Top Places for Bass Fishing in Washington

Top Places for Bass Fishing in Washington
Photo By Jeff Samsel

With spring quickly springing, the bass fishing on various rivers and lakes will heat up soon. Washington waters offer many excellent options for days spent catching largemouths or smallmouths. We've selected three that are extra intriguing. Here are your best bets for bass fishing in Washington.

Duo Realis Crankbait M65-8A

Length: 2 1/2 inches
Weight: 1/2 ounce
Depth: 8 feet

A highly detailed crankbait, the M65 confronts bass with a realistic baitfish appearance plus sound generated by a metal plate and steel ball. Available in two models and a variety of colors, this crankbait is effective in both stained and clear water.

Price: $12.99

Sebile Action First Bull Crank

Length: 2 1/2 inches
Weight: 1/2 ounce
Depth: 4-7 feet

Patrick Sebile's Bull Crank is an excellent lure, especially at that low price point of $6.95. The Xternal weight system helps to keep a low center of gravity, dig deep, and stay on track, reducing the need to tune. It features a wide body to increase visual presence.

Price: $6.95

Storm Arashi Silent Square Bill

Length: 2 1/8 inches
Weight: 1/2 ounce
Depth: 3 feet

The Square Bill's self-tuning line tie lets you burn it and still have it track straight. The circuit board lip provides strong vibration up the line and helps the lure deflect well in cover, especially downed trees.

Price: $8.99

Gary Yamamoto Chikara

Length: 2 1/2 inches
Weight: 1/2 ounce
Depth: 2-4 feet

This popularly-priced, rattle-equipped crankbait is designed to be worked through heavy cover and still get the job done. The Chikara features internal 3D holographic foiling that provides flash and cannot be chipped. The lure's value is enhanced by Mustad Triple Grip treble hooks.

Price: $7.99

Strike King KVD-1-5-Flat Side

Length: 2 ¼ inches
Weight: 3/8 ounce
Depth: 8-10 feet

This flat-side crankbait has a good thumping action and a tight wobble, and that means it's a great crankbait for cooler months or highly pressured lakes. Adding some weight to the hooks helps to cast the relatively light Flat Side on baitcasting gear, especially in windy situations.

Price: $5.79

Rapala Scatter Rap Crank

Length: 2 inches
Weight: 5/16 ounce
Depth: 6-8 feet

On a medium or slow retrieve, the Rap Crank is amazing: it tracks straight, then pops laterally and juts back onto the original track, ready for the waiting strike.

Price: $8.99

Spro Baby Fat John 50

Length: 2 inches
Weight: 3/8 ounce
Depth: 0-2 feet
Spro Baby Fat John 50

This smaller version of the established Fat John effectively imitates smaller forage, and works on spotted and smallmouth bass as well as largemouth. It runs shallow at any speed, and its fiberglass lip makes it kick out and 'hunt ' frequently before returning to true.

Price: $12.03

Bass Pro Shops XPS Square Bill

Length: 2 1/2 inches
Weight: 3/8 ounce
Depth: 5 feet

It's a good-looking lure, and fine quality for a hard-to-beat price. The XPS rattle is subdued, which is nice for spooky bass. The oval split on the line tie helps it run straight and avoid line slipping between rings.

Price: $4.29

Megabass Knuckle Jr

Length: 2.2 inches
Weight: 3/8 ounce
Depth: 1-3 feet

You'll be a megafan of Megabass lures because of their innovation and uncanny attention to detail. The Knuckle Jr.'s two-position adjustable bill really gives you two lures in one, making it easier to swallow the premium price.

Price: $4.29

Livetarget Bait Ball Square Bill

Length: 2 3/8 inches
Weight: 1/2 ounce
Depth: 3-4 feet

The Bait Ball is a crankbait with realistic 3D baitfish bodies inside the main body. The smaller lures inside cleverly mimic a school of shad. This crankbait casts very well and has a tighter wobble than most square bills, making it a perfect crank for clear water.

Price: $14.99

Potholes Reservoir

Is Potholes Reservoir better for largemouths or smallmouths? Depends who you ask. That's a good thing, of course, because a fine argument really could be made for either. Largemouths are prevalent around the sand dunes in the lake's upper end and are probably more numerous overall. Smallmouths abound around rocky areas through the lake's lower end, though, and both species grow to large sizes in this 28,000-acre impoundment in the center of the state. During the spring, when largemouths are shallow and aggressive, keep a crankbait, a lipless crankbait and spinnerbait handy and cover plenty of water. For smallies, focus on rock with a jig and craw trailer.

Columbia River

The Columbia is an interesting case. It's smallmouth offerings are nationally famous, and anglers travel from across the country to spend a couple of days enjoying fast action from chunky fish, with hopes of a genuine jumbo. That said, most river sections get only modest pressure from local bass fishermen. The fishery is so vast and diverse that anglers spread out and they fish for a variety of species. Anglers who know the Columbia sometimes enjoy triple-digit catch days during May and June, when the smallmouths spawn. Key areas are protected from strong currently by islands, cuts in the banks, channel swings or cover. Try reaction baits first because the catching is quicker if they'll hammer a lipless crankbait. Lacking enough takers, switch to soft plastic lures.

Grande Ronde River

With open acknowledgement that many Washington reservoirs and larger rivers offer more extensive opportunities and bigger fish, this canyon-run tributary of the Snake River offers fast-action smallmouth fishing in a spectacular setting. Making a good thing even better, you're likely to have smallmouths that use the Grande Ronde's shoals and pools to yourself through the summer. While this river is quite popular with fishermen when the steelhead are high in the system and play boaters through the warm months, it gets very little fishing pressure during the summer, whens smallmouth move in. Depending on water levels, some sections can be waded, but a better approach is to float it in a craft that can handle some whitewater.

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