St. Lawrence River Named Best Bass Fishery In The Nation

 BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Bassmaster Magazine has released the highly anticipated rankings of the best bass fisheries in the nation for 2019 and for the first time ever, New York’s St. Lawrence River earned the top spot.
 
Over the past seven years, this incredible smallmouth fishery has cracked the Top 10 inBassmaster’s 100 Best Bass Lakes rankings two times. In both 2015 and 2018, the St. Lawrence (also known as the Upper St. Lawrence River) ranked eighth on the list. This year, though, the New York fishery would not be denied as the No. 1 bass fishing destination in the country. There are plenty of tournament results to back up this claim, but there is no need to look any further than the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops held June 19 through 21. In this event, a 26-pound, 6-ounce limit of smallmouth was weighed in. However, the most astounding statistic is that the average weight of the entire 149-team field was 20.3 pounds. The winning team from Sam Houston State University averaged 24-4 per day. The Carhartt Big Bass Award for that event was a 6-pound, 7-ounce giant. Suffice it to say, the St. Lawrence not only has big smallmouth swimming around the many islands dotting its waterscape, but a lot of them.
 
“The St. Lawrence is not only healthy right now, but seems to be showing off,” said James Hall, editor of Bassmaster Magazine. “There have been years where a spirited internal debate was required to assign the top spot in the rankings. This year was easy after looking at the unbelievable weights being produced at the Upper St. Lawrence River. And on top of that, the scenery is stunning. If you are looking for the best angling experience in the country right now, the St. Lawrence river should be your next destination.”
 
Hall explained the process of creating the rankings takes more than two months. State fishery agencies across the U.S. are polled and rank the fisheries in their states based on stocking efforts, catch rates and angler access. Then, B.A.S.S. Nation conservation directors add to the potential lakes list based on the thousands of tournaments they hold across the country. And finally, the data from dozens of tournament organizations, as well as big bass programs from various states, are analyzed to create the ultimate list of the Top 100 lakes. The rankings are debated by a blue-ribbon panel of fishing industry insiders. The final result of this research and debate is Bassmaster’s 100 Best Bass Lakes rankings published in the July/August issue of the magazine.
 
Alabama’s Lake Guntersville took the No. 2 spot after producing several 30-plus-pound limits this spring. That said, the Big G was producing so many 20-pound limits that a 4-pound average quit turning heads. Even during tough tournaments, anglers had to catch at least 24 pounds to win. This historic fishery had been down in the rankings for several years, falling out of the Top 10 in both 2016 and 2017. It climbed to No. 9 last year, and is now looking as healthy as ever.
 
Texas’ Sam Rayburn Reservoir slipped from No.1 last year to No. 3. Although production has slowed a little bit, this lake still produced a 40-pound limit and typically required at least 22 pounds to win a one-day event. California’s Clear Lake is in the fourth spot on the strength of the giant bass it is producing. A 16-pound largemouth was landed recently, and double-digit fish abound. Rounding out the remainder of the Top 10 lakes are Texas’ Lake Fork at fifth; Tennessee’s Chickamauga Lake at sixth; California’s New Melones Lake at seventh; Michigan’s Lake St. Clair at eighth; South Carolina’s Santee Cooper Lakes at ninth; and New York’s Lake Erie (out of Buffalo) at tenth.
 
The rankings identify the Top 10 lakes in the nation based on head-to-head comparisons, as well as the Top 25 lakes in four geographical regions. “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.
 
As for bragging rights on which state has the most fisheries in the 2019 rankings, the title is shared. Both Texas and California have 10 lakes on the list. Florida has the next highest with eight lakes making the rankings.
 
2019 List Of Bassmaster Magazine’s 100 Best Bass Lakes      

RANK

FISHERY

STATE

Top 10

 

 

1

St. Lawrence River

New York

2

Lake Guntersville

Alabama

3

Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Texas

4

Clear Lake

California

5

Lake Fork

Texas

6

Chickamauga Lake

Tennessee

7

New Melones Lake

California

8

Lake St. Clair

Michigan

9

Santee Cooper Lakes 

South Carolina

10

Lake Erie

New York

 

 

 

Northeast

 

 

1

St. Lawrence River

New York

2

Lake St. Clair

Michigan

3

Lake Erie

New York

4

Lake Erie

Ohio

5

Burt/Mullett lakes

Michigan

6

Lake Champlain

New York/Vermont

7

Bays de Noc

Michigan

8

Saginaw Bay

Michigan

9

Lake Charlevoix

Michigan

10

Grand Traverse Bay

Michigan

11

Potomac River

West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland

12

Oneida Lake

New York

13

Cayuga Lake

New York

14

Presque Isle Bay

Pennsylvania

15

Upper Chesapeake Bay

Maryland

16

Smith Mountain Lake

Virginia

17

Webber Pond

Maine

18

Green River Lake

Kentucky

19

Lake Cumberland

Kentucky

20

China Lake

Maine

21

Great Pond

Maine

22

Candlewood Lake

Connecticut

23

Chautauqua Lake

New York

24

Lake Winnipesaukee

New Hampshire

25

Kentucky Lake

Kentucky/Tennessee

 

 

 

Western

 

 

1

Clear Lake

California

2

New Melones Lake

California

3

Lake Perris

California

4

Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

California

5

Diamond Valley Lake

California

6

Don Pedro Reservoir

California

7

Lake Berryessa

California

8

Lake Coeur d’Alene

Idaho

9

Shasta Lake

California

10

Lake Havasu

Arizona/California

11

Roosevelt Lake

Arizona

12

Lower Colorado River

Arizona/California

13

Alamo Lake

Arizona

14

Potholes Reservoir

Washington

15

Lake Washington

Washington

16

Brownlee Reservoir

Idaho/Oregon

17

Sand Hollow Reservoir

Utah

18

Elephant Butte Reservoir

New Mexico

19

Lake Mohave

Nevada/Arizona

20

C.J. Strike Reservoir

Idaho

21

Siltcoos Lake

Oregon

22

Owyhee Reservoir

Oregon

23

Lake Pleasant

Arizona

24

Lake Mead

Nevada/Arizona

25

Columbia River

Oregon/Washington

 

 

 

Central

 

 

1

Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Texas

2

Lake Fork

Texas

3

Sturgeon Bay

Wisconsin

4

Toledo Bend

Texas/Louisiana

5

Mille Lacs Lake

Minnesota

6

Lake Falcon

Texas

7

Lake Conroe

Texas

8

Lake Minnentonka

Minnesota

9

Caddo Lake

Texas/Louisiana

10

Table Rock Lake

Missouri

11

Lake Lyndon B. Johnson

Texas

12

Millwood Lake

Arkansas

13

Caney Creek Reservoir

Louisiana

14

Lake Dardanelle

Arkansas

15

Lake Ray Roberts

Texas

16

Lake Texoma

Texas/Oklahoma

17

Lake Ouachita

Arkansas

18

Lake of the Ozarks

Missouri

19

Lake O’ the Pines

Texas

20

Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees

Oklahoma

21

Lake Columbia

Arkansas

22

Bull Shoals Lake

Arkansas

23

Lake Wanahoo

Nebraska

24

La Cygne Reservoir

Kansas

25

Newton Lake

Illinois

 

 

 

Southeast

 

 

1

Lake Guntersville

Alabama

2

Chickamauga Lake