Top 10 Fishing Hotspots

Lake Fork, Texas

The king of all freshwater gamefish is the largemouth bass, the most sought after species in North America. Part of that is because the fish is found throughout most of the U.S., but mostly it's because they're relatively easy to catch and they put up a fun fight.

There are so many amazing bass lakes in the U.S. that a top 50 list would leave some anglers wondering why a certain lake was left off, let alone a top 10 list. But nevertheless, here are 10 undeniably awesome lakes for bass fishing, including some mention for smallmouths.

Learn More: For a list of the top trophy fish destinations in the U.S., including shark and redfish, click here.

Lake Fork, TexasEd Carter holding up a Texas ShareLunker bass from Lake Fork, 14.25 pounds.Larry D. Hodge, © Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Texas is arguably the greatest state for bass fishing, deep enough to make a sizable list in its own right. For the first of three Texas lakes on this list, we start with Lake Fork. More state-record bass have been caught on this 27,690-surface-acre body of water than anywhere else in Texas. While the amount of bass on this lake is unparalleled in Texas, finding bass over 10 pounds can be a little tough. Patience is key, but the rewards are worth it. As this lake is only a couple hours east of Dallas, Fork Lake receives a lot of fishing pressure, so be prepared to share some water space with other anglers.


Located on the Texas/Mexico border, Falcon Lake has undergone a renaissance over the last decade to become one of the best bass fishing lakes in North America. It’s hard to beat the amount of trophy-sized, 10-pound bass or greater found in this reservoir. The tough part is that changing water levels can make enticing bass tricky, and some of the wind that makes its way through the area doesn’t help either. But when this lake is on, you best be ready for a workout.

Tournament Fishing: Check out Mark Pena overcoming the odds to win the final Skeeter Bass Champs event of the regular season on Falcon lake here.

O.H. Ivie, Texas

West Texas is a more popular region for bass fishing, but on the east side the O.H. Ivie Reservoir ranks right up there with the best lakes in the state for whopper-sized bass. Because it is still kind of a secret, it doesn’t receive near the amount of fishing pressure as Falcon or Fork. There’’s many 10-pounders out there waiting to be caught, and it is believed that catching a state record over 15 pounds is entirely possible on this reservoir. The lake offers plenty of cover, but some of the best fishing is out in deeper water at around 25 feet.

Big Game Fishin': Learn more about why OH Ivie is a hotspot for fishing here.

Table Rock Lake, Missouri

A very popular choice for tournaments, used commonly by both B.A.S.S. and FLW tours. Part of the reason is that fishing here is good year-round, and also because it’s not just the largemouth that gets attention on this lake. Both smallmouth and spotted bass are in great abundance on Table Rock Lake, making a trifecta of excellent bass fishing possibilities for this southern Missouri lake. The lake is well known for its deep water bass fishing from the summer season right through until December.

Tournament: American Fishing Tour bass tournament held on Table Rock Lake results here.

Lake Guntersville, Alabama

Guntersville is another lake that sees a lot of tournament action, again due in part to the sheer number of bass swimming the depths. Fishing here is at its best in late winter, and certainly the time that sees the most action from trophy hunters. However, unlike some of the other lakes on this list, catching a good amount of decent sized bass is very difficult. Practice makes perfect on this lake and – for success on Guntersville, finding the right place at the right time with the right technique is more important than other bass lakes.

Castaic Lake, California

Located 25 miles north of Los Angeles, this lake is a popular destination for boaters, swimmers, and of course, trophy bass anglers. Catching a fish in the 12-15 pound range is not too uncommon, but that isn’’t what makes Castaic Lake so special. How about the chance for a world record? Nowhere in the United States will you find a lake that produces so many bass over 20 pounds. Catching such a monster is very rare, but entirely possible on Castaic.

Winning Spots: Looking for more hotspots in California? Check out our top 10 spots to fish in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Lake Okeechobee, Florida

Brandon McMillan at the weigh-in of the FLW Lake Okeechobee 2011 season opener.Brett Carlson / FLW

Recently the site of the FLW Tour season opener, Lake Okeechobee has more than enough bass in its waters to appease the number of anglers that fish it. The biggest lake in Florida, Okeechobee is filled with largemouth. Unlike Guntersville and Castaic, Okeechobee produces monster fish, while at the same time carries more than enough smaller-sized bass to keep the excitement level at a premium.

Learn More: Find out more about the best spots to fish in Florida .


Lake Ouachita, Arkansas

The biggest lake in the state of Arkansas, Ouachita is not only consistently ranked among the top ten in bass fishing lakes by numerous lists, but considered by the Environmental Protection Agency to be one of the cleanest lakes in the country. Surrounded by national forests, this pristine lake is often the site of big-time fishing tournaments – including the FLW Forrest Woods Cup later this year, one of the biggest tournaments in the world. The lake is just as well-known for its striped bass fishery as well.

Lake Erie

Largemouth bass get all the glory in the U.S., but this list will show a little love for its less popular cousin, the smallmouth. While picking the very best largemouth bass lake is open for debate, it’’s hard to deny Lake Erie’s status as the ultimate for smallmouth bass anywhere in the world. It’s not just the size of fish that makes Lake Erie so good, it’’s also how widespread they are throughout the great lake. During the pre-spawn if you happen to find a rocky structure with a drop-off, there’’s likely to be a school of smallies swimming around.

Winning Technique: Check out episode 12 of Bob Izumi’s Real Fishing show for some trips and tricks for fishing Lake Erie here.

Lake Champlain, Vermont-New York

Lake Champlain is a popular destination for anglers because both smallmouth and largemouth are in great abundance. Having that variety is an attractive quality. For example, if a cold front seems to scare away the largemouth, smallies may still be willing for a snack. Or better yet, a perfect day where both species are biting, and it’’s up to you to decide what you feel like targeting. At 112 miles long, there are plenty of enough bass spots for everyone.

Watch Video: Lunkerville on ice at Lake Champlain here.

North America is filled with prime bass lakes, to find the time to fish all of the best ones would be impossible. A better idea is to pick a few of them and really get to them, that way you can get the most production possible. Who knows, with a little patience and practice, you could one day reel in a record bass.

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