Texas has always been recognized as an outstanding place for bass fishing. Folks from outside the Lone Star State are always surprised to learn that Texas has 4,959 square miles of inland water, ranking it first in the 48 contiguous states. There are about 6,736 reservoirs in Texas with a normal storage capacity of 10 acre-feet or larger.
So is it any wonder that Texas is one of the best, if not the best, bass-fishing states in the country? Bass, as you know, are dependent on water – and this remarkable state supports that dependency quite well. What’s more, a majority of the state’s water is fertile – meaning there’s plenty of baitfish, crawfish, little snakes (and more) to tickle a bass’ palate.
To give you an idea of what we’re dealing with here, Texas has a land and water area of 267,277 square miles, which means it occupies about 7 percent of the total land and water area of the United States. The longest straight-line distance in a general north-south direction is 801 miles, and it is 773 miles in an east-west direction. If you’re wondering what this has to do with bass fishing … absolutely nothing. But it gives you an idea of the vast area to be covered in selecting Texas’ Best Bass Lakes.
Amistad is a 64,900-surface-acre reservoir fed by the Rio Grande River, which divides Texas and Mexico. It’s about 12 miles northwest of Del Rio, located at the northwestern tip of what is known as the South Texas Plains, and at the southwestern tip of the Edwards Plateau. Amistad is an excellent top water lake in spring and fall, but in the early part of the year, anglers often have to deal with strong winds. Fortunately, there are many coves that provide some protection, but there’s also lots of open water that can be especially dangerous for smaller boats. The Rio Grande is a fertile stream and helps provide an abundance of baitfish and other edibles for bass. Knowledgeable anglers can easily read the terrain and discover areas most likely to hold bass. However, an always-good bet is to run crank baits through submerged mesquite and vegetation, and to work points with plastic worms. For more information, contact the Del Rio Chamber of Commerce, (830) 775-3551.
Switching from Amistad to Caddo Lake is quite a culture shock. You are suddenly transported from desert-type terrain to the Pineywoods area, near Marshall and the Louisiana border. This area of some 16 million acres ranges from about 50 to 700 feet above sea level in elevation, and receives 40 to 56 inches of rainfall annually. Many creeks, rivers and bayous drain the region. Caddo was originally a natural lake whose surface and capacity were increased to 26,800 acres by construction of a dam on Cypress Creek near Mooringsport, La. It is a maze of cypress trees, Spanish moss, lily pads and other types of vegetation. It’s full of bass, but catching one 7 pounds or better is a rarity. The lake is a great place for catching numbers of bass. The tranquil setting and always-deep shadows make it a year-round top water lake, although the action is hotter is spring and fall. A spinner bait is also good year ’round. Best hot weather bet is a plastic worm and winter calls for a jig-and-pig. You can fish a crank in the channels, but the bases of cypress trees seem to always hold fish. For more information, contact the Greater Marshall Chamber of Commerce, (903) 935-7868.
With San Antonio and Corpus Christi anglers, the popularity of 25,733-surface-acre Choke Canyon Reservoir on the Frio River has never waned. Located near Three Rivers and west of Beeville, the reservoir offers practically everything that makes a lake exciting – a quantity of good, solid bass and plenty of bait to support their growth. Cover is adequate and terrain ideal for working points, coves and other features. Top water fishing is OK in spring and fall, but cranks, spinner baits and plastic worms will more readily fill an angler’s live well. For more information, contact Three Rivers Chamber of Commerce, (512) 786-4330.
COOPER (JIM CHAPMAN)
Hot, hot, hot is the best way to describe this 19,280-surface-acre reservoir northeast of Dallas. It does not matter what day you choose to fish Cooper; you will have company. But this lake, like many in the eastern part of the state, can handle crowds – and it’s loaded with quality bass. There’s lots of cover, so go with top waters and spinner baits in early spring. It’s also an excellent lake for fishing the jig-and-pig, plastic lizards and buzz baits. For more information, contact the Cooper Chamber of Commerce, (903) 395-4314.
