Want to know some great fishing weekend getaways for you…
Plan Your Next Overnight Bass Fishing Trip Down South
The one thing greater than a fishing expedition to a fabulous big-bass lake to experience the lake’s finest offerings would be a much longer road trip allowing one to stay at several prominent bass lakes. With that in mind, we’ve chosen the 10 best southern bass fishing locations.
Continue reading and get your calendar and pen ready so that you can start booking your next fishing trip!
10 Best Southern Bass Fishing Locations
1. Lake Of The Arbuckles, Oklahoma
Although a reasonably small lake at 2,300 acres, Lake of the Arbuckles provides trophy bass possibilities. Florida-strain largemouths, which enjoy much deep and shallow habitat and also find lots to eat, are the foremost fascination in this Southcentral Oklahoma lake, however, smallmouths grow long and offer a pleasant bonus.
Famous For: Locals were simply observing Florida-strain bass grown in Lake of the Arbuckles for multiple years, but word spread much farther after a few tournaments in 2013 that produced 40-pound-plus winning bags. The lake-record 14 1/2 pounds, just 5 ounces modest of the Oklahoma state-record largemouth.
Tips: The best bite happens early in the spring or even on gentle late-winter days. Suspending jerk baits and jigs fished slowly provide prospects for big pre-spawn bass.
After the fish spawn, they run deep in this transparent lake, and in part due to weighty pressure, they can become tough customers.
2. Lake Hartwell, Georgia/South Carolina
The 56,000-acre Lake Hartwell, an impoundment of the Savannah River, provides a comparatively high-quality, new spotted bass fishery and an outstanding largemouth community. The lake is also particularly diverse in its habitat offerings and has an excellent forage base that involves blueback herring, threadfin, and bluegills, gizzard shad, and crawfish.
Famous For: Hartwell has long been a favorite lake of local anglers and a popular tournament venue due to its diversity and the quality of its bass. However, it’s gained national notice as the best southern bass fishing in recent years as a famous tour stop for professional fishing organizations, and one which typically produces nicely for the benefit.
Tips: Most of Hartwell is clear sufficient to provide outstanding sight-fishing throughout the spring. Once bass moves off the beds, blueback herring record much about the fish’s behavior. From late spring to fall, keep a big walking topwater lure attached at all times, and don’t wait to throw it in the middle of the day.
Facilities: Between Corps of Engineers recreation fields, state and private marinas, and county parks, access to all sections of Lake Hartwell is excellent.
3. Lake Guntersville, Alabama
Lake Guntersville covering 69,000-acre, a largemouth facility that provides excellent fishing every year, despite the pressure that usually comes from its popularity. The Big G is relatively fertile and very diverse, generating plentiful fishing possibilities.
Famous For: Great for summer/fall frog fishing, and for the large largemouth bags it usually yields into the chilly months, Lake Guntersville stands as a favorite stop for many touring pros. It is also where Paul Elias organized the bass fishing world and the Alabama Rig during an FLW Tour event in 2011. So Alabama has made our list of the best southern bass fishing locations.
Tips: First in the year, start a lipless crankbait over portion submerged grass or form an umbrella rig near steep, creek mouths. When the grass mats form, the vegetation speaks enough about the bite, and it is time to smash out your frog rod and flippin’ stick.
Facilities: accessibility to the lodging, big lake, and good food are abundant, particularly around the cities of Scottsboro and Guntersville, and from Lake Guntersville State Park. Alabama Mountain Lakes (northalabama.org) is a fantastic source of planning help.
4. Kentucky Lake, Kentucky/Tennessee
A vast reservoir, which is situated in 160,000 acres and takes 184 miles of the Tennessee River, Kentucky Lake provides several varieties of fishing as well as excellent possibilities for catching smallmouths, largemouths, and spots.
Famous For: Kentucky Lake is the ledge-fishing capital of the fishing world, and people visit there from all over the nation every summer to yield big crankbaits and drag jigs or spoons over the main river drops. Numerous excellent year-classes in the present largemouth population create a significant population with an excellent size distribution.
Tips: Throughout the spring, when bass are reproducing and maintaining shallow, flippin’ flooded bushes in bays will offer big catches. When summer hits, move to the principal channel and utilize electronics to locate crowds of fish associating to structures that are next to the central channel and that give depth variations and current breaks.
Facilities: Few riverine stretches are relatively remote, but access is useful in several areas, such as Paris and Camden, Tenn., various points within Land Between the Lakes, and near the dam.
5. Lake Millwood, Arkansas
Four rivers fill Lake Millwood covering 30,000-acre, which is exceedingly thick, fertile with vegetation and timber, and, not surprisingly, filled with chunky largemouth bass.
Famous for: This southwest Arkansas lake is renowned both as a reliable producer of high-quality bass and as a location where you might catch an ideal giant. Between its timber-lined waters, the oxbows off its rivers, and its stations, Millwood is called a lake that provides a selection.
Tips: When everything is perfect, Millwood fishes like it seems it should — like a giant farm pond. Since so much of the lake offers quality bass habitat, although, patterning is required. Knowing bass is currently using trees often is not enough. You must figure out what they’re on, say, vertical trees of a specific size that are near bends in the main river channel.
Facilities: Millwood State Park provides over 100 campsites and a full-service marina. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recreation regions offer additional access in a lot of areas.
