In the next three weeks we will detail the best bass fishing lakes in North America. Whether you are taking your Garmin echo or echoMAP out for a weekend at the lake with your family, or competitively fishing with your GPSMAP combo unit and forward looking Panoptix transducer, this list will help you find the best bass lakes to fish this year.
15. Lake Chickamauga – Tennessee
Checking in at #15 is Lake Chickamauga, which is the first of several Tennessee River impoundments on our list. Fishing here can be tough at times, but when it’s on, it’s on in a big way. In February 2014, a five bass limit weighing over 49 pounds was brought to the scales. Not to mention, Garmin pro Stetson Blaylock weighed in a 9 lb. 9 oz. bass on day 4 of the FLW Tour event last weekend, which placed him in second.
Lake Chickamauga has a very healthy population of giant largemouth bass, but with heavy fishing pressure, it remains to be seen whether or not this fishery can sustain itself long-term.
14. Rainy Lake – Minnesota, Ontario
Trophy smallmouth are abundant in Rainy Lake and it is one of the best bass fisheries in Canada. If you can fire up a school of big smallmouth, bags upwards of 30 pounds can be brought to the scales. It may not have as many 4 pounders as nearby Lake of the Woods does, but it definitely has more smallies over 6 pounds.
13. Toledo Bend – Louisiana, Texas
Toledo Bend is a big bass factory. Over 200 largemouth bass weighing over 10 pounds have been documented by the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program (TBLA) since 2013 and the number of fish over 10 pounds keeps getting larger each year. The TBLA is a great organization that rewards anglers for catching 10+ lb. fish out of Toledo Bend by creating a mounted replica of their catch with the condition that the angler must release that fish back into the lake. They do this so the fish can reproduce and continue to grow even bigger, and eventually be caught by another angler.
12. St. Lawrence River – Thousand Islands Region – New York
The smallmouth population in the St. Lawrence River is absolutely astounding. There is a plethora of healthy 3-4 pound smallies to be caught, but the 5-6 pounders are much harder to come by. If you want to win a tournament, you’re going to have to catch a kicker or two each day to have a shot. Garmin pro Jason Christie looks forward to taking Garmin Panoptix to the Bassmaster Elite Series event at St. Lawrence River later this summer, as it will play a key part in finding and catching schools of smallmouth.
11. Sam Rayburn Reservoir - Texas
2015 has been a remarkable year for Sam Rayburn. After seven years of not recording a ShareLunker (largemouth over 13 pounds), two have been caught this year. If that isn’t crazy enough, they were caught on the same day in March. Sam Rayburn is tied for the second most ShareLunkers in the state of Texas. If you’re looking to catch quality bass, do yourself a favor and put Sam Rayburn Reservoir on your bucket list.