If you haven’t jumped on the bass fishing bandwagon yet, can you really call yourself a fisherman? No offense, but catching sunfish is a bit… 2004. Nothing beats the feeling of hauling a largemouth into the boat, wide-eyed and flopping as you proudly hoist your prize in front of the camera.
Spots for Bass
Lake Guntersville, AlabamaThe largest lake in the state, Guntersville is located in a 6,000-acre park that offers golf, hiking trails and even a resort lodge with a full-service restaurant.
Mille Lacs, MinnesotaNamed one of the best locations for smallmouth bass fishing, Mille Lacs is open year-round. The destination has miles of hiking and bicycling trails.
Clear Lake, CaliforniaAt 68 square miles, Clear Lake is the biggest natural freshwater lake in California. More than 60 percent of the fish caught there are largemouth bass.
Chickamauga LakeCreated in 1940 after the construction of the Chickamauga Dam, this lake is almost 60 miles long and features 810 miles of shoreline.
Sam Rayburn Reservoir, TexasThis lake is located on the Angelina River and has a surface area of 114,500 acres. Waters reach a depth of up to 80 feet.
Lake St. Clair, MichiganWith 160 miles of shoreline and more than 430 square miles of water, Lake St. Clair is shared between the United States and Canada.
Santee Cooper Lakes, South CarolinaThis system of lakes stretches across five counties and feature a cumulative 450 miles of shoreline.
Falcon Lake, TexasPart of Falcon State Park, this reservoir sits along the Texas-Mexico border and spans 84,000 acres.
Diamond Valley Lake, CaliforniaSouthern California’s lifeline during drought season, Diamond Valley Lake is able to meet the region’s water needs for up to six months.
Toledo Bend Reservoir, Texas and LouisianaThis reservoir has a surface area of 181,600 acres, and waters reach a maximum depth of up to 110 feet.
From east coast to west, fishermen across the United States are joining the bass fishing fan club. In fact, most are willing to pack up the coolers and tackle boxes, jump in the truck and hit the road just to join one of several professional fishing tournaments. If we’ve described you to a T, then you’re the perfect bass fishing candidate.
Stop asking yourself, “Where is the best bass fishing?” and get ready to catch some prized bass. Check out the 10 best fishing destinations for catching bass across America and start planning your next trip! What are you waiting for?
1. Guntersville Lake, Alabama
If there was ever a heaven for bass fishing, it would be Guntersville Lake. Fishermen can’t get enough of this beautiful bass-filled body of water. It’s the largest lake in Alabama, leaving plenty of fish for serious bass fishermen and newbies alike.
Show off your fishing finesse during one of the lake’s yearly competitions. Round out your fishing voyage with a game of golf, daily morning hike or a stay at a swanky lodge-style resort. Who knew fishing could be so posh?
2. Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota
Move over walleye, Mille Lacs is the new runner-up for catching bass. Smallies are at the top of the food chain in these parts. Fishing in the summer sun is fun, but for a real challenge, head to the lake during the winter.
Contrary to popular belief, ice fishing does not refer to fishing with an ice-cold beer (though you could combine the two activities for an interesting experience). The area offers dozens of hotels, campgrounds and resorts, making it an attractive vacation destination.
3. Clear Lake, California
The typical bass fisher enjoys calm waters, sunny days, cold drinks and… 44,000 acres of fishing opportunity? Okay, maybe it’s not that specific. But for fishing as far as the eye can see, head to Clear Lake in California.
Largemouth bass treat it like a Mecca of sorts, giving fishermen the chance to catch a boatload in a day’s work. It’s full of other fish species, too, so don’t worry about ever getting bored. Then again, have you ever heard of a fisherman getting bored of catching keepers? Didn’t think so.
4. Chickamauga Lake, Tennessee
If you ask your grandpa about the best bass fishing in the U.S., he’d mention Chickamauga Lake. But its popularity and destination as a bass fishing paradise have only recently caught on.
Fishermen flock to the Chickamauga Open to test their fishing skills with stripers and the rest. Oh, and don’t worry – you don’t have to pronounce it correctly to be a bass fishing champion.
5. Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Texas
Fishing in Sam Rayburn Reservoir is more of a workout than a leisurely activity. Hauling fish after fish gets pretty tiring. While bragging to your fishing buddies about your success, though, you might want to leave out the fact that it has an unusually high population of largemouth bass. Make sure to read up on which lures other fishermen are having the most luck with and other helpful information to make your trip a success.
6. Lake St. Clair, Michigan
If you want to know where to find bass in Michigan, Lake St. Clair is your answer. It’s small in comparison to its neighbors (the Great Lakes) but it’s chock-full of smallmouth bass.
Impress your Facebook friends with a mean-mugging smallie on your fishing pole, just one of the thousands lurking below the surface. In fact, the population of smallmouths here is one of the highest in the country. Anglers have the most success with dropshot, jerkbait and topwater plugs.
7. Santee Cooper Lakes, South Carolina
If South Carolina was a fisherman, he would enjoy relaxing on a camp chair, beer in hand, while fishing lazily off the coast. Santee Cooper Lakes offers all that and more.
While these lakes might not offer the most competitive bass fishing or biggest bass fish you’d find at other lakes on this list, they still have a few decent keepers. Santee Cooper is known for year-round tournaments, so plan your next trip around a fun event.
8. Falcon Lake, Texas
We’re just going to go ahead and rename this one to Bass Lake. Seeing a falcon is pretty unlikely, but catching one of the thousands of largemouth bass swimming through its channels is almost a guarantee. Falcon State Park is a hub of water sports and summer fun.
It runs along the border between the United States and Mexico and offers legendary bass fishing opportunity. Professional and casual fishermen head to the park for elite tournaments and holiday-themed events. Come for the iconic bass fishing, but stay for the swimming, hiking, water skiing and great weather.
9. Diamond Valley Lake, California
This diamond in the rough (see what we did there?) is always at the top of the “best of” lists for bass fishing. It has a variety of fish to choose from, including large and smallmouth bass. While you can’t keep any smallies, it gives more of an incentive to fish for a bigger keeper.
Expect some competition at this popular site, especially during holiday weekends. If you don’t mind throwing some elbows or bumping boats, you could walk away with the catch of a lifetime.
10. Toledo Bend Reservoir, Texas and Louisiana
Largemouth, white bass and striped bass – oh my! Catch one of each to join an elite squad of fishing pros. The reservoir is accessible from both Texas and Louisiana, making it a popular spot among fishermen from across the south. Aside from incredible bass fishing, Toledo Bend has plenty of catfish, crappie and sunfish.
Keeping a giant bass is a point of pride for most, but the reservoir encourages fishermen to help maintain the population by releasing them. If you catch and release a bass weighing more than 10 pounds, you’ll join the Lunker Program and receive a free replica of the fish.
Where to Find Bass Closer to Home
If the best bass fishing sites are miles away from your home, don’t worry. There are plenty of other awesome fishing sites across the country.
If you’re wondering, “What are the best bass fishing lakes near me?” you’ll be happy to learn about the dozens of options. Lucky for you, bass are worldly fish. They can be found almost anywhere. If you can’t travel to one of the 10 best bass fishing sites, you still have dozens of great options closer to home.
For more details on fishing itineraries, download this informative guide here.
- Did You Know? States across the U.S. offer excellent bass fishing options, with California leading the way with the highest number of top-ranked sites in the country.
Where to find bass in your region if you live in the Northeast:
- St. Lawrence River/Thousand Islands, New York
- Lake Erie, New York and Michigan
- Lake Champlain, New York
Where to find bass in your region if you live in the Northwest:
- Lake Berryessa, California
- California Delta, California
- New Bullard’s Bar Reservoir, California
Bass fishing in the Midwest:
- Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
- Eufaula Lake, Oklahoma
The best bass fishing lakes in the Southeast:
- Lake Fork, Texas
- Lake Amistad, Texas
- Lake Okeechobee, Florida
Download this guide on fishing itineraries to learn more about great fishing opportunities, whether for a day, a weekend or an entire week.