The 15 Best Bass Lakes in the US - Places to Fish 2023
The United States is home to some of the best bass lakes in the world, and while there are plenty of options for fishing enthusiasts, it can be difficult to find a good bass lake.
The USA abounds with lakes in general and especially bass fishing lakes. When found, they are some of the best places to bass fish in the world.
Top Bass Lakes in US
Now, let’s dive deeper into more detail about the best bass fishing lakes in the United States.
This list I have created is 15 of the best bass lakes in the US that are perfect for fishing fans looking for a new adventure.
Lake Fork - Texas
Lake Fork Reservoir is located in Wood, Rains, and Hopkins Counties, Texas. It’s one of the most popular premier bass fishing lakes in the US that covers an area of 112 sq. km / 43 sq. mi.
Up to 70% of massive bass ever caught in Texas belongs to the Lake Fork Reservoir. So, if you’re looking for the best place to make your dream of catching a trophy-sized bass come true Lake Fork is the perfect destination.
There are strong regulations about keeping the bass and if your priority is quality over quantity this place is for you. There are different types of big bass, especially common and popular are largemouth, smallmouth, and white bass.
Lake fork offers a comfortable and enjoyable fishing experience and lots of other activities like hunting, tent camping, playing golf, and various water sports. Lake fork also has a great marina and motel that offer amazing services to get your fishing trip going.
Clear Lake - California
Clear lake is located in Lake County, North of Napa County and San Francisco, in the State of California. It’s the oldest lake in North America (2.5 million years).
Clear Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake in California, covering up to 180 sq. km / 69.5 sq. mi with a maximum depth of 18 m / 60 ft.
Clear lake is famous for its massive bass where most anglers come with the determination to catch the biggest trophy-sized bass of their lives.
The most common fish in Clear Lake are largemouth bass, channel catfish, hitch, white bullhead, out of which largemouth bass is the true leader with its demand among fishers.
Despite being named “Clear”, the lake is mostly green from the different types of algae that inhabit the lake. Swimming in Clear Lake is not recommended, it’s not polluted but swimming here frequently causes skin irritation.
Lake Havasu - Arizona
Lake Havasu is located in Mohave County, on the border of California and Arizona, and belongs to Arizona. It’s the most visited lake in Arizona with up to 2.5 million visitors each year.
The fishing season goes all year round and the beautiful rocky areas attract lots of tourists, especially bass fishers as the lake abounds with bass. It was recently ranked in the top bass fishing lakes in the West.
Lake Havasu covers an area of 78 sq. km / 30 sq. mi with a maximum depth of 27 m / 90 ft.
The most popular fish species in Lake Havasu are largemouth, smallmouth, and striped bass. Most anglers come with the goal of catching a lunker largemouth bass.
The water in Lake Havasu is clean and clear, it’s safe to swim.
Sam Rayburn Reservoir - Texas
Sam Rayburn is situated in North of Jasper, in the center of East Texas Piney Woods. It’s upstream of the Big Thicket National Preserve.
Sam Rayburn is the largest reservoir in Texas covering up to 463 sq. km / 179 sq. mi with several islands and islets in it.
Rated number one 1 in 2018 in Bassmaster's 2018 best bass fishing lakes in america. Sam Rayburn Reservoir is one of the best bass fishing lakes for dedicated anglers.
The most common and popular fish found in this lake are largemouth and white bass, crappie, catfish, and many other species, but Sam Rayburn Reservoir is in the top 10 bass fishing premier lakes, so most fishers visit it for bass.
If you’re looking for massive bass, this reservoir will certainly fulfill all your wishes as there are a plethora of largemouth bass and you’ll definitely have a productive fishing trip.
There are 4 marinas on Sam Rayburn Reservoir, so you’ll find everything you might need during your bass fishing trip.
Other than being one of the best bass lakes in US, you can also go hiking in this area that offers different levels of hiking trails. You could also set a camp around the lake with comfort and all the necessary amenities.
Lake Okeechobee - Florida
Lake Okeechobee, also known as Florida’s Inland Sea, is situated in the south-eastern part of Florida.
Okeechobee is the largest freshwater lake in Florida and the third largest in the USA. It covers up to 1,891 sq. km / 730 sq. mi with a maximum depth of 3.7 m / 12 ft.
The most popular fish species in Lake Okeechobee are Largemouth bass, Bluegill, and Redear Sunfish. It seems the lake has an endless supply of largemouth bass as it’s very large. There are always enough space and fish for everyone.
There are many small channels and bays that will help you concentrate on smaller areas to catch trophy-sized bass instead of fishing in the open as it’s more difficult to attract fish. Many inexperienced fishers prefer bass fishing with guides as the lake is too big to move strategically and look for fish in a huge open area.
