Best Bass Lakes 100 Best Bass Lakes 2019: Northeastern Posted on July 4, 2019 Photo: See the top 25 best bass fisheries of 2019 located in the Northeastern United States. - See the top 25 best bass fisheries of 2019 located in the Northeastern United States. Photo: Seigo Saito - 1. St. Lawrence River (Thousand Islands), New York [50-mile stretch] With so many superb smallmouth fisheries in the northeastern U.S., picking the best of the best is challenging. A Bassmaster Elite Series tournament here in late August 2018 made this task a bit easier. The four-day event was won with 20 smallmouth that totaled 95 pounds, 3 ounces. Every angler who finished in the Top 10 caught more than 86 pounds of bronzebacks. And, the 1,335 bass caught during the tournament by all the competitors had an astonishing average weight of nearly 3.85 pounds! The big bass of the tournament weighed 6 pounds, 8 ounces. Photo: Gary Tramontina - 2. Lake St. Clair, Michigan [430 square miles] St. Clair previously enjoyed the top spot in the Northeast region. A strong case can be made that it should still be ranked No. 1. A major professional tournament was held on St. Clair in late June 2018. The winner amassed a four-day total of 20 bass that weighed 97 pounds, 8 ounces. Every angler who finished in the Top 10 weighed in more than 80 pounds of smallmouth. The excellent largemouth fishing on this picturesque body of water is often overlooked due to the trophy smallmouth that abound here. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources collected the results from 60 bass tournaments on St. Clair in 2018. The data, compiled by fisheries biologist Tom Goniea, revealed that the average number of anglers per event was 42. They caught 12,741 bass with over a third of those fish (3,669) weighing over 4 pounds. The average big bass per tournament weighed 5.06 pounds, with the heaviest bass weighing 6.73 pounds. 3. Lake Erie, New York [30-mile radius from Buffalo] Lake Erieâs eastern basin receives heavy fishing pressure, yet it continues to produce exceptional smallmouth catches. A major tournament with 169 boats was held here in late July 2018. It was cut from three days to a single day due to windy weather that caused unsafe boating conditions. The winning catch of 24 pounds, 4 ounces was only 4 pounds, 4 ounces heavier than that of the angler who finished in 44th place with a five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds. Photo: Shaye Baker - 4. Lake Erie, Ohio [30-mile radius of Sandusky] Ohioan Charlie Hartley, a two-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier, had his first outing to Lake Erieâs Western Basin on May 6, 2019. He fished for smallmouth on the east side of Kelleys Island, one of the famed Bass Islands in Ohio waters. âThe smallmouth are as big as ever,â Hartley said. âI caught 35 bass. The two biggest weighed 4-8 and 4-9. My best five went about 22 1/2 pounds. I fished a Bassmaster Open here a few years ago and there were 20 bags over 20 pounds.â Hartley believes heavyweight smallmouth swarm to Ohioâs Bass Islands in the spring to spawn and that the majority of the bass migrate to the Canadian side of the lake in summertime. Photo: Michigan DNR - 5. Burt/Mullett lakes, Michigan [17,120 acres and 16,630 acres, respectively] Quality largemouth swim in these waters, but they are generally bypassed in favor of the plentiful smallmouth that grow fat here. Twelve tournaments in 2018 drew an average field of 29 anglers. They sacked 837 bass, which included only eight largemouth. The bass had an impressive average weight of 3.53 pounds, with 300 of them (over one-third) topping 4 pounds. The average for the big bass was 5.79 pounds, with the heaviest weighing 6.76 pounds. Photo: James Overstreet - 6. Lake Champlain, New York/Vermont [490 square miles] Champlain offers a wide diversity of habitat, from shallow grass flats to deep, rocky points, plus a variety of man-made bass structures. Any tournament here may be won with smallmouth, largemouth or a mixed bag of both species. In early August 2018, Vermontâs Bryan Lebelle sacked mainly largemouth along with a few smallmouth to win a Bassmaster Eastern Open with a three-day catch of 58 pounds, 10 ounces. It took 50 pounds, 15 ounces to capture 10th place. 7. Bays de Noc, Michigan [Escanaba to Little Summer Island] Few bass tournaments take place on Bays de Noc because these waters are regarded as mainly a walleye fishery. Bass anglers who venture to these far northern waters will find the trek worthwhile. