Top Picks

Best lakes for bass fishing

More from Outdoor Living Newsletter July Outdoor Living Newsletter

Americans love bass fishing. Mostly it's because the bass love to play hide-and-seek and are such great fighters. Whether it's the largemouth, the smallmouth, the striped bass or the spotted bass, this fish presents a challenge that American anglers are only too eager to conquer. The bass will give you all it's got just to get off your hook, making the catch exciting as you fight this fish every inch of the way just so it stays on your line.

The black bass can thrive in almost any body of water that is clean enough and has enough food. The U.S. is dotted with lots of bass fishing locations. But where are the best ones? We have picked our eight favorite lakes for bass fishing that you can check out next time you go on a bass fishing holiday.

1.  Lake Guntersville, Alabama

Lake Guntersville is a prime location for lake bass fishing in Alabama. Angling for bass in Lake Guntersville requires some experience and finesse. The lake is not only full of hiding places for bass such as hydrilla and milfoil. Its waters are also quite turbid, with visibility ranging only three to five feet in depth. The stump fields beneath the lake's surface provide a great habitat for the largemouth, and catches here are known to reach 24 inches in length. The best time to go fishing for bass at Lake Guntersville is in late winter.

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Woman holding a striped bass
Have a great time catching bass at the best lakes

2.  Lake Ouachita, Arkansas

Lake Ouachita, home to striped bass, is one of the cleanest lakes in the U.S. The water here is very clear. However, the clarity of the water in Lake Ouachita doesn't mean the bass here are very easy to detect. The lake has a lot of grass and moss beds where the bass typically hide. You can go bass fishing at Lake Ouachita any time of the year, but you'll have an easier time of it in early spring, when the bass move shallow and are susceptible to any lure.

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3.  Lake Okeechobee, Florida

Often the site of major fishing tournaments, Lake Okeechobee in Florida is the place to go if you want to catch monster bass. It's typical for anglers to catch three or four pound bass here, but if you've got the skill and experience, you won't have any trouble catching the really big largemouth here. Fishing in Lake Okeechobee is great any time of the year, but the best time is in early spring, when the bass are jumpy and hungry.

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4.  Lake Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Lake Coeur d'Alene is a fisherman's paradise. It doesn't get so crowded here, unlike in the more popular bass fishing spots like Lake Okeechobee or Lake Falcon, so there are days when it can seem like you have the whole lake to yourself. Still, the consistency of bass fishing here is remarkable. You won't catch the really big bass here, but the average catch is 40 to 50 bass a day, usually largemouth bass and often weighing three or four pounds. You can also fish any time of the year here, even in the summer.

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5.  Lake Erie, Michigan

If your preferred target for bass fishing is the smallmouth, Lake Erie is your dream come true. Lake Erie is the top pick when it comes to smallmouth bass fishing. Go around May and you're bound to leave with a full bag. Or better yet, end the day with a six- or seven-pounder. The smallies are more aggressive that time of the year and frequent the shallows near the lake's shoreline for food. The best spots to catch smallmouth bass are near rocky ledges and rocky bottoms.

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6.  Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota

Lake Minnetonka is the place to go if you want to do some laidback bass fishing, where there is no pressure but there's sure to be a good catch. This lake produces well, often yielding as many as a hundred fish a day, though not all of them may be bass. Lake Minnetonka is great for largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing and the best places to spot them are near the docks and the milfoil beds. As long as the weather is clear, you can end the day with a catch.

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7.  Lake Champlain, New York

Lake Champlain is a favorite among professional bass anglers, mainly because of the variety this lake provides. On a good day, you can have both largemouth and smallmouth going for your lures. It's even possible for you to catch bass weighing at least 10 pounds on a really good day. The locals recommend concentrating on a specific spot on the lake for catching bass. The Ticonderoga area of Lake Champlain is quickly gaining a reputation for some great largemouth catches, big enough to challenge the supremacy of Lake Okeechobee and Lake Falcon when it comes to largemouth bass fishing. The best time to visit Lake Champlain is in the spring.

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8.  Falcon Lake, Texas

Falcon Lake entered a state of decline due to overfishing and low water levels, but rehabilitation efforts have given it a new life. It is once again a favorite among largemouth bass fishing enthusiasts. Anglers have repeatedly broken bass fishing records at Falcon Reservoir, and it's not strange to boat a 13-pound bass here. You can go bass fishing at Falcon Lake at any time of the year except in the summer.

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In the U.S., you won't run out of great places to fish for bass. So pack your rods and tackle boxes and drive your RV to these great lakes for bass fishing.

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