Facebook Pixel Where to Fish for Largemouth Bass in the US: 5 Favorite States | BassForecast
29 Apr

Where to Fish for Largemouth Bass in the US (Angler’s Guide)

Bass Fishing Tips

Largemouth bass is the United States’ top game fish, and there’s a good reason for that. It fights hard, requires skill to catch consistently, and gets fairly large. These aggressive predators are the cream of the crop for most anglers.

However, while they’re prevalent across much of the nation, there are good spots and bad spots to target them.

Today, we want to go over which US states are the best for fishing for largemouth bass, and we want to cover the things you should look for in a fishing spot to have the best time catching them.

Let’s get started.

Which States are Largemouth Bass in?

Largemouth bass are commonly found in every state. However, they tend to be bigger and more prevalent in the southern states where the average temperature is higher. 

In the Midwest, the fishing can be great in certain spots, but it’s still not as good as in a prime southern location. Up north, you tend to find more smallmouth bass, and the bass records for northern states are typically the lowest.

That’s a good general guideline to give you a good idea of what to expect, but in this section, we’re going to highlight our top 5 favorite states for largemouth bass and why we chose them.

1: Georgia

Home of the first world-record largemouth bass way back in 1932, Georgia is a bass fisherman’s dream. The bass are plentiful, you have a variety of aquatic environments to catch them in, and some of the world’s best fishing holes are in Georgia.

This list simply wouldn’t be right if we didn’t start it off with the peach state.

2: California

California is a bit of an outlier in terms of where largemouth bass tend to proliferate. However, it is home to some of the biggest bass you’re going to find. California holds multiple top-tier bass records, and it consistently produces high-quality bass even for amateur anglers who don’t know what they’re doing.

Notably, Clear Lake, Castaic Lake, and Casitas Lake have all led to impressive catches with above-average records that are beaten or contested fairly regularly. So, those are great places to start.

3: Texas

Everything is bigger in Texas, or so they say. Well, when it comes to the bass, that’s pretty much true.

Texas has produced some of the finest record-breaking bass this nation has ever seen. It’s also the primary home of alligator gar and a variety of other river monsters. So, you can trust that you’ll have a good time even if you’re not targeting bass.

The best spot to fish for largemouth bass in Texas has to be the legendary Lake Fork.

4: Alabama

Alabama is just like Georgia. It has giant bass and plenty of them. It’s also home to a variety of beautiful fisheries and bass fishing records. You can also find a multitude of competitive fishing contests in Alabama open to anglers of all skill levels. So, it’s a great state to be in if you’re looking to get serious about bass fishing.

5: Michigan

Michigan might be a northern state, but it breaks the mold a bit. In the great lakes, you can find some massive bass, and the bite is usually pretty frequent.

You also get access to sturgeon, smallmouth, and a variety of species that aren’t common in the south. 

What to Look for in a Fishing Spot for Bass Fishing

Unfortunately, the vast majority of people reading this probably don’t live in one of those 5 isolated spots we mentioned, and traveling hours, or even days, to reach one of them isn’t an option.

Luckily, that’s not a problem at all. As we said, bass are all over the United States. You just have to know how to make the most of every spot.

We’re going to go over the key features you need to look for in a fishing spot to reel in bass regardless of whether you live in a prime bass fishing state or not.

1: Plenty of Cover

Largemouth bass love cover. They use it for a variety of reasons. It provides isolation that bass love, temperature control on hotter days, access to insects and other small treats, and of course, ambush spots for bigger meals that are smart enough to run away.

You can catch bass in crystal clear water with zero cover, but it’s typically a far more consistent experience if you target cover locations.

Cover includes anything that breaks up vision and works as a hiding spot. This includes stumps, downed trees, water grass, structural remains, docks, bridges, piers, stilt buildings, irrigation pumps, and plenty of other things. If a bass can hide in it, behind it, or under it, it’s a good location to check.

Tips for Fishing Around Cover

Once you find some cover, you need to fish it correctly.

A great strategy is to cast past the cover and reel your lure in right alongside it. This will draw bass out rather than trying to get them to bite while they’re in it.

You should also be careful not to let the bass fight its way back into the cover. With most types of cover, especially bushes and logs, the bass can break your line off if it gets back into the spot. Once you hook it, get it away as fast as you can without putting too much tension on your line.

Finally, try to use a weedless lure that protects your hook. That will keep you from getting snagged left and right.

2: Find Spots that Aren’t Over Pressured

In the fishing world, pressure typically refers to how many people fish in the area daily. For example, a quiet farm pond that is only fished by the owner would be a low-pressure spot, but a public pier with anglers standing shoulder to shoulder would be extremely high-pressure.

