Home DESTACADOS St. Lawrence River Named 2024’s Best Bass Lake

St. Lawrence River Named 2024’s Best Bass Lake

By Bassmaster Magazine

by Author Contribution
The St. Lawrence River has claimed the top spot in the 2024 Bassmaster Magazine 100 Best Bass Lakes standings.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.

There is a stretch of more than 50 miles of the St. Lawrence River (Thousand Islands) in New York, as well as eastern Lake Ontario, that constantly produces chunky, hard-fighting smallmouth bass. It’s this reputation for consistently giving up large numbers of quality bronzebacks that has earned the fishery the top spot in the 2024 Bassmaster Magazine 100 Best Bass Lakes standings.

The St. Lawrence River took top honors in the 2022 rankings. After slipping to No. 2 last year, the St. Lawrence has reclaimed the coveted title — and rightfully so. In 2023 the unrivaled smallmouth fishery gave up more than 100 pounds to the top four competitors in the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament held there in late August; it took a staggering 105 pounds to win the event. The unrivaled smallmouth fishery appears to be getting even better, as five-bass tournament limits of more than 20 pounds now seem to be commonplace.

Anglers face a variety of factors — weather, time of year, moon phases and more — every time they cast a line. And like the factors that affect a day of fishing, there are many factors that affect a body of water and can push a good, even great, fishery, into a “must-visit” destination for an angler — the 100 Best Bass Lakes list.

“I am always amazed at how much the rankings change each year,” said B.A.S.S. Vice President of Content James Hall. “It’s a tremendous reminder that fisheries are living entities that have good years and bad years. According to the 2024 rankings based on months of research and data collection, our Top 100 fisheries are not just alive and well but thriving.

 

“Our goal with this project has always been to offer a current list of bass fisheries that the weekend angler, someone who doesn’t get to fish but a few times a year, can visit and have the best chance at being successful,” Hall added. “Bassmaster’s 100 Best Bass Lakes rankings continue to offer fishermen the ultimate bucket list of lakes and rivers that are hot right now.”

 

California, Florida and Texas lead the pack for the most fisheries in 2024’s Top 100 rankings with seven each. Arizona, Kentucky, Louisiana and Michigan all brought six bodies of water to the list, followed by Georgia, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee with five.

After taking the top spot in 2023, Texas’ O.H. Ivie Lake dropped to No. 2 in this year’s rankings, but the fishery is clearly no slouch. The 20,000-acre lake produced 35 Toyota ShareLunkers (8 pounds or heavier) in the first four months of 2024. Twelve of those fish qualified as Legacy Class bass — 13-plus pounds — caught between January and March and loaned to Texas Parks and Wildlife for use in its selective breeding program.

Florida’s Orange Lake made the Top 10 in the nation last year, placing eighth, and checks in at No. 3 this year. The 12,550-acre body of water features extensive aquatic vegetation such as lily pads and periodic hydrilla that give bass ample cover to thrive on forage and grow to massive proportions. Orange Lake has given up 33 bass over 8 pounds to the TrophyCatch program since January, 14 of which were in double digits.

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 nations into four regions and rank the lakes in each region to give anglers perspective on the fisheries they can most likely reach,” Hall said.

Bassmaster Magazine’s Top 10 Best Bass Lakes of 2024

  1. Lawrence River (Thousand Islands), New York
  2. H. Ivie Lake, Texas
  3. Orange Lake, Florida
  4. Lake St. Clair, Michigan
  5. Lake Fork, Texas
  6. Lake Murray, South Carolina
  7. Lake Erie/Upper Niagara River, New York
  8. Clear Lake, California
  9. Bussey Brake Reservoir, Louisiana
  10. Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota

Best Bass Lakes — Central Division

  1. H. Ivie Lake, Texas
  2. Lake Fork, Texas
  3. Bussey Brake Reservoir, Louisiana
  4. Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota
  5. Caney Creek Reservoir, Louisiana

Best Bass Lakes — Western Division

  1. Clear Lake, California
  2. Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, California
  3. Roosevelt Lake, Arizona
  4. Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
  5. El Capitan Reservoir, California

Best Bass Lakes — Southeastern Division

  1. Orange Lake, Florida
  2. Lake Murray, South Carolina
  3. Jordan Lake, North Carolina
  4. Santee Cooper Lakes (Marion/Moultrie), South Carolina
  5. Lake Guntersville, Alabama

Best Bass Lakes — Northeastern Division

  1. Lawrence River (Thousand Islands), New York
  2. Lake St. Clair, Michigan
  3. Lake Erie/Upper Niagara River, New York
  4. Lake Erie, Ohio
  5. Burt/Mullett lakes, Michigan

Full rankings can be found in the July/August issue of Bassmaster Magazine and on Bassmaster.com.

Photo by Craig Lamb/B.A.S.S


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