100 best bass lakes of 2013

Lists that rank the subjective can incite passionate response. Last year, I learned this the hard way when Bassmaster Magazine released its inaugural ranking of bass fisheries from across the nation.

Lists that rank the subjective can incite passionate response. Last year, I learned this the hard way when Bassmaster Magazine released its inaugural ranking of bass fisheries from across the nation. One reader thanked the Magazine for producing his lifetime bucket list, while another said it was the biggest waste of space he had ever seen. One reader said we ranked Bull Shoals way too low at 51; another said the lake didn’t deserve to be on the list. The debates seemed endless and went on for months, which made me think that the concept of ranking America’s best bass fisheries was a solid one.

Last year, we developed the list by asking every state’s Department of Natural Resources (sometimes it was the wildlife agency) to give us catch rates, population studies and stocking schedules for all the fisheries they managed. From there, we sent the list to B.A.S.S. Nation presidents and conservation directors to rank each of these bodies of water based on the tournaments they held. And then we had a panel of Elite Series pros, outdoor writers and industry professionals finalize the lakes list and rankings.

This process made last year’s list solid, but not bulletproof. This year, we added another very important step to the ranking system: you!

We sent the list created by the DNR data to not only the B.A.S.S. Nation leadership, but also 3,500 B.A.S.S. members throughout the U.S., as well. We asked these avid anglers to tell us which fisheries should be deleted and which lakes should be added to the list, and then to rank the lakes in their respective regions. The response was unbelievable, and the data collected helped legitimize the ranking of each body of water.

You will see that some lakes fell off the list completely (the drought in Texas removed O.H. Ivie), some are new (welcome California’s Lake Berryessa) and some giants fell considerably (Falcon was No. 1 last year but barely made the Top 10 this year). So, feast your eyes on the most productive bass fisheries our nation has to offer this year. Hopefully, you will be inspired to fish one in the near future and put our rankings to the test. If you do, let us hear about it, especially if your response is passionate.

Bassmaster Magazine’s 100 Best Bass Lakes

  1. Lake St. Clair, Michigan
  2. Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Texas
  3. Clear Lake, California
  4. Lake Guntersville, Alabama
  5. Lake Erie, Michigan/Ohio/New York/Pennsylvania
  6. Chickamauga Lake, Tennessee
  7. Falcon Lake, Texas
  8. Lake Okeechobee, Florida
  9. San Joaquin Delta, California
  10. Toledo Bend Reservoir, Texas/Louisiana
  11. Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
  12. Kentucky Lake/Barkley Lake, Kentucky/Tennessee
  13. Thousand Islands, New York      
  14. Rodman Reservoir/St. Johns River, Florida
  15. Grand Lake ‘O The Cherokees, Oklahoma
  16. Lake Champlain, New York/Vermont
  17. Upper Mississippi River, Wisconsin/Minnesota/Iowa/Illinois
  18. Bull Shoals Lake, Arkansas/Missouri
  19. Potomac River, Maryland/Virginia
  20. Pickwick Lake, Alabama/Mississippi/Tennessee
  21. Columbia River, Washington/Oregon
  22. Kissimmee Chain Of Lakes, Florida
  23. Lake Amistad, Texas
  24. Lake Oroville, California
  25. Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia
  26. Dworshak Reservoir, Idaho
  27. Candlewood Lake, Connecticut
  28. Lake Fork, Texas
  29. Lake Michigan, Wisconsin/Illinois/Indiana/Michigan
  30. Cobbosseecontee Lake, Maine
  31. Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri
  32. Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota
  33. Shasta Lake, California
  34. Lake Austin, Texas
  35. New River, West Virginia
  36. Rainy Lake, Minnesota
  37. Bullards Bar Reservoir, California
  38. Oneida Lake, New York
  39. Table Rock Lake, Missouri
  40. Lake Charlevoix, Michigan
  41. Lake Eufaula, Alabama/Georgia
  42. Lake of the Arbuckles, Oklahoma
  43. Lake Lanier, Georgia
  44. Lake Powell, Utah/Arizona
  45. Lake Ouachita, Arkansas
  46. Lake Havasu, Arizona
  47. Lake Istokpoga, Florida
  48. Santee Cooper Lakes, South Carolina
  49. Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire
  50. Summit Reservoir, Nebraska
  51. Lake Sammamish, Washington
  52. Florida Everglades, Florida
  53. Lake Berryessa, California
  54. Kezar Lake, Maine
  55. Lake Oahe, South Dakota
  56. Douglas Lake, Tennessee
  57. Okoboji Lake, Iowa
  58. Upper Chesapeake Bay, Maryland
  59. Louisiana Delta, Louisiana
  60. Lake Seminole, Georgia/Florida
  61. Apache Lake, Arizona
  62. Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin
  63. Sebago Lake, Maine
  64. Lake Mead, Nevada
  65. Lake Gaston, North Carolina
  66. Roosevelt Lake, Arizona
  67. Spirit Lake, Iowa
  68. Dale Hollow Lake, Tennessee/Kentucky
  69. Lake Tarpon, Florida
  70. Lake Konawa, Oklahoma
  71. Rend Lake, Illinois
  72. Lake Conroe, Texas
  73. Falls Lake, North Carolina
  74. Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota
  75. Fort Peck Reservoir, Montana
  76. Squam Lake, New Hampshire
  77. Lake Anna, Virginia
  78. Lake Murray, South Carolina
  79. Red River, Louisiana
  80. High Rock Lake, North Carolina
  81. Burt Lake, Michigan
  82. Pueblo Reservoir, Colorado
  83. Kerr Reservoir/Buggs Island, North Carolina/Virginia
  84. Perry Reservoir, Kansas
  85. Lake Mohave, Nevada
  86. Wilson Reservoir, Kansas
  87. Lake Audubon, North Dakota
  88. Navajo Lake, New Mexico
  89. Lake Wallenpaupack, Pennsylvania
  90. Lake Dunlap, Texas
  91. Lake Norman, North Carolina
  92. Lake Wawasee, Indiana
  93. Manasquan Reservoir, New Jersey
  94. Lay Lake, Alabama
  95. Webster Lake, Massachusetts
  96. DeGray Lake, Arkansas
  97. Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey
  98. Cayuga Lake, New York
  99. Fayette County Reservoir, Texas
  100. Logan Martin Lake, Alabama