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10 Best Bass Fishing States

10 Best Bass Fishing States
Viktor Hlbuen fought for 90 minutes before reeling in the 700-pound beast. Image via YouTube

Do you want to fish the 10 best bass fishing states? Prepare to put a serious dent in your frequent–flyer miles. You will have to cover over 9,000 miles traveling from the West Coast to East Coast and fishing everywhere in between.

Your trip would begin with flying off to California. It's the only West Coast state to be on the list. California is the one state where you have an opportunity to catch a world record largemouth, spotted bass or trophy sized smallmouth.

From there it's on to the East Coast stopping in New York and Florida. Smallies have an unquenchable appetite once the ice out happens in New York. While waiting for the thaw grab your gear and fly down to Florida for giant largemouth spawning.

The journey would also take you to Michigan out on Lake Erie for some of the best smallmouth fishing anywhere. However, from there it all goes south to Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas. All states having an extended growing season for maximum growth.


There's no denying the big bass records. 'The climate, water quality, lack of fishing pressure and large staple of forage like hitch and trout for the largemouth or the Kokanee for spotted bass is the reason why California reservoirs dominate the record books, ' said professional tournament angler Fred Contaoi.


'Smallmouth grow big because there's plentiful food sources of baitfish and crawfish, relatively low fishing pressure from anglers specifically targeting smallmouth and clear, deep reservoirs. I believe Pickwick or another Tennessee River reservoir has the best opportunity of producing the next world record smallie, ' said Nathan Light, Host of 3Boutdoor TV show.


It's renowned for Southern hospitality and big bass in TVA impoundments. 'We have around 15 communities we work with promoting bass fishing in Alabama. Most of these cities are waiving boat launch fees before ABT Tournaments or improving the launch facilities in their respective communities, ' said Kay Donaldson, Program Director of Alabama Bass Trail.

New York

When not iced over, New York has 50,000 miles of rivers and 7,500 lakes loaded with bass. Lake Champlain boast a health population of smallmouth and largemouth. For trophy smallmouth head to the Niagara River. Best overall fishing experience check out the pristine Finger Lakes in upstate New York.


Smallmouth rule the Great Lakes and connecting waters. Best opportunity for hooking a trophy sized one is the southeastern coast. Special consideration should also be given to the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers. If the weather is nasty go fishing on Big Pine Lake or the other small lakes across Michigan.


In a state where everything is bigger and better it won't come as a surprise they are trying to breed giant largemouth bass. Offspring of ShareLunker program and Operation World Record continue to show promise that it's possible. Over 548 largemouth weighing over 13 pounds have been donated to ShareLunker program.


For quality and quantity no angler would go wrong fishing Lake Okeechobee. The legendary bass factor continues to produce big bass year after year. Other lakes anglers should consider fishing are Lake Toho, Lake Istokpoga or Rodman Reservoir. One overlook jewel for huge bass is Lake Tarpon Springs.


Largemouth grow big in Georgia, but it's the spotted bass that bring thousands of anglers to its waters. Clark's Hill Lake has good fishing, but in the spring it can be fantastic when blueback herring are spawning. Lake Sinclair, Lake Oconee and Lake Lanier also have good numbers of quality fish.


Although well-known for its shallow, stained water reservoirs like Grand Lake and Lake Eufaula, Oklahoma really has several options when it comes to bass fishing. Broken Bow and Tenkiller Ferry Lake with beautiful blue waters have a healthy population of big smallmouth, spotted bass and largemouth that bite year round.


The Natural State is blessed with large impounds like Bull Shoals and Lake Ouachita loaded with bass along with the Arkansas River. However, its great treasures are Crooked Creek and the Buffalo National River. Both are designated as Blue Ribbon smallmouth streams populated with big, feisty smallmouth in crystal clear streams.

Bass fishing records back up your itinerary. California has 20 of the top 25 biggest largemouth, six of the 10 biggest spotted bass and two smallmouth over nine pounds. Tennessee is the smallmouth capital with 14 of the top 25 biggest.

Record sized spotted bass on the other hand were spread across the United States from California to Georgia.

Other states on the list rank high on destinations where anglers travel to catch trophy and numbers of quality-sized bass. The longer season with no ice profoundly influenced the list.

States on the list did have one thing in common. A proactive state fisheries department involved in adding cover, stocking bass fry, controlling invasive aquatic vegetation or non-indigenous aquatic species. Plus an active tourism department courting anglers to visit.

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