. Clewiston at the south end of the lake and Okeechobee at the north both have good lake access points, fishing charters and accommodation.

3: Lake Champlain, New York/Vermont

Lake Champlain, New York, VermontPin
Courtesy of vermont.org

Lake Champlain can be a great spot for catching largemouth and smallmouth bass but it’s also known for having over 90 species of fish, so it can be an ideal fishing location if you’re looking for more than just bass.

With shores in both New York and Vermont, this large lake has many access points for boats, as well as piers and docks where you can fish from the shore.

4: Lake Fork, Texas

Lake Fork covers over 27,000 acres and is known for its big bass. In fact, the majority of the top 50 large bass caught in Texas have been caught in Lake Fork. The lake has lots of vegetation to provide cover for fish and the main baitfish for bass tend to be shad, crawfish and minnows.

There are several marinas and boat ramps where you can launch your own vessel or rent one to get closer to the action.

5: Lake Tohopekaliga (Toho), Florida

Lake Toho for bass fishingPin
Courtesy of joewoolworth.com

Known to the locals as Lake Toho, this large lake is just a stone’s throw away from Orlando’s theme parks, with easy access from downtown Kissimmee where you’ll find a handy fishing pier in the Lakefront Park. There’s also a marina nearby where you can stock up on bait and tackle.

This 23,000 acre lake is part of the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes and is frequently home to bass fishing tournaments. The Central Florida climate means that fishing can be good all year round.

6: Lake Of The Ozarks, Missouri

Land of the Ozarks - best fishing spots USAPin
Courtesy of stltoday.com

Missouri hosts the Lake of the Ozarks can be a great place for catching largemouth and smallmouth bass, as well as spotted bass, white bass and hybrid striped bass. There are also several other species to be found in this expansive body of water.

Because of the sheer size of the lake, covering 54,000 acres, there are plenty of access locations, whether you want to launch a boat or fish from the shore.

Lake of the Ozarks State Park has a public boat ramp as well as piers for fishing.

7: Clear Lake, California

Clear Lake California - For fishingPin
Courtesy: Jon Evans on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Clear Lake is the largest natural lake in California and is often thought to be one of the best bass fishing lakes in the US, with more fish than any other lake in the United States (per square acre).

Bass fishing can be done all year round at the 43,000 acre Clear Lake. There are several piers to be found along the shores of the lake, both in parks and resorts, as well as boat docks. There’s a public boat ramp and camping facilities at Clear Lake State Park.

8: Toledo Bend Reservoir, Texas/Louisiana

Toledo Bend Reservoir is a large man-made lake covering almost 182,000 acres. It is known for its year round fishing, with largemouth bass being the most popular catch. There is plenty of vegetation in the lake, including standing timber, making an ideal habitat for bass.

While you can catch bass all year at Toledo Bend, you might find the best times are during the spring, fall and winter.

9: Bull Shoals Lake, Arkansas/Missouri

Bull Shoals Lake is a 45,000 acre reservoir with shores in both Arkansas and the state of Missouri. The lake is known for its largemouth and spotted bass and can also be a good place to catch smallmouth bass and other species, such as walleye and crappie.

From the late summer through late spring can be a great time for bass fishing but it can be fished all year round. There are boat ramps at various locations around the lake for easy boat launching.

10: Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Texas

The Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Texas is a popular spot for largemouth bass fishing and often plays host to several bass fishing tournaments throughout the year.

The 114,000 acre reservoir is known to offer great bass fishing all year round, with the lower sections of the lake being clearer and with more vegetation than the upper sections. The upper portion, however, has plenty of timber structure and creek channels for bass to hide.

11: Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota

Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota - bass fishingPin
Courtesy of exploreminnesota.com / Photo by Douglas Anderson

Mille Lacs Lake is a large, but relatively shallow, lake in Minnesota that is known for its large smallmouth bass population. It’s also not far from the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area.

This 132,000 acre lake can be a great spot for catching bass because you can generally catch bass in lots of places all across the lake because of the underwater landscape and plenty of rocky cover.

> Kayaking in Minnesota

12: Lake St. Clair, Michigan

Lake St. Clair, Michigan-Fishing bassPin
Courtesy of metroparks.com

Lake St. Clair can be a great bass fishing lake, especially with its close proximity to Detroit. It is a large freshwater lake that has shores in Michigan and Ontario, Canada.

You can take a boat out on the lake or fish from one of the piers. Some parks and marinas, including Huron Point, don’t allow fishing from the shore in certain areas between April and October.

Pre-spawn in April and May, and post-spawn through June can often be a good time for catching smallmouth bass in Lake St. Clair.

> When do bass spawn?

