TRAVEL REGIONS Posted Oct 01, 2014 By: wfn 7 Best Lakes to Catch Smallmouth Bass One of the most entertaining species of sportfish to catch in North America is the smallmouth bass. Sure, largemouth bass grow bigger and are more common, but pound-for-pound, they can't match the power of a smallmouth bass on the end of the line. You can find smallmouth bass throughout much of North America, but take a look below at the best smallmouth bass fisheries in the continent! Lake Erie, Ohio/Ontario/New York/Pennsylvania When it comes to both quantity and quality for bronzebacks, no body of water produces as well as Lake Erie. It's the kind of lake where it's more than feasible to catch 200 fish in a single day! Quality size, too, where bass in the three-to-four pound range is normal, and fish over seven pounds aren't that uncommon. You can thank a large increase in goby population over the years for the great smallmouth bass boom this lake has received. The eastern side of the lake in particular (Niagara/Buffalo region) is a smallmouth bass fishing mecca. The fall season is arguably the best time for bass here, especially between September and October. Be sure to check out our Fall Fishing Guide for more tips on catching smallmouth bass in the autumn season. Lake Champlain, New York/Vermont Lake Champlain at sunset. Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons Perhaps the best lake in all of North America for both quality largemouth and smallmouth bass is Lake Champlain. The combined fishery makes it a popular destination for the biggest tournament circuits in the U.S., like B.A.S.S. and FLW. Though anglers can try and go for broke and chase monster largemouths, for the most consistent results, finding smallmouth bass schools along the northern part of the lake is the way to go, especially on the Vermont side. Like with Erie, fall is the best time for smallmouth on Champlain, as bass follow the baitfish into the shallows as the water cools. Lake Simcoe, Ontario A view of Lake Simcoe. Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons A true trophy smallmouth destination, fish over eight pounds are caught here annually. You may not find as many bass here in a day as other lakes on this list, but you can be sure that the bites you do get are going to be big – think five-fish bags approaching 30 pounds and more. All the clichéd structure and cover you’d come to expect for smallmouth bass can be found in Lake Simcoe – rocky points, shoreline timber, docks, and shoals. Located an hour-and-half’s drive north of Toronto, Lake Simcoe is for bass anglers who want big fish. Lake St. Clair, Michigan/Ontario Nestled in between Lake Erie and Huron is Lake St. Clair, a body of water that may not be as famous as its neighbors due to its smaller size, but ask any angler and they'd tell you that it's just as "great" a fishing lake as any in the world. And it can be a fun one, too, as smallies school in three-to-five feet of water at certain times of the year. Combine that with the super clear water and you have yourself one amazing sight-fishing destination. Unlike Simcoe, Lake St. Clair doesn't look like a good smallmouth bass lake: there aren't a lot of rock formations or even vegetation that smallmouth like for habitat. However, bass flourish there anyway, so much so that you can expect to catch bass anywhere along the shoreline, with fish averaging three pounds. Be sure to check out that video above to hear Bob Izumi, host of Bob Izumi's Real Fishing Show, talk about the great smallmouth bass action on Lake St. Clair. Dale Hollow Lake, Tennessee/Kentucky A view of Dale Hollow Lake. Dale Hollow Lake enjoys an iconic status among anglers as it is the home of the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) world record smallmouth bass: an 11-pound, 15-ounce fish caught by David Hayes back in 1955. The fish, however, doesn't come without controversy as there has been evidence to suggest the fish had metallic weights in its belly when it was weighed in. Oddly enough, even if you discount this fish, the next biggest smallmouth still comes from Dale Hollow: John Gorman's 10-pound, 14-ouncer back in 1969. Getting fish of that size isn't all too likely these days in Dale Hollow, but it is still a world-class smallmouth bass fishery that contains enough quality bass to make it worth a trip. For more information on fishing for smallmouth bass out of Dale Hollow Lake, take a look at this article by WFN Ambassador Mark Bilbrey. Grand Traverse Bay, Michigan Grand Traverse Bay. Photo credit: Norm Powell via Flickr Grand Traverse Bay is in the northwest corner of Lake Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, just under 10 miles from Central Lake. Traverse City lies on the southern edge of the bay. It's a 32-mile long and 10-mile wide smallmouth bass factory, where fish over six pounds are common. An underrated aspect of fishing out of Traverse City is that, when the wind makes Great Lakes fishing impossible, there are a multitude of great smallmouth bass lakes inland to try out. It's sure nice to have options like that! To top it off, Bassmaster named Grand Traverse Bay as the ninth-best bass lake in all of the United States for 2014 in their annual "Top 100 Bass Lakes." See the full list here. Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin Sturgeon Bay If Grand Traverse Bay was ninth, which lake made the top of the list? That would be Sturgeon Bay, which is also found in Lake Michigan, sitting halfway up Green Bay in the Wisconsin Peninsula. Sturgeon Bay received the honor because there are a lot of big smallmouth bass to be found, and they're relatively easy to find. When a fish over eight pounds is what it takes to win "Big Bass" in a tournament, you know you're in for some huge bites each and every time you go out there. Anywhere along the shoreline of this 100-by-30-mile bay you can expect to find fish thanks to an abundance of rock formations and reefs that smallies love. The June spawn is considered the best time to find fish, as well as the fall, when bass move in the shallows chasing baitfish. Honorable Mentions: Bay de Noc, Michigan Pickwick Lake, Alabama/Tennessee Candlewood Lake, Connecticut Rainy Lake, Ontario Lake of the Woods, Minnesota/Ontario Kentucky Lake, Kentucky/Tennessee St. Lawrence River, Quebec/Ontario Be sure to visit our Travel section for more articles on the best places to fish!