Falcon has for years been one of Texas’ best bass lakes, but its location (the western side of the southern tip of the state) and an abundance of bass reservoirs near large population centers has resulted in less fishing pressure on this Rio Grande River impoundment. The result has been a steadily increasing bass population, though water fluctuation can be irritating to anglers and cause bass to be finicky. Wind can also be a problem. Still, this is a great hole of water for quantity and quality – many solid 2- and 3-pound fish that will smash top water lures in spring and fall, and stretch the lines of anglers using plastic worms and cranks. Like the newer Texas/Mexico border lake upriver, Amistad, the 78,300-surface-acre reservoir suffers from lack of proper management by Mexican authorities. For more information, contact the Zapata Chamber of Commerce, (956) 765-4871.
This is simply the best lake in Texas for big bass. Lake Fork has produced most of our state-record bass simply because the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department did a beautiful job of management before the reservoir was ever inundated. Throughout the area that would be covered by water when the dam’s gates were closed, big Florida brood bass were placed in small lakes and ponds. The result was that the lake started producing state-record fish almost immediately. At various times of the year, practically any lure will work in this 27,690-surface-acre body of water, but diligence to detail and hard fishing is often required to catch bass weighing more than 10 pounds. Many lunkers are taken at night after the waters quiet from all the boat activity. Because this lake is only a couple of hours’ drive east of Dallas, it gets lots of fishing pressure. Its reputation also draws anglers from throughout the nation. For more information, contact the Greater Quitman Chamber of Commerce, (903) 763-4411.
All but forgotten by most Fort Worth anglers, 15,250-surface-acre Hubbard Creek reservoir near Breckenridge in North Central Texas is an excellent bass hole – particularly in early spring and fall. Directly west of Fort Worth (where the West begins), Hubbard Creek is considered a West Texas reservoir. Geography aside, a jig-and-pig is very good there early in the year, along with spinner baits, worked through submerged brush and trees. For more information, contact the Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce, (940) 559-2301.
Lake Kemp, a 16,540-surface-acre lake near Seymour, attracts little attention except from anglers in the Wichita Falls area, including parts of Oklahoma. Southwest of Wichita Falls and north of Seymour, the reservoir is fed by the Wichita River and is typical of lakes in the state’s Interior Lowlands and Rolling Plains. It lacks the type of cover and vegetation that makes the state’s eastern waters so appealing and productive, but abundant bait and good spawns make it a first-class reservoir for catching quantities of bass. You might have a problem hooking a bass of more than 7 pounds, but bass in the 2-pound range are plentiful.Watch the wind and use the terrain to locate points that yield fish. For more information, contact the Seymour Chamber of Commerce, (940) 888-2921.
LAKE O’ THE PINES
An oldie but goodie bass hotspot, Lake O’ The Pines is still yielding good catches of quality fish, especially in spring and fall. The good news is that because of all the “newer” bass lakes in East Texas, it doesn’t get the pressure it once did. There’s ample vegetation for good spawns and the protection of bait to help fish grow. A lot of people still use crawfish to fill a stringer, but throwing top waters, buzz baits and spinner baits around submerged timber and vegetation can get your string stretched. The lake is located in northeast Texas, not far from Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma. For more info, contact the Daingerfield Chamber of Commerce, (903) 645-2646.
When an angler thinks about Lake Livingston, it’s difficult not to think about “The Jungle” and buzz baits. The Jungle is an area of the lake that is hard to negotiate because of fallen timber and vegetation, but it’s loaded with good bass. With buzz baits or floating worms are about the only ways to fish the area. Because this 90,000-surface-acre lake is in the southeastern part of the state and close to Houston, it has always known fishing pressure. However, because of its size and cover, it has handled that pressure quite well. For sheer numbers of bass, this can be one of the most productive bodies of water in the state. For more information, call the Polk County Chamber of Commerce, (409) 327-4929.
