America's Best Bass Fishing 2018 (UPDATED)

America's Best Bass Fishing 2018 (UPDATED)

Looking for the best bass fishing waters all across the America   — near your town, or in another state?

We've collected our 2018 state bass fishing outlooks into one place, where you can check out where the best places are for success this season..

Click the links below to take you to your favorite state's bass fishing outlook.

Alabama Bass Fishing Outlook 2018

bass fishing outlook 2018Alabama offers a lot of great choices for bass anglers, which is probably why it's home to B.A.S.S., as well as many professional bass anglers.

However, at present two lakes really stand out for anglers, one in the northern counties, one in the southeast.

Here's a look at the lakes Guntersville and Eufaula.

A big year-class of bass is expected over the next couple of years at Guntersville. While the numbers might be down, Eufaula still produces larger bass for anglers.

Click the headline or image to read the entire outlook for your state.

Arkansas Bass Fishing Outlook 2018

bass fishing outlook 2018The beauty of fishing in Arkansas is that we have so many different kinds of water in so many different kinds of environments.

Consider the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains, the Gulf Coastal Plain, the Mississippi River Delta, and the Arkansas River Valley. If you want variety, you can find it within an hour's drive in any direction.

You won't go wrong targeting largemouths or smallmouths on these great Arkansas bass fishing waters.

Here's how a few successful Arkansas anglers break down their favorite waters.

Click the headline or image to read the entire outlook for your state.

Northern California Bass Fishing Outlook

bass fishing outlookThese record-producing NoCal bass fishing hotspots are among the top picks for the months to come.

We had another great winter if you are into rainy days. But, it was critical when it comes to the lakes up and down all of California. Lake levels are rising. We are, for the most part, out of the drought, at least for now.

Hopefully your local lake is back to the level you are used to seeing it at. This should get a lot of anglers motivated to go fishing this spring and summer.

Click the headline or image to read the entire outlook for your state.

Also Read: California Smallmouth Bass Trophy Destinations 2018

Desert Bass Fishing Outlook 2017

bass fishing outlookSouthern Utah. Where Cecil B. DeMille and John Ford came to film all those shoot 'em up Westerns years ago. In fact, so many movies were shot in the red rock around Kanab that it become known as Little Hollywood.

Contrast all that rock with the forested Wasatch Mountains to the north. To the west is Nevada, equally geographically diverse. Much of northern Nevada is mid-latitude steppe bisected by mountain ranges where miners still dig for gold. Down south, where sand and rock is watered by the Colorado River, gold is mined by the glittering lights and glitz of Las Vegas and Laughlin. Point and counterpoint.

North and south of both states offer impoundments — some huge and some almost intimate — where largemouth and smallmouth bass await the desert angler. What follows are some top choices for bass-angling action.

Click the headline or image to read the entire outlook for your state.

Florida Bass Fishing Outlook 2018

bass fishing outlook 2018Bass rule Florida's lakes, ponds and other waterways during spring. From meandering deep-woods rivers to residential golf course water hazards, bass are accessible and eager to strike.

For anglers chasing that catch of a lifetime, this is also the time to hook into trophies, typically large, breeding females. 

Florida's freshwater fisheries comprise 3 million acres of lakes, ponds and reservoirs, and approximately 12,000 miles of fishable rivers, streams and canals, all teeming with the most popular gamefish in North America. 

Frigid conditions have been seen all the way to the Gulf Coast this winter, but it's not too early to think about spring bass fishing. Maybe it's time to plan a Florida bass fishing trip.

Click the headline or image to read the entire outlook for your state.

Georgia Bass Fishing Outlook 2018

bass fishing outlookBass anglers in Georgia are lucky to have many options, with 32 large lakes and 21 rivers, all with public access and good fishing.

Even better, anglers can catch 10 separate species of black bass as identified by the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division. The WRD even has a special "Georgia Bass Slam" awards program for anglers catching five of the 10 species. 

Of all the species available, largemouth and spotted bass are the most popula

Regardless of the time of year, Georgia bass fishing can be excellent. Here are five waters anglers should consider in 2018.

