Best Places for Bass Fishing

9 of the Best Places for Bass Fishing North of the Mason-Dixon Line

These are some of the best bass lakes in the north.

Growing up and fishing in Michigan, it got really tiring reading my favorite fishing magazines and only seeing techniques and articles catering to southern bass anglers and fishing destinations I was nowhere near. Whether it was Florida waters like Lake Okeechobee, Alabama's Guntersville Lake, or countless Texas waters like Lake Fork or Sam Rayburn Reservoir, the south got all the love for bass fishing.

That's why we're not going to talk about any of those bass fishing lakes in this article.

Instead, we're focused on the best bass fishing lakes north of the Mason-Dixon line.

Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota

The "Land of 10,000 Lakes" has plenty of fishing opportunities available, but this 207 square mile lake stands out as a dynamite smallmouth bass fishery.

This body of water has been carefully managed for trophy smallies for years now, and Minnesota anglers are starting to reap the benefits with huge fish in the 20-inch range becoming more and more common. It is little wonder the Bassmaster tournament tour has been holding more and more bass tournaments here.

In 1996, a 7-pound, 14-ounce beast was pulled from its depths, stamping this as a great bass lake.

Lake Champlain, Vermont/New York

This massive, 8,000 square mile lake straddles the New York/Vermont border and has proven itself time and time again as both a smallmouth and largemouth bass hotspot.

This is another location that is becoming a regular stop for the pro angling series because there is so much strategy involved in fishing its deep waters. Smallies in the four- or five-pound range are not uncommon, but the lake has also produced largemouths in the seven pound range which makes it harder for professional anglers to choose what species to focus on.

Lake Erie, Multiple States/Canadian Provinces

The Great Lakes host some of the best fishing in the world, and bass are certainly no exception. When it comes to Lake Erie, however, this place is known primarily as one of the best fishing spots for smallmouth bass in the world.

Who can forget Randy VanDam's monster 9-pound, 8-ounce beast taken from the lake in 1994? That fish still holds the Ohio state record for smallmouths and it's not likely it'll be beat anytime soon.

Six- and seven-pound bass are not uncommon, and it is little wonder Lake Erie is a bucket-list fishing trip destination for many bass fishermen and women.

Lake St. Clair, Michigan/Ontario

If you've noticed most of the lakes on this list are smallmouth fisheries, that should be no surprise. The south may lead the way in largemouth bass fishing, but the north is where it's at for smallies.

Lake St. Clair proves this. There are some real giants in the bass population of this 430 square mile lake. Most serious smallmouth anglers agree, this is one of the more challenging lakes on this list to fish. But if you do hook up with some smallmouths, odds are they'll be big ones!

Chautauqua Lake, New York

This lake's name comes from the Native Americans who used to live in the area. It has primarily been known as a trophy muskie lake. But Chautauqua has been gaining in popularity as a big bass hotspot in recent years as well.

This 17 mile-long lake is loaded with both big smallies and largemouths making it a great destination for bass anglers who aren't picky about what they catch.

Rend Lake, Illinois

This one is somewhat of a hidden gem. Not many people think of southern Illinois when they think of bass fishing, but Rend Lake is loaded with big largemouths just waiting for anglers looking for an awesome spring bass spot.

The average largemouth here is in the 3- to 5-pound range, which might not seem like much to southern anglers, but that is a huge largemouth here in the north. The area is also home to the Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation area, which makes this a great place for a combination camping/fishing trip.

Rathbun Lake, Iowa

Most people think of trophy whitetail deer when they think of Iowa. It isn't exactly a fishing state, but there are some chunky largemouths to be found in the depths. It's primarily known as a walleye hot spot, but that just leaves more bass for the fishermen who travels here.

I highly recommend staying in the cottages at Honey Creek Resort. They make for a great home base as you explore this 550-square mile lake for big bass.

Burt/Mullett Lake, Michigan

This one is a two-fer because the lakes are right next to one another and are connected via the Indian River, which makes this destination spot a three-fer because the Indian River is where the Michigan state record smallmouth, a 9.98-pound beast was caught just a few years ago.

Both Burt and Mullett Lakes are popular for a variety of different species, but it's primarily smallmouth that bring anglers from far and wide to this beautiful set of Northern Michigan lakes.

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