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Home >> Fishing >> America's Best Bass Lakes << Back

America's Best Bass Lakes

Kevin VanDam's Top Picks

EDITOR'S NOTE: Anyone who says he or she can tell you the best bass-fishing lakes in the United States only can choose those lakes based on personal knowledge. However, the outdoorsmen interviewed this week fish all over the nation and have the opportunities to sample some of the best bass fishing this country has to offer. They have emphasized that they don't know the best lakes in the nation to bass fish but will share the lakes where they catch the most and the biggest bass. Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Michigan, BASS Master Classic winner and one of the hosts on Bass Pro Shops' Outdoor World, enjoys fishing at home and away.

I like to fish Lake St. Clair, a shallow lake with lots of vegetation, located just outside of Detroit, Michigan, because of its large numbers of very big smallmouth. Although the lake also has a good population of largemouth bass, the lake has built its reputation on its large number of smallmouth bass.

At Lake St. Clair, you can catch bass in fairly shallow water. The tube jig will produce, and the Carolina-rigged worm remains one of my favorites. But if I'm fishing for numbers of 3- to 5-pound bass, I'll fish with a 1/2-ounce tandem willow-leaf blade Strike King Premier spinner bait with a shad-color skirt, since L-Ys are the dominant prey species for the big bass there. This spinner bait will pull bass swimming 12- to 15-feet deep up to the surface.

You'll find the most productive bass fishing at Lake St. Clair in the fall. The same spinner bait you've used in the summer still dominates as the best lure for catching big bass. The top-water action also will start heating up in the fall.

Forget fishing. The lake is covered with ice.

Spring: Anglers can catch bass the easiest at Lake St. Clair in the spring. Because the bass spawn then, you may take and release 100 bass a day here. I like to use the Kevin VanDam Pro Model Strike King Two Tube Jig. Lipless crankbaits, spinner baits and jerkbaits also will produce numbers of bass. Look for the bass that feed aggressively on shallow-water flats.

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