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources collected data from eight bass tournaments here in 2018 that averaged 25 anglers per event. The tournaments produced 302 smallmouth and five largemouth. The bass averaged 3.43 pounds, with 81 bass exceeding 4 pounds. The average big bass weighed 5.25 pounds, with the biggest of those going 5.75 pounds. Photo: Michigan DNR - 8. Saginaw Bay, Michigan [1,143 square miles] Due to its close proximity to Lake St. Clair, Saginaw Bay attracts relatively few bass anglers. Local bass addicts who fish both waters claim the smallmouth in Saginaw Bay are harder to find than in St. Clair, but they run bigger. Find the smallies and youâre sure to tangle with multiple bass in excess of 4 pounds. The Charity Islands in the outer bay are especially good for smallmouth. Aquatic vegetation from Wigwam Bay to Au Gres holds good numbers of sizeable largemouth. Photo: Michigan DNR - 9. Lake Charlevoix, Michigan [17,200 acres] The third-largest lake in the Wolverine State, Charlevoix supports 100 species of fish, from trout and salmon to smallmouth and largemouth bass. The bass relate to a shallow ledge that rims the entire 56-mile shoreline. Fourteen club tournaments in 2018 weighed 1,110 smallmouth and 11 largemouth. There were 145 bass over 4 pounds, with an average weight of 3.23 pounds. The average weight for the big bass was 4.85 pounds. The heaviest of these went 6.05 pounds. 10. Grand Traverse Bay, Michigan [32 miles long, 10 miles wide] The pellucid water in Grand Traverse Bay allows you to see the bottom and the big smallmouth that prowl here at depths of 20 feet. Data from seven tournaments held in these pristine waters in 2018 revealed that 231 smallmouth were weighed in that averaged 3.15 pounds, up from 2.85 pounds in 2017. Fifty-six bass exceeded 4 pounds. The average big bass went 4.84 pounds, with the heaviest going 5.59 pounds. Photo: Gary Tramontina - 11. Potomac River, Maryland/Virginia/West Virginia [405 miles] Given that it typically takes over 20 pounds to win a one-day tournament on this historic tidal river, it continues to be a first-rate bass fishery. It took 21 pounds, 13 ounces, to win a major five-bass limit event here in late April 2018. The big bass weighed 5 pounds, 14 ounces and the Top 5 finishers all had over 18 pounds. Photo: James Overstreet - 12. Oneida Lake, New York [79.8 square miles] Tournaments at Oneida may be won with largemouth or smallmouth bass, but the smallmouth are far more abundant. Although it isnât regarded as a trophy bass lake, Oneida consistently gives up quality bass and plenty of them. A large one-day tournament on July 16, 2018, had a result typical for these waters. The winner sacked 19 pounds, 2 ounces, with 18 pounds taking second place. The Top 7 had 16 pounds or more, and the big bass went 5 pounds, 8 ounces. Photo: James Overstreet - 13. Cayuga Lake, New York [38 miles long, 3 1/2 miles wide] Besides good numbers of largemouth and smallmouth bass, this deep lake supports a popular trout fishery. The smallmouth fishing is at its best when the brown ones move shallow in spring to spawn. Largemouth thrive in the grassbeds that rim the lake and yield good fishing throughout the season. It took 20 pounds, 2 ounces, to win a one-day college tournament here in late July 2018. In late August of the same year, it took 22.67 pounds to win a Rochester Bass Anglers event. Photo: Spring Gearhart/PA Fish & Boat - 14. Presque Isle Bay, Pennsylvania [5.8 square miles] The fishing in the bay is at its best beginning in April when smallmouth bass move into these protected waters from Lake Erie to spawn. This is when you can catch heavy limits of smallmouth and good numbers of largemouth, which run smaller on average. After the smallmouth spawn, most of them migrate back to Lake Erie, and you must fish the big lake to continue catching them. 15. Upper Chesapeake Bay, Maryland [The entire bay is more than 64,000 square miles, but the best fishing is in the top one-third.] The Chester County Bassmasters held five one-day team tournaments on the Upper Chesapeake in 2018. Their results provide an excellent gauge of this bass fishery. The first of these events on May 12 was won with 22.18 pounds, with 19.57 pounds taking second. It took 22.04 to win on June 9, with the Top 4 teams weighing in over 19 pounds. The fishing slowed on August 4, when the winning team sacked 19.11. Photo: Gerald Crawford - 16. Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia [20,600 acres] Smallmouth bass have won tournaments here, but largemouth are the primary species. It took 20 pounds, 12 ounces to win a major one-day tournament on March 26, 2018. A team tournament on April 6, 2019, yielded a winning catch of 22.19. The Top 3 teams caught over 21 pounds, and the big bass weighed 6.92. Photo: Ken Hoehlein - 17. Webber Pond, Maine [1,233 acres] Despite its small size, this grassy, natural lake is Maineâs top-bass fishery. Five-fish limits of largemouth usually weigh more than 20 pounds. It took 21.06 pounds to win a B.A.S.S. Nation tournament here in early May 2019. The average bass weighed 3.2 pounds, and the big bass was 6.72 pounds. A tournament here a year earlier produced a winning bag of 24.57 pounds and a 3.85-pound average. Photo: Brian Gray - 18. Green River Lake, Kentucky [8,200 acres] After reviewing data from 312 bass tournaments held in the Bluegrass State in 2018, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife ranked Green River Lake as the stateâs best bass fishery. This serpentine upland reservoir has 250 miles of shoreline and depths to 70 feet. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass may be caught here. The average winning weight for the 2018 events was 17.38 pounds, with the average total weight per boat being 7.41 pounds. Both were the highest in the state. Photo: Dave Baker - 19. Lake Cumberland, Kentucky [65,530] The water level returned to normal in 2014 after being drastically lowered for several years to repair the dam. While the dam was being repaired, trees and brush grew up along the shoreline, which created a new-lake effect once the dam was repaired. The largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass that live in these waters have rebounded well in their refreshed environment. A major professional tournament here in mid-April 2018 produced a winning four-day weight of 70 pounds, 2 ounces. Every angler in the Top 10 weighed in over 60 pounds of bass. Smallmouth won the event, but largemouth bass showed up at the scales in fairly equal numbers. It took 60 pounds, 1 ounce to win this same event the previous year, which was also held in April. Things are improving. Photo: Ken Hoehlein - 20. China Lake, Maine [3,845 acres] Given China Lakeâs extensive aquatic vegetation, it gives up mainly largemouth with a few smallmouth. A B.A.S.S. Nation tournament with a seven-bass limit in mid-June 2018 was won with 22.22 pounds. The big bass weighed 6.53 pounds, and the average bass weighed 2.5 pounds. Summertime tournaments here usually produce a big bass weighing over 7 pounds. Photo: Ken Hoehlein - 21. Great Pond, Maine [8,533 acres] Smallmouth grow fat in this deep, rocky lake. If you love catching smallies, this is a great place to launch your boat. With a seven-bass limit, 20 B.A.S.S. Nation teams sacked over 20 pounds in late April 2018. The big bass tipped the scales at 4.69 pounds. The average bass weighed 2.75 pounds. 22. Candlewood Lake, Connecticut [5,420 acres] A B.A.S.S. Nation tournament was won here in early May 2018 with a five-bass limit weighing 19.76 pounds. The event drew 49 boats, and the Top 4 anglers caught over 18 pounds. The big bass went 5.97 pounds. Photo: Justin Brewer - 23. Chautauqua Lake, New York [13,156 acres] Chautauqua remains a good place to get plenty of bites from smallmouth and largemouth bass. It isnât known for heavyweights, but quality bass of more than 4 pounds are boated regularly. A 48-boat tournament on July 8, 2018, was won with 19.22. A dead-fish penalty knocked that back to 18.97. The Top 7 anglers had over 16 pounds. Photo: John Viar - 24. Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire [20 miles long, 9 miles wide] Winnipesaukee has a strong population of largemouth and smallmouth bass, including some heavyweights. The Mike McNamara Memorial Open team tournament, which has a four-bass limit, was held here on April 29, 2018. The event was won with 18.20 pounds. The heaviest largemouth weighed 7.18, while the heaviest smallmouth went 5.26. Ten of the 41 teams weighed in more than 14 pounds. Photo: Seigo Saito - 25. Kentucky Lake, Kentucky/Tennessee [160,309-acres] The invasion of Asian carp into Kentucky Lake and adjoining Lake Barkley have impacted these bass fisheries, but not as much as poor spawns. In 2019, the data shows that the average bass weighed in at Kentucky Lake was 3 pounds, with 3.19 pounds for Barkley. In May 2018, Wesley Strader won a Bassmaster Elite Series tournament here with a four-day total of 80 pounds, 4 ounces. Kentucky district fisheries biologist David Baker believes the low numbers of small bass are due more to poor spawns in 2016 and 2017 than to Asian carp. âWe had a good spawn last year, and it looks like things are going to rebound pretty quickly,â Baker said.