Click the headline or image to read the entire outlook for your state.

Illinois Bass Fishing Outlook 2018

bass fishing outlook 2018Perhaps a key to successful Illinois bass fishing is to go where the bass go. Location, location, location.

Although all bass are point-oriented, the successful angler should remain flexible in his approach. Bass tend to concentrate in areas with some structure, regardless of depth. The depth at which they stage is determined by water temperatures.

It is important to seek out lakes, reservoirs and rivers that have a reputation of producing bass fishing action. Here are some in the Land of Lincoln for your consideration. 

Click the headline or image to read the entire outlook for your state.

 Indiana Bass Fishing Outlook 2018

bass fishing outlookPerhaps most important to the bass angler this time of year is paying attention to the surroundings.

Weather plays a vital part in selecting bass fishing locations. In spring, you desire a long sustained warming trend to raise water temperatures into the comfort zone of the bass.

Any change in air temperatures affects the activities of bass. Several days of warm temperatures followed by several days of cold weather is a negative change which hurts any bass-fishing patterns.

Wind and rain sometimes hurt your chances of locating lots of bass.

Click the headline or image to read the entire outlook for your state.

Iowa Bass Fishing Outlook 2018

bass fishing outlookThe names of certain lakes in Iowa come up frequently among largemouth bass anglers: West Lake Okoboji, Lake Belva Deer and Lake Anita, to name a few. Amateur bass anglers often make the mistake of thinking they have to travel to those "name" lakes to catch lots of bass, big bass, or lots of big bass.

Just because a local lake isn't one the bass hotspots on the lips of tournament bass anglers doesn't mean it won't produce big bass.

Follow tips about how to catch deep-water bass from Lake Okoboji, and you'll catch more deep-structure bass from Little River Lake, in south central Iowa.

Use clear-water tactics that catch bass from Lake Belva Deer and you'll cash in on the spooky bass lurking in Deep Lakes near Muscatine.

Click the headline or image to read the entire outlook for your state.

Kentucky Bass Fishing Outlook 2018

bass fishing outlookKentucky bass fishing opportunities offer numerous locations to put fish in the boat or on the bank. 

Spring is pretty much here, and even though there might be a little more cold weather, it is still time to start looking into the upcoming bass season.

Bass fisheries across the state do not really fluctuate that much, but they do change somewhat in various waters.

Luckily, there are many places where anglers can pursue black bass.

Check out this state-wide roundup of where the hottest bass action is located.

Click the headline or image to read the entire outlook for your state.

Louisiana Bass Fishing Outlook 2018

bass fishing outlookIn the Bayou State, anglers can pull bass from the water year 'round. Massive impoundments, meandering rivers, ponds and bayous offer many places for bass to hide. Even better, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologists are anticipating a great year of bass fishing consistent with historic trends.

Plenty of rainfall, relatively placid weather patterns during the spawn and a lack of significant variation in weather, population and development in impoundments across the rest of the year, have positively influenced recruitment rates among bass across the state.

Of course, bass come in a variety of shapes and colors from the ubiquitous Florida largemouth to hybrids striped bass and yellow bass to boot. Anglers can anticipate a full year of fast bass action from north to south throughout Louisiana.

Click the headline or image to read the entire outlook for your state.

Lower Plains Bass Fishing Outlook 2018

bass fishing outlookOften overshadowed by their neighbor state of Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska have many a water bass fishermen can ply for sizeable largemouths and bronzebacks.

Although there is no Lake of the Ozarks, Truman Lake, or Table Rock, Kansas and Nebraska can stack up against the best in the region when it comes to putting quality bass in the boat. 

Kansas and Nebraska offers some excellent bass angling opportunities in the coming months, and these locations should not be overlooked by anglers.

Click the headline or image to read the entire outlook for your state.

 Michigan Bass Fishing Outlook 2018

bass fishing outlookThe last Saturday in May in not as significant a date to Michigan anglers as it once was. Michigan bass anglers used to wait with great anticipation for that date, knowing it coincided with bass activity levels spiking, rotund females moving into the shallows to bed, and opening day of our bass season.

