They say everything is bigger in Texas, and when it comes to bass, at least, it’s hard to argue the point. Texas boasts some of the biggest bass on average of all the United States. The weather there is also conducive to year-round fishing, and there’s a huge variety of first-rate fisheries across North America’s second largest state. With hundreds of lakes, ponds, and small private fisheries, it can be hard for a visiting bass addict to know where to start in the Lone Star State. So start right here with our list of the 15 best bass fishing lakes in Texas.
Best Fishing Lakes in Texas: Table of Contents
- The Top 5 List
- Lake Fork
- O.H. Ivie
- Sam Rayburn
- Toledo Bend
- 5 Runners Up
- Choke Canyon
- Ray Roberts
- 5 Honorable Mentions
- Caddo Lake
- Lake Texoma
- Lake O’ the Pines
- Lake Travis
Best Bass Fishing Lakes in Texas: The Top 5
1. Lake Fork
One of the country’s most celebrated fisheries, 27,246-acre Lake Fork was constructed in 1980 and built to be a bass fishing paradise. Designed specifically to produce trophy largemouth bass, Fork’s waters have yielded more than half of the current Top 50 biggest largemouth caught in Texas, including the current top 6, all weighing more than 17 pounds.
2. O.H. Ivie
O.H. Ivie holds the current 7th and 8th place rankings for the biggest bass ever caught in Texas, a 16.90-pounder caught in 1986 and a 17.03-pound behemoth caught in February of 2023. The latter is the largest bass caught in Texas in recent years, with the most recent of the six Lake Fork bass ranked above it on the list coming 31 years earlier, in 1992. This beast put O.H. Ivie on the national—and even international—radar for trophy hunters.
Just this past February, Lea Anne Powell of Jackson, Texas, boated a 12-pound, 3-ounce bass that in June was certified as the new world record for the 12-pound line class in the women’s category. You can read the story of her catch here.
3. Sam Rayburn
Sam Rayburn Reservoir is must-visit Texas bass fishing destinations. A largemouth weighing 16.80 was caught on Rayburn Back in 1997, the only bass from Rayburn currently on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Top 50 list. Though it’s not as well known for monster bass, Sam Rayburn is not just one of the best bass fishing lakes in Texas, but also one of the best tournament fishing lakes in the country, hosting local, regional, and national events regularly and producing loads of quality bass over 5 pounds.
4. Toledo Bend
Toledo Bend Reservoir is a 181,600-acre impoundment of the Sabine River situated on the Louisiana/Texas border. Toledo is another phenomenal fishery, though it doesn’t have the trophy caliber bass seen in a few other fisheries around the state. Still, it’s regular and steady production of quality largemouths over the years has made Toledo Bend a top destination for tournament and recreational anglers alike for decades.
Falcon Reservoir is a historic bass fishery along the Rio Grande (Grand River) constructed in the early 1950s by a joint effort between Mexican President Adolfo Ruiz Cortines and U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Situated on the border, Falcon presents some challenges for anglers wanting to fish its waters, namely needing a Mexican fishing license to legally fish in some places. But this fishery is one of Texas’s most famous for its novelty and the monster bass that roam its waters.
Best Bass Fishing Lakes in Texas: 5 Runners Up
1. Choke Canyon
Located in South Texas, Choke Canyon Reservoir is comparatively small at 25,670-acres. This reservoir frequently experiences flooding, with water reaching 10 to 20 feet above its full pool level of 220.5 feet. When the water is high, flooded shorelines provide an abundance of cover in addition to the native vegetation, rock, standing timber and brushy cover—all good places to target the lake’s abundant and good-size bass.
Lake Conroe is another Texas fishery in the 20,000-acre range, but this lake is far more stable than Choke Canyon. Largemouth bass are the staple of this fishery, and some true giants have been caught there. The lake record stands at 15.93 pounds, caught by Ricky Bearden in 2009. And in 1998, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department shocked up the biggest bass they had ever captured for an electrofishing survey, weighing 14.1 pounds.
Amistad Reservoir, like Falcon, is another shared waterway between Mexico and the United States, and is governed by the International Boundary and Water Commission. A Mexico fishing license is required for everyone in the boat if you are fishing in Mexico’s waters, which comprise a large portion of the lake. Still, this is a big-fish powerhouse, with a 15.68-pounder to its credit, caught there in 2005 by Tom Sutherland.
4. Ray Roberts
Just north of Dallas, Ray Roberts is another solid bass fishery, boasting a 15-pounder of its own as the lake record. This lake also holds large spotted and smallmouth bass, with the lake-record spot weighing 4.35 and a bronzeback tipping the scales at 6.16 pounds. Ray Roberts also boasts the Texas state record for a smallmouth/spotted bass hybrid. This meanmouth bass weighing 6.42 pounds was caught by Casey Bowsher in 2019.
Southeast of Dallas, near Tyler, Texas, you’ll find Lake Palestine. This 25,000-acre lake is relatively shallow in comparison to most of our Top 10 Texas bass fisheries, with a max depth of only 58 feet. The better largemouth fishing is had in the Northern half of the fishery, where woody cover and vegetation are more prevalent and give you lots of target to cast at.
Best Bass Fishing Lakes in Texas: 5 Honorable Mentions
1. Lake Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ)
Though LBJ covers only 6,502 acres at full pool, it boasts 270 miles of shoreline and boasts excellent fishing for both largemouth and smallmouth bass.
2. Caddo Lake
In the late 1800s, a massive log jam on the Red River decades in the making caused waters to rise into the Big Cypress Bayou, forming Caddo Lake. A man-made dam was built to retain the high water in 1914, keeping it from receding when the log jam was inevitably broken up by the federal government. It’s been a steady producer of quality bass since.
3. Lake Texoma
Another border lake, this one is shared with Texas’s northern neighbor, Oklahoma. At 90,000 acres, this is one of the largest lakes in the United Sates, and the 12th-largest US Army Corps of Engineers’ lake, leaving lots of room for bass anglers to roam.
4. Lake O’ the Pines
With lots of both hydrilla and big bass, Lake O’ the Pines has set up well for the lipless crankbait bite in the spring. Need proof? Carl Clark caught the 15.13-pound lake-record largemouth here in March of 2010 on a Rat-L-Trap.
5. Lake Travis
Lake Travis produces good numbers of largemouths, but not many true giants. The lake record is still a monster though, caught just a couple years ago on a wacky rig. Trace Jansen boated the 15.32-pound giant on the last day of February in 2021.
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