13: Chickamauga Lake, Tennessee

Chickamauga Lock & Dam - one of teh best bass fishing lakes in the usaPin
Courtesy: U.S. Army Corps on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Chickamauga Lake in Tennessee is home to many bass fishing tournaments and is frequently rated among the country’s top bass fishing lakes. It offers year round bass fishing, with good fishing for smallmouth, spotted bass and even trophy size largemouth bass.

There are several fishing piers, including at the Harrison Bay State Park, where you’ll also find a marina and campground.

14: Santee Cooper Lakes, South Carolina

Santee Cooper Lakes in central South Carolina is known for its quality largemouth and striped bass fishing. White bass have also been stocked in the lake and can occasionally be found.

This large lake system features two lakes, Marion and Moultrie, and covers 160,000 acres, offering year round fishing.

Santee Cooper Lakes has been the home of some record catches, including a previous world record striped bass weighing 55 pounds and a current state record largemouth weighing 16.2 pounds. It’s also known for its world record 58 pound channel catfish.

15: Thousand Islands, New York

Thousand Islands is an area of the St. Lawrence River in New York on the eastern edge of Lake Ontario and bordering Canada. This body of water is ranked as one of the best bass fishing spots in the US.

It’s a picturesque spot with almost 2,000 small islands creating points and coves for bass. It’s known for its large smallmouth but also has a healthy population of largemouth bass too. There are many lake access points, both via public boat ramps and state parks.

Remember, you will need a Canadian fishing license to fish on the Canadian side of the lake.

16: Falcon Lake, Texas

Falcon Lake is an International Reservoir bordering Mexico. It is known for its excellent largemouth bass fishing, as well as catfish. Falcon Lake is pretty shallow, with lots of sloping banks and cover, providing an ideal habitat for bass.

This 84,000 acre lake is part of the Rio Grande and because it is shared with Mexico, a Mexican fishing license is required to fish on the Mexican side. But if you fish from the shore of Falcon State Park, Texas you don’t need a fishing license.

17: Diamond Valley Lake, California

Diamond Valley Lake, CaliforniaPin
Courtesy of mdougherty.com

Diamond Valley Lake is located in Hemet, Southern California and is known for its bass. There are also several other species of fish that can be found in the lake, including trout and catfish and the lake plays host to fishing tournaments throughout the year.

The lake is home to a marina where you can rent boats and there is a boat ramp for you to access the water if you bring your own. While you can bring kayaks and canoes, you are not allowed to use sit-on-top kayaks on the lake.

18: Lake Erie, New York/Ohio

Lake Erie in New York provides a fantastic habitat for bass, with its rocky cover and various underwater ledges and drop-offs. This has led to the lake becoming known for its excellent smallmouth bass fishing, with the last few state records for smallmouth bass coming from Lake Erie.

Spring, summer and fall can be great times to catch smallmouth bass and there are plenty of places to launch a kayak or canoe. You can also fish from the shore or from one of the fishing piers.

South Carolina kayaking destinations

19: Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

Sturgeon Bay in Wisconsin is known for being one of the best US destinations to catch smallmouth bass.

Summer through fall can be some of the best times to catch them, with spinnerbaits often working well during this time of the year. There are plenty of opportunities to launch a boat or fish from the shore.

Stone Quarry at the Green Bay waters can be a good spot for smallmouth bass and you can fish either from the rocks or use the boat ramp to access the water.

20: Pickwick Lake, Alabama/Mississippi/Tennessee

Pickwick Lake has shorelines in three states, ranging from Florence, Alabama to Pickwick Dam in Tennessee. The lake covers 47,500 acres and can offer fantastic bass fishing, both for largemouth and smallmouth bass. It’s known for its large numbers of bass and plays host to several bass tournaments throughout the year.

There is great access to the lake, with plenty of fishing spots, marinas and boat ramps along the 50 mile long lake. Because the lake is part of the Tennessee River, there is a good variation of bass habitats, from moving currents and deep ledges to grass, points and flats.

21: Lake Eufaula, Alabama/Georgia

Running along the border of Alabama and Georgia, Lake Eufaula offers over 45,000 acres of water and some great bass fishing, with many tournaments held at the lake over the years.

The lake is formed from the Chattahoochee River and is also formally known as the Walter F. George Lake. Lake Eufaula was also considered the “bass capital of the world” back in the 60s, and is still home to some pretty large bass.

There are lots of access points and boat ramps on both the Georgia side and the Alabama side, and there are fishing piers in Highland Park and Old Creek Town Park, both in Alabama.

Finishing Off

The US is home to numerous great bass fishing lakes and these are just some of the best that we think might be worth a trip. Use our map to find more good fishing locations near me.

Maybe you have a favorite bass lake that you think should have made the list? Let us know why you love it (drop a comment below)!

Remember to share this list with all your fishing buddies and maybe they’ll be up for joining you on a road trip for the chance to catch some big bass in new territory.

> Ultimate guide to bass

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