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2015 Top 10 Overlooked Bass Fishing Lakes and Rivers

We looked through all the lakes and rivers across the country for good bass fishing, talked with a lot of folks, looked up a lot of tournament results and we came up with the 20 Best Largemouth Bass Fisheries, 15 Best Smallmouth Bass Fisheries and 15 Best Spotted Bass Fisheries. Then we came up with 10 of our favorite overlooked great bass fishing spots across the country that many anglers regularly forget (unless they are fortunate enough to fish there all the time) when planning their bass fishing trips. Any one of these could have been on the other lists but we wanted to highlight them indvidually because they are so overlooked when folks are putting together their bucket lists for bass fishing trips. So, here they are in no particular order.

Columbia River

State: Washington

This is maybe the most scenic and cool place to fish for bass. It’s well known out west, but when guys are making a bucket list of favorite lakes they want to visit, the Columbia River hardly gets a thought. The reason it’s on our list is due to its world-class smallmouth fishing, but there have also been largemouth weighing 11 pounds caught here.

Smith Lake

State: Alabama

Many Alabama anglers will tell you this is some of the best spotted bass fishing in the whole state. Yet it seems all the other spotted bass lakes in the state get more attention and notoriety. That’s largely due to the fact that Smith Lake was nicknamed “The Dead Sea” not too many years ago. However the introduction of blueback herring has turned this into a premier spotted bass fishery for numbers and the size is increasing rapidly as well. Our buddies Rex Chambers and Brent Crow who guide down there said catching 100 spotted bass on a topwater isn’t even hard at times. They get big, there are numbers and they will bite fun techniques like topwater. What more could an angler ask for in a spotted bass fishery?

State: Louisiana

If the 15-pound, lake-record largemouth doesn’t get your attention, the numbers of quality bass should. It’s one of the best kept secrets of the south for bass fishing—probably because lakes like Toledo Bend aren’t too far away.

Lake Charles

State: Arkansas

One Arkansas biologist said this lake has one of the best populations of bass he’s ever seen. The lake is full of 20-inch bass. Our buddy Terry Bolton used to fish there a good bit when he lived in Jonesboro and in the middle of summer it was some of the most fun fishing he’s ever had swimming and flipping a jig.

OH Ivie

State: Texas

Texas is full of trophy bass lakes, which is likely why this one gets forgotten by many anglers. However for no bigger than it is, it probably has one of the larger per capitas of ShareLunkers (bass weighing more than 13-pounds donated to TPWD) in the state.

Lake Coeur d’Alene

State: Idaho

Limits of largemouth bass weighing more than 25 pounds and smallmouths weighing more than 20 pounds are common here. The fact that it’s in Idaho is why most folks overlook it on their bucket list of great bass fishing destinations. Beautiful scenery and great fishing makes for a great trip.

Newton Lake

State: Illinois

It’s a horsepower-restricted lake in southern Illinois, but it kicks out 20-pound limits with regularity all months of the year. But it’s especially known for its good fishing in the colder months.

Orange Lake

State: Florida

Orange Lake is a honey hole that is famous for both the Marjorie Rawlins homestead and monster bass. It has experienced several “down” years with low water but will be on a major rebound in 2016. Lots of great-looking vegetation and tons of big largemouth bass.

Caney Lake

State: Lousiana

Although this 5,000-acre Louisiana fishery may not look like much, Caney Lake is a hidden gem for gigantic largemouth bass. The lake record of 15.97 pounds was set in 1994, but this lake still continues to produce double-digit bass. 10 and 12-pound bass are surprisingly common here, with 6 of the top 10 Louisiana largemouth bass—all weighing over 15 pounds, might we add—being caught from its waters.

Lake Woodruff

State: Florida

Lake Woodfruff is a big dishpan lake off of the St. Johns River in central Florida and has been quickly gaining a reputation as a big bass producer. It’s largely off the radar for most bass anglers, but it’s totally worth the trip. Even better, it’s close to Lake Dexter, another overlooked bass fishery.