Like most states, Michigan has adopted a catch-and-release season that allows bass fanatics to target bass year 'round. Most bass anglers don't kill the bass they catch anyway, and so the opportunity to get on the water as soon as the ice is gone is a major opportunity. Some fishermen, especially out-of-state anglers, like to catch and eat bass.

Either way, the end of May signals it's time to hit the water if your goal is to enjoy some frantic action on Michigan's premier bass lakes.

Click the headline or image to read the entire outlook for your state.

Minnesota Bass Fishing Outlook 2018

bass fishing outlookThe bass in Minnesota don't grow as big as they do in southern parts of the United States.That whole six months of winter thing throws a bit of a wrinkle into the growing season.

But few people would argue with the idea that Minnesota, on the whole, offers bass fishing that's just as good as it is anywhere else. 

Anglers may never catch a double-digit whopper in Minnesota. Our state-record largemouth weighed 8 pounds, 15 ounces, while the record smallmouth weighed 8 pounds. But the tradeoff is the opportunity to fish thousands of lakes with strong bass populations.

Click the headline or image to read the entire outlook for your state.

Mississippi Bass Fishing Outlook 2018

bass fishing outlookMississippi bass fishing offers excellent opportunities available to all, but these four lakes are some of the best to consider.

For many, spring and summer means bass fishing.

As such, it is good that the Magnolia State has so many places where anglers can pursue the most popular fish species in the country.

In fact, regardless of where an angler lives, there is some great bass fishing nearby.

Of course, some anglers are willing to drive a fair distance in search of big bass, as some areas are just plain better than others.

Click the headline or image to read the entire outlook for your state.

Missouri Bass Fishing Outlook 2018

bass fishing outlookPredicting the quality of bass fishing on Missouri lakes each year is similar to listening to a broken record. 

Listening to a broken record can be annoying, but the annual predictions for Missouri bass fishing are, in fact, pleasing to the ears of Show Me State anglers. Every year local experts and Missouri Department of Conservation fisheries biologists seem to predict good to great fishing for the bass waters throughout the state — and 2018 appears to be another banner year. 

Lakes and streams throughout the state will provide both numbers of bass and quality bass this spring. Here's a prognosis from the experts on the fishing at the top bass waters throughout the state.

Click the headline or image to read the entire outlook for your state.

New England Bass Fishing Outlook 2018

Smallmouth Bass (Shutterstock image)

There was a time when black bass were looked down upon throughout much of New England.

For years after their introductions in the mid-and-late 1800s most states had no length, bag and weight limits on bass, nor any closed season or meaningful angling regulations until the turn of the century. All that has changed.

Click the headline or image to read the entire outlook for your state.

New York Bass Fishing Outlook 2018

Bass love structure, so begin your search there.</p><p>Photo By Ron Sinfelt

Fishermen 100 years ago would have cringed at the thought that bass, not trout, would rise to the top as the state's most sought-after game fish.

It was not even 40 years ago when avid trout, salmon and steelhead anglers would toss a 5-pound smallmouth onto the bank to feed the raccoons. Now, bass of both species rule and the future of bass fishing in the Empire State continues to look better with each passing year.

Fishermen can congratulate themselves for maintaining a catch-and-release ethic that began in the early 1970s and now takes center stage whenever a discussion about bass management techniques and strategies comes to the fore. It only makes sense — catch them, enjoy them, photograph them and release them.

Click the headline or image to read the entire outlook for your state.

North Carolina Bass Fishing Outlook 2018

bass fishing outlook 2018Fishing for largemouths, smallmouths and spotted bass in North Carolina should be improved during 2018. Even though the state was hit by three Atlantic storms, this time — unlike in the past — damage to fisheries was negligible.

Normally when a flood-producing hurricane hits eastern North Carolina, it creates fish kills. In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew dropped 15.65 inches of rain, causing floods from Brunswick County through Robeson County, breaking Hurricane Hazel's (1954) storm-surge record. But the hurricane's effect on freshwater fish, particularly largemouth bass, was negligible.