Out Amarillo way, in the northernmost part of the state, near Borger is one of the state’s premier bass lakes. Lake Meredith, all 16,505 surface-acres, does not get any serious fishing pressure from Texas’ major metropolitan areas. It only takes a look at a map to dissuade most big city anglers from making such a trek. However, Meredith is a fine bass lake, especially for smallmouth bass. Best bet for catching smallmouth bass are grubs and small cranks worked off gravel points. If you visit, be careful of high winds – and watch for rattlesnakes! For more information, contact the Borger Chamber of Commerce, (806) 274-2211.
This 25,500-surface-acre lake has ample productive water, thanks to the Neches River and a number of creeks that feed it. The reservoir has fallen and standing timber and plenty of aquatic vegetation. Bait is plentiful and so are good, solid bass. Lunkers here are in the 7- to 10-pound class, but not that easy to catch. You will, however, be able to put together an excellent stringer in the spring with plastic worms or lizards and with surface, buzz-, spinner- and crank baits. A good approach is to work the edges of the river and creek channels. If the wind forces you off the lake, and you have a small boat, the river below the dam offers excellent fishing. For more information, contact the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, (903) 586-2217.
Ray Roberts is just outside Dallas’ north door, and it’s loaded with big bass. It’s certainly ready for prime time, and capable of challenging Lake Fork for a state-record bass. The big ones that occupy this 29,350-surface-acre reservoir have plenty of cover, deep water and natural bait to nibble on. Fed by the Elm Fork of the Trinity River and some good creeks, Ray Roberts has the type of structure you would want if you were building a lake specifically for bass fishing. That doesn’t mean fishing there is easy. You can have a fishing day that most people only dream about, or you can get skunked. But this is a place to “think big” instead of about numbers, though if it’s numbers of fish you want, they’re here. For more information, contact the Pilot Point Chamber of Commerce, (940) 686-5385.
Surely no one would argue about Sam Rayburn being on the list of Texas’ Best Bass Lakes. This 114,500-surface-acre lake has been one of the state’s best for a long, long time. Located in deep East Texas, the sheer size of this reservoir fed by the Angelina River and numerous creeks and bayous, makes it a favorite of anglers statewide. The lake has wonderful arms – fed by creeks – that are loaded with standing and fallen timber, brush and vegetation. Big Sam has unbelievable structure for bass, ample natural bait and . . . well, frankly, everything you would want in a bass lake. Depending on the structure you choose, practically any artificial bait you use can be effective. Because of its proximity to major population centers in southeast Texas, it gets a lot of pressure on weekends – but the lake’s size accommodates a crowd, and if you can hit it on a weekday, it can be downright serene. For more information, contact the Jasper Chamber of Commerce, (409) 384-2762.
Most bass anglers will pass over 36,700-surface-acre Tawakoni in search of waters that offer bigger and larger quantities of bass, but this is still a good lake. Located east of Quinlan and west of Emory, the lake has been an excellent producer of bass for many years. Again, this is not the type of lake where you are likely to catch a monster bass, but a good day’s fishing can produce excellent results off points and moss beds. Surface lures work great in spring and fall, and the plastic worm is practically always good. For more information, contact the Quinlan Area Chamber of Commerce (903) 356-4703
When it comes to the best bass lake in Texas, how can anybody quibble with the selection of Toledo Bend? Of course, part of this 185,000-surface-acre reservoir is in Louisiana. Talk about cover, this body of water has every conceivable type. Fed by the Sabine River and many creeks on both the Texas and Louisiana side of the lake, these waters are a virtual paradise for bass. Schools of quality bass ravage shad along the rivers and creek channels, and there’s no lack of standing and fallen timber, brush and aquatic vegetation. Depending on structure and time of year, practically every artificial works here. For information, call the San Augustine Chamber of Commerce, (409) 275-3610.
“Top Bass Fishing Lakes in Texas – TexasBassFishing.com Â© Your Bassfishing Headquarters for All Your Bass Fishing Needs.” Top Bass Fishing Lakes in Texas. Web. 20 May 2012.