Candlewood Lake - Western Connecticut
Candlewood Lake is located in Fairfield and Litchfield counties, Western Connecticut. It’s the largest lake in Connecticut covering an area of about 22 sq. km / 8.5 sq. mi and a maximum depth of 27 m / 89 ft. There are numerous islands on the lake with interesting trees and great picnic areas.
The most common and popular fish in Candlewood Lake are Largemouth bass, Smallmouth bass, Brown trout, Rainbow trout, and Brook trout. Fishers mainly come for the smallmouth, which flourishes from the water vegetations in the lake.
You can also swim in Candlewood lake, as it’s clean and the water is clear.
There are lots of rivers and streams that flow from the lake and you can find many interesting areas where you can concentrate on particular spots and fish for bass strategically.
Toledo Bend Reservoir - Texas / Louisiana
Toledo Bend Reservoir is located on the Sabine River, just between Texas and Louisiana. The lake is bounded by stunning rolling hills and pine trees making it true heaven to unwind after a mundane working week. Toledo Bend is great for swimming, the sandy beaches make the area even more beautiful.
Toledo Bend is the largest man-made lake in the south and the fifth largest body of water by surface area in the US.
The most common and popular fish species in the Toledo Bend Reservoir are largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, white bass, striped bass, bluegill sunfish, flathead catfish, channel catfish, crappie, and the list goes on.
Most anglers visit Toledo Bend for bass fishing, especially for black largemouth bass, as the reservoir is one of the best bass lakes in the US because of its abundance of bass, large area, and practical spots for fishers to find bass easily but with a great challenge at the same time.
Toledo Bend has been nominated as the number one bass lake twice in the last 5 years. There are 35 resorts and all the necessary facilities for you to have an unforgettable fishing experience at Toledo Bend Reservoir.
Patoka Lake - Indiana
Patoka Lake is spread across Dubois, Crawford, and Orange Counties in southern Indiana. It’s the second largest lake in the state of Indiana covering over 36 sq. km / 14 sq. mi and a maximum depth of 16 m / 52 ft.
There is a variety of fish species in Patoka Lake. The most common ones are Largemouth bass, white bass, striped bass, walleye, bluegill, Redear sunfish, and longear sunfish. But most people come here for the bass. Especially popular is the striped bass which was introduced in this lake only a few years ago but is growing at a faster rate than imagined.
The best seasons for bass fishing in Patoka Lake are Spring and Fall when it’s cool, neither hot nor cold.
Patoka Lake is the best bass tournament lake in India. It’s mostly known for bass fishing but many people also come for boating, hiking, camping, and swimming (it’s completely safe to swim here).
Lake Guntersville - Alabama
Guntersville lake is located between Bridgeport and Guntersville, in North Alabama. It’s the largest lake in the state of Alabama covering up to 279 sq. km / 108 sq. mi and a maximum depth of 18 m / 59 ft.
Many anglers will agree that Alabama's Lake Guntersville is one of the best lakes in the US.
The most popular fish species found in Lake Guntersville are Largemouth bass, Striped bass, Smallmouth bass, Spotted bass, White bass, bluegill, black crappie, and common bream.
Guntersville Lake is mostly known for its great supply of massive bass and the dozens of bass tournaments that are held every year.
The best seasons for bass fishing in Guntersville lake are spring when bass are very active, and fall, when bass are getting ready for the winter, swimming around looking for any kind of food. There are lots of great spots in the lake where you can fish easily, concentrating on small areas and catching massive bass (especially largemouth bass) strategically.
Chickamauga Lake - Tennessee
Chickamauga Lake is located in the Counties of Hamilton, Rhea, Meigs, McMinn, and Bradley, in the state of Tennessee. The reservoir along the Tennessee River was created when the Chickamauga Dam was constructed in 1940.
The enormous lake is spread on an area of about 147 sq. km / 57 sq. mi with a maximum depth of 22 m / 72 ft.
Chickamauga Lake abounds with a variety of fish species. Some of the most popular fish are Largemouth bass, Striped bass, Blue catfish, Redear sunfish, and channel catfish.
Chickamauga Lake has everything for bass to flourish, from a cool temperature climate to rocky bottom. The lake is a real heaven for bass fishers with numerous strategic fishing points and a large number of fish.
Chickamauga Lake holds a record in catching the largest bass in the state of Tennessee and also it boasts great bass tournaments which are held several times each year.
Lake Tohopekaliga - Florida
Lake Tohopekaliga, also known as Lake Toho, is located in Osceola County, in the state of Florida.