6. Toledo Bend Louisiana, Texas
A great impoundment along the Texas/Louisiana border, Toledo Bend covers over more than 181,000 acres. It has an intricate shoreline and excellent structure, with countless creeks and points and continuous bass habitat that varies from shallow, grass flats to open-water channel drops and humps. It has been producing excellent fishing for decades and is among the country’s most bass destinations.
Famous For: Toledo Bend has taken high billing on Bassmaster Magazine Bass Lakes for the last two years due to its overall excellence and great trophy potential. Toledo closed that ranking with 139 certified 10-pound-plus basses in 12 months and crazy numbers of 30-pound-plus tournament limits.
Tips: Shallow-running spinnerbaits and square-billed crankbaits give excellent views through the spring when the fish are nearby shallow cover. Fish red lipless crankbaits covering submerged grass at beginning of the spring, and flip shallow covering any time spring rains and significant stain push bass under the cover.
Facilities: Above 70 boat access spots, including marinas, parks, resorts, and simple launch ramps, provide excellent access to all sections of Toledo Bend.
7. Falls Of The Neuse, North Carolina
Covering only 12,000 acres and never the place of significant national competitions, Falls of the Neuse Lake doesn’t have a significant national honor. Locals know, however, that this impoundment of the Neuse River holds a superb population of hefty largemouths, including some authentic trophy fish.
Famous For: Falls Lake provides double-digit-weight bass every spring. As necessary, this forage-rich lake yields several basses in the 3- to 6-pound range. With a shallow-stumpy top end and a more in-depth, rocky lower end, it also provides a great diversity to bass fishers.
Tips: Early in the year, cast a white spinnerbait or jig a neighboring super-shallow cover and keep moving. As spring proceeds, focus on spawning pockets, looking for fish if the water is clear, and the skies are calm and enough sunny. After the spawn, most basses move away from the banks and associate more to points and channel breaks.
Facilities: Falls Lake is underdeveloped, but Falls Lake State Recreation Area includes seven access places offering boat ramps and lots of opportunities for lakeside camping.
8. Lake Istokpoga, Florida
Sometimes disregarded for the Kissimmee Chain to the north of Lake Okeechobee to the South, 28,000-acre Lake Istokpoga is although one of the most beautiful trophy bass lakes in the Sunshine State, and the fishery is now in excellent condition. And who doesn’t like going to Florida for vacation?
Here you are close enough to combine it with a trip into Orlando with the family and hit some theme parks along the way. Really, make the whole family happy! Because of the combo opportunity, this might be one of the very best southern bass fishing locations.
Famous for: Just in the past three years, this long, shallow lake has yielded 237 TrophyCatch basses. To suit this program, bass must weigh at least 8 pounds. They must be released, and so those fish were put back in the lake! Additionally, the normal largemouth catch-rate of this lake is one of the largest in Florida.
Tips: Soft plastics form well in this popular Lake. Fish Conventional Texas-rigged worms early and late in the day and hit the thick vegetation, which creates a lot of shade, by the middle of the day. Also, keep a topwater lure, or soft-plastic jerk bait convenient when you fish Istokpoga and look for bass running shad.
Facilities: Four public ramps and various fish camps give a great way to Lake Istokpoga.
9. Lake Of The Ozarks, Missouri
This large lake is actually more centrally located in the US, but still worth mentioning. A body of water impoundment of the Osage River, which is fed by other rivers, Lake of the Ozarks impounds 52,000 acres. Its shoreline is intricate, with many points and coves, and thousands of docks line its shores.
Famous For: Impossible consistency is the hallmark of Lake of the Ozarks. In part due to steady water levels, and endless docks provide cover for young bass. What that means to fishers is that bass numbers remain great every year, and that size distribution tends to be good.
Tips: Consider the wind and concentrate on banks that the wind hits straight. These banks generally hold more forage, and the fish feed more aggressively. Since Lake of the Ozarks has numerous docks, some “dock pattern” is always happening. Consider which banks would be best without the docks to help you determine where to fish, and then try to find the most prolific docks on those banks.
Facilities: Several marinas and Nine public boat ramps provide boating access to all parts of Lake of the Ozarks.
10. Pickwick Lake, Mississippi/Alabama/ Tennessee
A reservoir of the Tennessee River that goes beyond 47,500 acres, Pickwick Lake provides flippin’ and frog fishing such as ledge fishing and Guntersville like Kentucky Lake but gets less recognition than either.
Famous For: Pickwick has long been popular for southern bass fishing locations due to its thick-bodied smallmouths, and several tournaments through the years have been won with brown fish bags weighing in the mid-20s. Largemouth fishing is better than smallmouth fishing, with the excellent overall condition and double-digit-weight fish discovered every year. A couple of years ago, a 16 1/2-pounder was found and released in the lower end of Pickwick.
Tips: Throughout the spring, ride the Wilson Dam tailwater with swimbaits for flip bushes or smallmouths in the backwaters for largemouths. While the season advances, Follow the fish out to the Tennessee River channel and fish ledges and humps. When the bass is on the river, color, water flow, and level talk, how to fish.
Facilities: The best access to Pickwick is about Florence, Ala, and Muscle Shoals in the top region of the lake, from J.P. Coleman State Park in Mississippi and at the Pickwick Dam area in Tennessee.