BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Bassmaster Magazine, the official publication for members of B.A.S.S., announced today the 100 best bass fishing lakes in the U.S. The list was compiled in a months-long process that included research from state fisheries agencies, nominations from B.A.S.S. Federation Nation tournament organizers and a panel of widely traveled professional anglers, fishing writers and others.
Despite its reputation as a dangerous place to fish, Texas’ Falcon Lake ranked in first place. The 58-year-old impoundment straddles the Rio Grande and is shared by Texas and Mexico. The 83,000-acre reservoir has been in the news as much for drug cartel-related crime as for its enormous catches of largemouth bass.
Falcon produced the record winning catch for the Bassmaster Elite Series circuit when Paul Elias caught 132.5 pounds of bass during four days in 2008. Although the Bassmaster Elite Series tournaments have not returned to the lake since, it regularly gives up tournament-winning catches averaging more than 8 pounds per bass.
Texas tops the list of states with eight lakes or rivers in the Top 100, followed by Florida, which has seven fisheries on the list, including No. 2-ranked Lake Okeechobee. Rounding out the Top 10 are Lake Guntersville in Alabama, Lake Erie in Michigan/Ohio/New York/Pennsylvania, Lake Champlain in New York/Vermont, Lake Amistad in Texas, Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota, San Joaquin Delta in California, Lake Coeur d’Alene in Idaho and Clear Lake in California.
According to Bassmaster Editor James Hall, the idea for ranking the best lakes emerged at a B.A.S.S. tournament during a lively discussion among outdoor writers with definite ideas about the nation’s top performing lakes. Hall decided the debate warranted a more in-depth investigation.
“Instead of just having opinions, we wanted to put science behind the opinion to rate the ‘100 Best Bass Lakes,’” Hall said. “The method was as scientific as we could make it. The result is a list of outstanding fisheries. I think it will be fun for people to consider where their favorite lake stands compared to the best in another state.”
The 100 Best Bass Lakes list was ranked using a variety of qualifiers. Department of Natural Resource representatives provided the five most productive lakes in each state based on electroshock surveys and angler catch rates. B.A.S.S. Federation Nation presidents offered top lake recommendations based on tournament catches, while conservation directors supplied details on lake accessibility and best fish stocking practices.
A blue ribbon panel of outdoor writers, editors, Bassmaster Elite Series professional anglers and fishing industry veterans ranked the final list based on current fishability of each lake, considering its history, big fish and overall quantity potential and aesthetic surroundings of the area.
The list is slated to appear annually. See the full list of 100 Best Bass Lakes.