It’s the biggest lake in the County covering up to 92 sq. km / 36 sq. mi and a maximum depth of as little as 4 m / 13 ft.
The most popular fish that you can catch at Lake Toho are Striped bass, Largemouth bass, Black Crappie, Bluegill, and Walleye. Bass fishers are the most frequent visitors as bass supply is great and there are lots of great areas for fishers to easily locate and hook bass.
It’s a special haven of the bass fishery as 55 some of the biggest trophy-sized bass has been caught here with an average weight of 10-13 pounds / 4.5-6 kg.
The best seasons for bass fishing are spring and fall, but you can find real lunkers in any period in the best bass lakes, such as Lake Toho.
Lake Erie - Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York
Lake Erie is situated right at the border of the USA and Canada. Bounding Ontario, Canada from one side and bordering Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York from the west, south, and east.
Lake Erie is the fourth largest Lake in North America and the eleventh largest in the world. It covers a huge area of up to 25,744 sq. km / 9940 sq. mi with a maximum depth of 64 m / 210 ft.
It abounds with a variety of fish species, the common ones include are Smallmouth bass, Rainbow trout, yellow perch, walleye and largemouth bass. The most popular out of all fish is smallmouth bass, though occasionally largemouth bass are caught.
Lake Erie holds records in the size and quantity of smallmouth bass, with an average weight of 3.6 kg / 8 pounds.
There are many islands in the lake, some of the most popular are South bass island, middle bass island, and north bass island.
Lake Champlain - Vermont and New York
Lake Champlain is also located on the border of Canada and the USA, bounding Quebec, Canadian province and eastern parts of Clinton County and Essex County of the US.
It’s a natural freshwater lake with a surface area of 1,331 sq. km / 514 sq. mi and a maximum depth of 122 m / 400 ft.
Champlain lake holds a plethora of fish species such as Largemouth bass, Smallmouth bass, Rock bass, lake trout, and Atlantic salmon.
There are plenty of strategic areas for you to catch largemouth and smallmouth smoothly. Rocky covers, the Lake Champlain bridge, and natural covers where you can easily find bass, especially in spring.
Lake Champlain has several islands out of which the most popular ones include Valcour Island, Grand Isle, and North Hero Island.
Lake Mille Lacs - Minnesota
Lake Mille Lacs is situated in Millie Lacs, Aitkin, and Crow Wing Counties, in Minnesota, US.
The Lake is shallow but very large with a total surface area of 536 sq. km / 207 sq. mi and a maximum depth of 13 m / 42 ft.
The most rampant fish species in Lake Mille Lacs are Smallmouth bass, yellow perch, Northern pike, Walleye, and many others, but the most popular one is Smallmouth bass.
Mille Lacs translated from French as “thousand lakes”. It stands out from 10,000 lakes situated in the area, mostly because of its great bass supply and strategic places for entertaining bass fishing.
Usually, Spring is the best season for bass fishing, but you can catch smallmouth bass all year round in Mille Lacs Lake.
As the lake is huge, you need to go prepared, knowing the best spots for smallmouth bass. If you’re determined, you’ll definitely catch a trophy-sized bass as the lake abounds with it.
Lake St. Clair - Michigan
Right up there with some of the best bass fishing lakes is St. Clair Lake. Lake St. Claire is located on the border of Canada and the USA, it’s bounded by Ontario, a Canadian Province, and the state of Michigan in the US.
The lake is quite large with a surface area of 1,114 sq. km / 430 sq. mi and a maximum depth of 8.2 m / 27 ft.
Lake St. Clair has a great supply of a variety of fish such as Walleye, Smallmouth bass, crappie, perch, trout, bluegill, rainbow trout, and the list goes on, but it’s mostly known for the abundance of smallmouth bass. The quantity and quality of the bass is equally on a high level in the lake, you can catch a lot of medium-sized smallmouth bass and also some trophy-sized ones.
Lake St. Clair is ideal for family vacations, it has lots of interesting spots where you can easily find smallmouth bass and catch as much as you want.
Which States Have the Best Bass Lakes?
While many states have amazing bass lakes, some have better bass fishing lakes than others. Or I should say, more of them.
For me, the 2 best states for bass fishing are Michigan and Texas.
Texas is outstanding for bass fishing with some of the best bass lakes in the US and the world. With Lakes Toledo Bend, Lake Fork, Lake Allan Henry, Falcon Lake, and Sam Rayburn Its hard not to find a perfect lake in Texas.
The same goes for Michigan which is home to many great lakes for bass fishing including Lake St. Clair, Burt/Mullet Lakes, Bays de Noc, and Saginaw Bay.