Bass numbers have continued to expand in North Carolina lakes and rivers since Hurricane Irene in 2011, according to reports from WRC fisheries biologists.

Click the headline or image to read the entire outlook for your state.

Northern Plains Bass Fishing Outlook 2018

bass fishing outlookThe Dakotas get a lot of notoriety across the country for many things. Fantastic hunting and awesome vacation destinations are but two of the most well-known. One of the things not as widely known is how great the bass fishing is in the region's northern plains. Local anglers certainly are aware there are some fantastic bass fishing opportunities in the Dakotas for largemouths and smallmouths.

Black bass populations typically are not as cyclical as some other species of sport fish. Even so, there are swings up and down due to spawning success, water level fluctuations, availability of forage and other factors.

To set the tone for the 2018 bass fishing season, we talked with fishery biologists, pro anglers and guides, and looked at creel and sampling data to get an idea of where to find the best bass fishing this year.

Click the headline or image to read the entire outlook for your state.

Ohio Bass Fishing Outlook 2018

bass fishing outlookSome great largemouth and smallmouth fishing awaits Ohio bass fishing anglers this spring.

April means springtime for Ohio folks, and springtime means bass fishing for many of those who fish the Buckeye State.

Fortunately, the options are many, from sprawling low-land reservoirs to meandering streams.

Read our 2018 outlook to learn more some of our state's best choices for bass fishing this year, backed up by recent survey data by the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

Click the headline or image to read the entire outlook for your state.

Oklahoma Bass Fishing Outlook 2018

bass fishing outlookRegardless of your opinion about tournament bass fishing, the Bassmaster Classics held on Grand Lake O' The Cherokees in 2013 and 2016 demonstrated to the world the excellence of Oklahoma's bass fishing.

Cliff Pace won the 2013 Classic with a three-day weight of 54 pounds, 12 ounces. Edwin Evers, a native Oklahoman, won the 2016 Classic with a three-day weight of 60 pounds, 7 ounces.

The latter was the fourth heaviest winning weight in Classic history, but it ranks third in the three-day, five-fish limit era. 

No matter how you slice it, an average limit of 15 pounds per day — or 3 pounds per fish — is rock solid.

Click the headline or image to read the entire outlook for your state.

Pennsylvania Bass Fishing Outlook 2018

(Photo by Ron Sinfelt)

Pennsylvania is blessed with a wide assortment of bass-fishing venues. The big waters such as Wallenpaupack, Raystown, Youghiogheny, Shenango, Blue Marsh and Pymatuning meet the needs of those who like their bass fishing on a grander scale.

Medium to smaller-sized impoundments offer bassin' on a more intimate level, and often feature even higher bass densities.

And flowing waters of the three major river drainages add the "river smallie" bass element, from the main rivers themselves to their many tributaries.

"Generally speaking, there should be good bass fishing in most waters across the state," one expert noted. "The assessments that fisheries managers have carried out have shown average to above-average densities. That includes the rivers — the Allegheny, the Susquehanna, the Delaware and their major tributaries. That's a good thing."

Click the headline or image to read the entire outlook for your state.

South Carolina Bass Fishing Outlook 2018 

bass fishing outlook 2018South Carolina bass fishing remains excellent throughout the state. Here's how the fisheries are at some top locations.

Quality black bass fishing is available year-round in South Carolina. Spring — roughly, February through May — ranks as a highly popular time to fish, but it's not the only time you can catch bass.

According to Ross Self, Chief of Fisheries for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), there aren't many problems with black bass fisheries in the state.

Self said that despite high pressure on so many lakes and rivers, the black bass fisheries are thriving and producing at elevated levels.

Click the headline or image to read the entire outlook for your state.

Southwestern Bass Fishing Outlook 2018

bass fishing outlook 2018Anglers in Arizona and New Mexico have a real shot at hooking a double-digit lunkers at these top Southwest bass fishing destinations.

Keep on keeping on — a saying that's been used in many different settings — properly describes largemouth bass fishing in the states of New Mexico and Arizona.

