BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Like the waters anglers love, the rankings of America’s best bass fisheries can surge or ebb, and this year’s Bassmaster Magazine 100 Best Bass Lakes list is a true reflection of those fluctuations.
Anglers eager to do battle with giant smallmouth can head north to the 1000 Islands region of the St. Lawrence River, which has once more topped Bassmaster’s list as the country’s best bass fishery. The St. Lawrence last held the No. 1 position in 2019.
Big-bass factory O.H. Ivie came in at No. 2 and 10 other Texas fisheries earned a spot on the Top 100 list — Fork, Sam Rayburn, Toledo Bend, Oak Creek, Choke Canyon, Possum Kingdom, Conroe, Texoma, Falcon and Lake O’ the Pines.
Bragging rights for most fisheries in the Top 100 rankings goes to the Lone Star State. California is in second with eight fisheries on the list, followed by Florida (seven) and New York and Michigan, which each placed six lakes on the list.
“We are always a little surprised when going through the data how many fisheries make the rankings and then fall off, as well as by those lakes that just always make the list,” explained Bassmaster Magazine Editor-in-Chief James Hall. “Creating the rankings takes more than two months as we dig through current tournament data as well as state fishery information on stocking efforts, catch rates and angler access.
“While the fisheries may change, our goal is to point anglers toward the most productive waters so that your time is spent with rod bent. These rankings provide a bucket list of destinations for anglers.”
Things really are bigger in Texas and that includes the bass coming out of O.H. Ivie Lake. This reservoir has stolen the spotlight over the last two years, producing an eye-popping 24 Legacy ShareLunker bass — a designation for fish weighing more than 13 pounds.
The rankings identify the top lakes in the nation based on head-to-head comparisons, as well as the Top 25 lakes in four geographical regions — Central, Western, Southeastern and Northeastern.
“We divide the nation into four regions and rank the lakes in each region to give anglers perspective on the fisheries they can most likely reach,” Hall explained.
Full rankings can be found on Bassmaster.com and in the September/October issue of Bassmaster Magazine.
Bassmaster Magazine’s 100 Best Bass Lakes of 2022
1 St. Lawrence River (1000 Islands), New York
2 O.H. Ivie Lake, Texas
3 Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, California
4 Lake St. Clair, Michigan
5 Fellsmere Reservoir/Stick Marsh/Kenansville Lake, Florida
6 Clear Lake, California
7 Lake Fork, Texas
8 Lake Erie/Upper Niagara River, New York
9 Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Texas
10 Santee Cooper Lakes (Marion/Moultrie), South Carolina
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