Alabama has a bucket list of big bass fishing lakes, including my favorite and number 1 spot Lake Guntersville.
The best bass lakes in Oklahoma include Lake Eufaula, a large Lake with excellent fishing opportunities. Grand Lake Is also perfect for fishing fans with plenty of bass to catch.
Some of Arkansas's best bass lakes include Lake Ouachita, a large body of water that offers excellent fishing opportunities and has been called the "Fishing Capital of America."
In California, Clear Lake is always worth visiting as there's not only great fishing but also plenty of hiking trails and other outdoor activities nearby.
New York is also well known for its largemouth and smallmouth bass fisheries, making it a great destination for avid anglers.
Many people say that Minnesota has one of the best bass fishing Lakes because of the varied habitats and copious populations of fish.
What is the Number 1 Bass Fishing Lake in the US?
Lake Guntersville is the best bass lake in the us.
The first time I was there, I knew it would be my favorite fishing spot. I had been to so many other quality lakes before but this one just felt right.
The water is clear, the fish are plentiful, and you can catch a variety of species that will keep your day interesting and fun.
There's something about Alabama's Lake Guntersville that has made me come back every year since my first trip there - it's truly an amazing place to visit if you're into fishing for big bass!
My Top Ten List:
Here is my top ten list of the best bass fishing lakes in US. Starting at number one:
- Lake Guntersville -Alabama
- Sam Rayburn Reservoir - Texas
- Lake St. Clair - Michigan
- Lake Erie - Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York
- Clear Lake - California
- Lake Fork - Texas
- Lake Okeechobee - Florida
- Toledo Bend Reservoir - Texas/ Louisiana
- Lake Okeechobee - Florida
- Chickamauga Lake - Tennessee
Although I have listed some of the best bass fishing lakes, the list above is by no means exhaustive.
Below are a few honorable mentions and amazing bass fishing lakes you should try if you are near any:
Santee Cooper Lakes - (Marion/Moultrie) South Carolina
Santee Cooper Lake is a great place to catch big bass. The lake has plenty of shoreline and shallow water areas for the fish to enjoy, so they're plentiful!
The Santee Cooper State Park offers many different fishing locations, including boat ramps and piers.
You can also find some good fishing spots off Highway 45 in the town of Moncks Corner.
If you are looking for some other types of fish, just head over to nearby rivers where you will find crappie, bluegill, catfish, and more!
Falcon Lake, Texas
Falcon Lake is a reservoir located in the southeastern region of Texas. This lake has a huge bass fishing population that may be one of the reasons why many fishermen love to spend their time there. The water temperature of Flacon lake stays at about 80 degrees year-round, which is perfect for catching largemouth. The lake also has popular species including Channel cats and White bass.
Thousand Islands (St. Lawrence River)
Bass fishing is a great sport to take up in the Thousand Islands region of New York State.
The St. Lawrence River provides many different areas for bass fishing, and it's easy to have a good time catching fish.
The St. Lawrence River has a vast ecosystem with many different types of fish and aquatic life, which makes it a great place for fishing enthusiasts who enjoy reeling in anything from largemouth bass to northern pike.
This beautiful river has over 200 islands along its banks and many more tributaries branching off into smaller waterways making for excellent sporting opportunities all year round!
Lake Coeur d'Alene - Idaho
Lake Coeur d’Alene is a beautiful freshwater lake in Idaho, which offers a variety of fishing opportunities. Bass fishing is particularly popular in Lake Coeur d'Alene.
With its clear waters and abundant underwater vegetation, it's no wonder that this body of water has been recognized as one of the top bass lakes in the country for years.
Lake Coeur d'Alene is the largest lake in Idaho and has a variety of fish species to catch.
The best time for bass fishing in Lake Coeur d'Alene, is during the summer when it gets nice and warm outside.
Lake Murray - South Carolina
Bass fishing in Lake Murray, South Carolina is a great way to spend some time with family and friends.
The lake has many different fish species that provide an excellent challenge for anglers of all skill levels.
Whether you’re looking for a place where you can take the kids out on the boat, or want to find new places to fish with your buddies, there are endless opportunities at Lake Murray.
Ready to Go Bass Fishing?
All the lakes listed above are some of the best bass fishing lakes in US that hold a plethora of largemouth and smallmouth bass.
Most of the lakes are huge, so knowing some great bass fishing spots would help you fish in concentrated areas to have a productive fishing experience, instead of just searching for bass in the open water.
It’s hard to choose just one, but you need to start somewhere. Whether you’re a beginner fisher or an experienced professional, all the best bass lakes that we’ve discussed just now are suitable for you.
Happy bass fishing 🙂