There’s a reason it’s called “pressure”, too. First, it puts more pressure on the bass, and they tend to figure out what’s going on a lot faster. They also get tired and stop biting faster, too.

That also means there’s a lot more pressure on you to catch anything. With anglers all over the place, your opportunity of stumbling upon a monster bass before someone else does is dramatically lower, and the pressure is on.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to only fish spots that never have any other anglers. That can be a tell-tale sign that the spot is understocked and not producing enough. Anglers don’t tend to keep going back to dead spots.

What it does mean is that you need to look at the space between anglers and whether or not you have room to try a few locations rather than just standing still.

Even if a spot seems like it has a ton of pressure when you first check it out, try coming back earlier in the day. Many public spots will see large numbers of anglers in the afternoon because that’s when the casual fishermen show up to enjoy family time. 

Sometimes, as a serious fisherman, you need to wake up early or stay out late to avoid pressure and get some good fishing in.

3: Drop Offs

A drop-off is a spot on the water’s bottom where the elevation suddenly changes. It doesn’t have to be a straight drop, but it does need to be fairly steep.

Bass will hide on the sides of these drop-off locations just below the depth that baitfish swim at when they’re checking out the bottom of the lake floor for small crustaceans. This is because bass like to strike from below. You can see this in action if you use topwater frogs.

If you can cast just to the edge of a drop-off, you can trigger bass to swallow your lure in an instant, and they’ll almost always be hiding around that type of area.

Of course, knowing where drop-offs are and how to accurately cast at them are two different beasts to tackle. Sonar makes half of the problem easier because you can see the elevation change. Casting accurately is a skill you’ll develop, but it’s okay to overshoot it and cast it into the deeper section. Don’t worry. That’ll still bring in bass effectively if you present your lure well enough.

4: Well-Stocked Fisheries

First, we do not mean pay lakes. If that’s your thing, that’s your personal choice, but there’s a reason anglers don’t like them. They’re pumped full of so many game fish that the ecosystem is thrown off, and not only is it not natural and bad for other fish in the water, but it takes the skill out of it. The fish are so overpacked that they’re practically begging to get out.

However, there is a difference between a pay lake and a well-stocked fishery

Fish populations maintain themselves in nature, but with sport fishing being so popular, anglers who fish and take their catches home outside of the limits in place, and other problems, many major public fisheries have to resupply the fish population every few years.

If you go to an over-pressured lake that isn’t restocked, you won’t catch much.

Unless you look up the stocking practices of the fishery, your best bet to determine this is to fish it a few times. If you’re a decent fisherman, and you don’t catch anything or get any bites over several trips, the fish population is probably down due to poor stocking practices. 

Just don’t test it in winter. The bass are naturally harder to catch in the winter, and it’s not reflective of the spot’s quality.

Featured Article: Bass Fishing in Winter: Strategies for Cold Weather Angling

5: Plenty of Bait Fish

You don’t just have to worry about the number of bass in the water. You also have to worry about the number of baitfish in the water.

This can vary throughout the year depending on the spawn and the stocking habits of the fishery, but bass can’t thrive if there isn’t any food. You have to remember that you’re engaging with an ecosystem, and it’s not just the bass that determines how good the fishing is.

A good variety of baitfish species is good, too. A natural selection of shad, bluegill, spotted sunfish, and other bait fish is optimal.

This not only affects how many bass the ecosystem can support, but it also affects how big they can get. The bass needs to eat a lot to grow to record-shattering sizes.

Preserving a Good Spot Once You Find It

We’ve talked quite a bit about how you can find a good spot, but that’s only half of an angler’s job. See, you’re participating in an ecosystem when you’re fishing, and this article is likely to go out to a lot of newer anglers. The other half of your job is to preserve the sport and the animals that make that sport possible.

We’re huge proponents of CPR when it comes to largemouth bass. That means catch, photograph, and release. It’s pretty self-explanatory. You catch the fish, take a picture as a keepsake, and release it safely to the water if possible. This allows bass to continue breeding and creating diversity in the gene pool.

Another big aspect of that is that you don’t litter, cut your line, and leave dozens of yards of line in the water, etc. You want to leave the spot looking better than you found it.

This is how you help do your part to preserve the sport of largemouth bass fishing for generations to come. That way our children’s children can enjoy the same sport we’re enjoying today.

Find the Best Fishing Spot with BassForecast

If you follow the tips on where to fish for largemouth bass in the US, you can make any spot work. However, there’s a much easier way to find a great fishing spot, and you’ll get tons of other benefits, too.

Our bass fishing app offers real-time weather updates with more information than you’ll get anywhere else, in-depth maps of every American waterway, and tips to help you make the most of it.

Hop on the BassForecast fishing app today.