The 2016 snowpack was substantially above average in some areas, and the 2017 Southwest Monsoon was threatening record rain as well, allowing reservoirs to restore to more normal water levels.

That bodes well for all fish and fishermen. It will indeed be a good year if the area experiences normal summer temperatures. Now, let's take a look at some top spots for bass anglers to target in the months to come.

Click the headline or image to read the entire outlook for your state.

Tennessee Bass Fishing Outlook 2018

bass fishing outlook

Whether fishing a TVA impoundment, a free-flowing river or even a creek almost small enough to jump across, there is something special about watching a bass blow up on a topwater plug, or feeling one inhaling a plastic worm.

And Tennessee has many choices in which to pursue largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass.

Of course, to understand what might happen in 2018, anglers have to look at what happened in previous years. Overall, 2016 and 2017, were a bit strange, particularly in east Tennessee. A record drought in 2016 certainly affected fish, followed by a record flood in the spring of 2017, just as largemouth were beginning the spawn.

In many cases, the long-range effects on the population is still to be determined, but the short-term effects were instantaneous, as bass anglers had to change tactics in order to be successful.

Click the headline or image to read the entire outlook for your state. 

Texas Bass Fishing Outlook 2018 

bass fishing outlookOf course, we can't talk about Texas bass fishing without giving Lake Fork some recognition.

The lake has produced 257 ShareLunker entries — the most of any lake in the state. This also is a lake that has produced two state-record bass.

Lake Fork fishing guide Mark Stevenson is one of the most famous fishermen in Texas due to his catch of Ethel, a 17.67-pound largemouth that broke the previous state record and became the first entry into the ShareLunker program.

He caught that monster bass on Nov. 26, 1986. She was 27.5 inches long.

Click the headline or image to read the entire outlook for your state.

Virginia Largemouth Bass Fishing Outlook 2018

bass fishing outlookWherever anglers live in Virginia, they're not far from some very good largemouth bass fishing.

Here's our annual assessment of some of the top fisheries in each region of the state —  where they are and how to catch them.

The waters we highlight are obviously well ranked and great destinations. For largemouth anglers who want to enjoy great success these waters just might hold the key to a great fishing season.

Click the headline or image to read the entire outlook for your state.

Also read: Virginia Smallmouth Bass 2018 Outlook

Washington-Oregon Bass Fishing Forecast 2018

bass fishing outlook

The Pacific Northwest isn't all salmon and steelhead. Unbeknownst to many, the sister states of Washington and Oregon feature some of the finest bass fishing to be found anywhere in the nation.

Need proof? How about the Evergreen State's 12.53-pound record largemouth caught in 2016 by Bill Evans in Snohomish County's Lake Bosworth.

Or the 8.75-pound Columbia River smallmouth, that record standing for more than half a century now. And Oregon's no slouch when it comes to book-making bass, not with her 12.1-pound largemouth and 8.1-pound smallie. From the Pend Oreille River to the Washington coast and from the Snake to Oregon's Umpqua River, the Pacific Northwest offers plenty of opportunity for those willing to stop fishing for salmon and steelhead. At least for a little while.

Click the headline or image to read the entire outlook for your state.

West Virginia Bass Fishing Forecast 2018

bass fishing outlookIn general, black bass are a species that pretty much takes care of itself. Unlike trout, walleyes and muskies, which in some cases need a boost in the form of stocking, bass populations tend to be self-sustaining. Exceptions to this include situations where bass numbers are being reintroduced, perhaps in waters where pollution decimated the fishery. 

This doesn't mean that the resource managers responsible for the state's bass fisheries coast. During the past several years, the WVDNR has been involved in several programs that directly affect (or examine) the bass fishing.

One of these projects was a largemouth bass tagging study. The object of the effort was, according to WVDNR, to determine the percent of largemouth bass caught and/or harvested annually, the influence of catch and harvest, and the influence of regulations on harvest.

Click the headline or image to read the entire outlook for your state.

Note: This file will be updated with more state outlooks as the fishing season progresses.

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