Best Smallmouth Fishing in US

Top Spots for Smallmouth Bass Fishing in the United States

Smallmouth bass, also known as bronze backs, are popular among anglers for their fighting spirit and the challenge they present. The United States offers many impressive fishing locations, teeming with smallmouth bass. These top spots range from expansive freshwater lakes to winding rivers, each providing a unique fishing experience.

Before we dive in, it’s essential to understand the peak season for smallmouth bass fishing. Spring through fall, especially during early mornings and late evenings, are typically the best times for catching this feisty fish.

Here’s a summary of these top spots:

Location State(s) Best Time for Fishing Average Weight of Smallmouth Bass
Lake St. Clair Michigan June – October 3 – 4 lbs
Dale Hollow Lake Kentucky/Tennessee Year-round Up to 11 lbs, 15 oz
Mille Lacs Lake Minnesota Spring – Fall 4 – 6 lbs
New River Virginia/West Virginia Spring – Fall 2 – 5 lbs
Susquehanna River Pennsylvania Spring – Fall 2 – 4 lbs


Here’s a comprehensive look at the top spots for smallmouth bass fishing in the United States.

1. Lake St. Clair, Michigan

Lake St. Clair

Lake St. Clair, located between Lake Huron and Lake Erie, is renowned for its smallmouth bass fishing. The average catch here is around 3-4 pounds, but you can occasionally reel in a giant 6-pounder. The best time to fish is during the post-spawn season from June through October.

2. Dale Hollow Lake, Kentucky/Tennessee

Dale Hollow Lake

Often touted as the “home of the smallmouth bass,” Dale Hollow Lake is a premier destination for smallmouth anglers. This lake’s reputation is underpinned by the fact that it has produced the world record smallmouth bass, a whopping 11 pounds, 15 ounces caught by David Hayes in 1955. Dale Hollow Lake’s clear, deep water with ample cover, provides a perfect habitat for smallmouth to grow to substantial sizes.

3. Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota

Mille Lacs Lake

Mille Lacs Lake is Minnesota’s second-largest inland lake and is recognized as a fantastic smallmouth bass fishery. The rocky reefs and points create an ideal habitat for these fish, and anglers often catch smallmouth in the 4-6 pound range here.

4. New River, Virginia/West Virginia

New River

The New River offers fantastic smallmouth fishing opportunities along its path through Virginia and West Virginia. It’s a favorite among anglers for its high-quality fishing in a scenic setting. The river’s swift currents and varied bottom structure make it an ideal habitat for smallmouth bass.

5. Susquehanna River, Pennsylvania

Susquehanna River

The Susquehanna River is one of the longest rivers on the Eastern Coast and offers some of the best smallmouth bass fishing in the country. The river’s clear, shallow water is the perfect habitat for smallmouth bass. In the warmer months, you can often spot bass in the 2-4 pound range.

Below is a summary table featuring the mentioned hotspots:

Location State Noteworthy Features
Dale Hollow Lake Tennessee World record smallmouth bass.
Susquehanna River Pennsylvania Shallow, rocky stretches perfect for smallmouth bass.
Mille Lacs Lake Minnesota Known for high catch rates and sizable bass.
Lake St. Clair Michigan Shallow depth with lush vegetation, harboring vast numbers of smallmouth bass.
New River Virginia and West Virginia Warm water supports a healthy food chain, leading to large, aggressive bass.
Columbia River Oregon and Washington Known for diverse habitat, with bass exceeding six pounds.

All the locations listed offer fantastic fishing opportunities, but remember to keep abreast of local fishing regulations, including catch limits and licensing requirements. Practicing catch and release is important to help sustain the smallmouth bass population for future generations.

Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned angler, each of these locations offers something unique and challenging. Now it’s time to pack up your fishing gear and embark on your smallmouth bass fishing adventure. Happy fishing!

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