Birmingham, Alabama / Bassmaster / JULY 5, 2017
Minnesota’s state motto is “Star of the North,” which seems appropriate seeing Bassmaster Magazine has crowned the state’s second largest lake as the best bass fishery in the nation based on the recent release of the publication’s 100 Best Bass Lakes rankings.
Mille Lacs Lake, a 132,516-acre natural lake located 100 miles north of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, soared to the No. 1 spot after months of research unveiled its unbelievable production of smallmouth bass. Mille Lacs was ranked No. 6 in the nation last year.
“This fishery got our attention last September during the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship, when 94 limits of smallmouth were weighed in that topped the 20-pound mark,” explained Bassmaster Magazine Editor James Hall. “Had that been a four-day event, eventual winner Seth Feider may have topped the 100-pound mark with smallmouth, a feat that has never, ever happened before.”
But it takes more than one good event to push a fishery to the top of these rankings.
“After months of research and processing data from dozens of sources, we realized that the Angler of the Year event was hardly impressive production for the lake. Thirty-pound limits were weighed in during five team events last fall, including two limits breaking the 36-pound mark. Remember, these are limits of smallmouth. Just incredible,” Hall said.
This year, the rankings highlight the Top 12 fisheries in the nation regardless of location. The remaining lakes are ranked within one of four regions (Northeastern, Southeastern, Central, and Western), so readers can easily identify the Top 25 lakes nearest them.
The Top 12 In The Nation
1. Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota – 132,516 acres.
2. Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Texas – 114,500 acres.
3. Clear Lake, California -43,785 acres.
4. Shearon Harris Lake, North Carolina – 4,100 acres.
5. Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, California – 1,153 square miles.
6. Lake Berryessa, California – 20,700 acres.
7. Lake Erie, New York – 30-mile radius from Buffalo.
8. Santee Cooper Lakes, Marion, and Moultrie, South Carolina – 110,000 acres and 60,000 acres, respectively.
9. Lake St. Clair, Michigan – 430 square miles.
10. Falcon Lake, Texas – 83,654 acres.
11. Thousand Islands (St. Lawrence River), New York – a 50-mile stretch.
12. Chickamauga Lake, Tennessee – 36,240 acres.
NOTE: Featured Image by Gary Tramontina – Bassmaster. “Yes, we’re crazy.”