100 Best Bass Lakes of 2012

If you’ve ever considered making a bucket list of lakes to fish, don’t bother, we’ve done it for you. Here, in order, are the best bass lakes in the country. Now, set forth and fish them all.

Have you ever tried to rank your favorite fishing lakes? It’s not easy. You like one lake for its big-fish potential; another for numbers of fish; another for the natural beauty surrounding the experience. So which is best? Deciding on one is an impossible task.

However, just because something is impossible doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to do it. Bassmaster Magazine decided to tackle the chore, the following list of lakes being the result. But how did we develop the rankings?

First, we asked the Department of Natural Resources in every state to rank its top bass lakes based on electroshock and angler catch-rate surveys. Secondly, we asked the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation state presidents to rank the top lakes in their states based on tournament results, which narrowed the master list. Third, we asked the Federation Nation conservation directors to rank the bass lakes in their states based on access, stocking practices and current health of the fishery, narrowing the list to 100. And lastly, we created a blue ribbon panel of experts, including outdoor writers, Elite Series anglers and fishing industry leaders from across the country to organize these lakes based on the priorities of bass anglers.

At the top of the list are lakes where you will catch giant bass, and plenty of ’em, in a beautiful setting. As you read further down the list, trophy potential may drop off, or perhaps numbers may dwindle. However, making this list isn’t easy. There are thousands of bass lakes in the U.S. — these 100 simply shine brightest.

Bassmaster Magazine’s 100 Best Bass Lakes

  1. Falcon Lake, Texas
  2. Lake Okeechobee, Florida
  3. Lake Guntersville, Alabama
  4. Lake Erie, Michigan/Ohio/New York/Pennsylvania
  5. Lake Champlain, New York/Vermont
  6. Lake Amistad, Texas
  7. Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota
  8. San Joaquin Delta, California
  9. Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
  10. Clear Lake, California
  11. Rainy Lake, Minnesota
  12. Pickwick Lake, Alabama/Mississippi/Tennessee
  13. Lake St. Clair, Michigan
  14. Oneida Lake, New York
  15. Toledo Bend, Texas/Louisiana
  16. Kentucky Lake/Barkley Lake, Kentucky/Tennessee
  17. Grand Lake, Oklahoma
  18. Kezar Lake, Maine
  19. Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Texas
  20. Columbia River, Washington/Oregon
  21. Kissimmee Chain Of Lakes, Florida
  22. Candlewood Lake, Connecticut
  23. Santee Cooper lakes, South Carolina
  24. Roosevelt Lake, Arizona
  25. Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin
  26. Lake Fork, Texas
  27. Louisiana Delta, Louisiana
  28. Lake Ouachita, Arkansas
  29. Lake Konawa, Oklahoma
  30. Lake Of The Ozarks, Missouri
  31. Potomac River, Maryland/Virginia
  32. Shasta Lake, California
  33. Lake Havasu, Arizona
  34. Lake Michigan, Wisconsin/Illinois/Indiana/Michigan
  35. Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota
  36. Florida Everglades, Florida
  37. Lake Charlevoix, Michigan
  38. Lake Mead, Nevada
  39. Choke Canyon Lake, Texas
  40. Lake Seminole, Georgia/Florida
  41. Congamond Lakes, Massachusetts
  42. Table Rock Lake, Missouri
  43. Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire
  44. Falls Lake, North Carolina
  45. Umpqua River, Oregon
  46. Okoboji Lake, Iowa
  47. Red River, Louisiana
  48. Pueblo Reservoir, Colorado
  49. DeGray Lake, Arkansas
  50. Trap Pond, Delaware
  51. Bull Shoals Lake, Arkansas/Missouri
  52. Spirit Lake, Iowa
  53. St. Lawrence River, New York
  54. Squam Lake, New Hampshire
  55. High Rock Lake, North Carolina
  56. Arbuckle Lake, Oklahoma
  57. Lake Tarpon, Florida
  58. Apache Lake, Arizona
  59. Lake Powell, Utah/Arizona
  60. Perry Reservoir, Kansas
  61. Chickamauga Lake, Tennessee
  62. Lake Wawasee, Indiana
  63. Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia
  64. Lake Conroe, Texas
  65. Noxon Rapids, Montana
  66. Diamond Valley Lake, California
  67. Summit Reservoir, Nebraska
  68. Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey
  69. Rend Lake, Illinois
  70. Lake Pleasant, Arizona
  71. Lake Audubon, North Dakota
  72. Flaming Gorge Reservoir, Wyoming
  73. Harris Chain Of Lakes, Florida
  74. Cobbosseecontee Lake, Maine
  75. Ute Lake, New Mexico
  76. Susquehanna River, Pennsylvania
  77. Wilson Reservoir, Kansas
  78. Elephant Butte Lake, New Mexico
  79. Lake Oahe, South Dakota
  80. Gull Lake, Minnesota
  81. Kerr Reservoir/Buggs Isla, N.C./Virginia
  82. Dale Hollow Lake, Tennessee/Kentucky
  83. Lake Gaston, North Carolina
  84. Bullards Bar Reservoir, California
  85. Dworshak Reservoir, Idaho
  86. Tygart Lake, West Virginia
  87. Keith Sebelius Reservoir, Kansas
  88. O.H. Ivie, Texas
  89. Lake Wallenpaupack, Pennsylvania
  90. Lake Murray, South Carolina
  91. Lake Sammamish, Washington
  92. Lake Eufaula, Alabama/Georgia
  93. Enid Reservoir, Mississippi
  94. Old Hickory Lake, Tennessee
  95. Fort Peck Reservoir, Montana
  96. Manasquan Reservoir, New Jersey
  97. Lake Mohave, Nevada
  98. Lake Lanier, Georgia
  99. Sebago Lake, Maine
  100. McPhee Lake, Colorado 4