The Wired2Fish editorial staff ranks the very best bass fishing lakes of 2016.

1. Clear Lake

State: California

Clear Lake is the best big bass fishery in the country right now—it was a unanimous decision for our editorial team. The sheer numbers of largemouth weighing over 5 pounds is simply jaw dropping and anglers routinely catch 10-pounders from its waters. It sees a lot of angling pressure but like many great lakes on this year’s list, it still produces. It has docks, grass flats and rocky structure, so there’s a little of everything for most anglers. You can catch giant bass on several different techniques and you’d be shocked at the number of 5 to 8-pounders you’ll run across. This lake needs to be No. 1 on your 2016 bucket list, without a doubt.

2. Mille Lacs Lake

State: Minnesota

Although it’s been the center of controversy with its walleye stocks allegedly being depleted and smallmouth harvesting regulations, Mille Lacs is still kicking out gargantuan smallmouth on a routine basis. It’s easily the best smallmouth fishery in the country right now and anglers have a great chance of catching a 6 or 7-pound smallmouth on any fishing trip. If the giants don’t bite, you’ll have your hands full with plenty of 3 and 4-pounders.

The Elite Series anglers showed exactly what makes this lake such a powerhouse in September of 2016. Seth Feider won the 2016 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship on Mille Lacs with 76 pounds, 5 ounces of smallmouth for just a three-day tournament. A 20-pound per day average landed Brett Hite in 24th place; let that sink in for a while.

Mille Lacs is bound to become a major destination for hardcore smallmouth anglers, especially after the Elite Series smallmouth beatdown airs on television.

3. Toledo Bend Reservoir

State: Texas and Louisiana

This lake has seen two years of high water conditions resulting in excellent spawns, which tells us Toledo Bend will be hanging out at the top of our list for years to come. Whether you’re flipping or casting a big plug, you have a definite chance of catching that bass of a life time. It’s another lake that sees a bunch of fishing pressure but it shows no signs of slowing down. It regularly takes 30 pounds to win tournaments with 10-pound kickers, especially in the spring months.

4. New Bullards Bar Reservoir

State: California

It was once a closely kept secret, but thanks to an astonishing number of world record-class fish caught from its waters, it’s safe to say that the secret is out. It’s commonly referred to as the top spotted bass fishery in the world and the numbers back it up: Tim Little caught broke the world record spotted bass title with a 10.38 monster. Not long after Little’s catch, Paul Bailey reportedly broke that record with an 11-pound, 4-ounce spotted bass—but the fish was weighed in a boat and not on solid ground, so it wasn’t certified. If enormous spotted bass sound like a good time to you, New Bullards Bar is the place to go.

This article was originally posted here

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