- O.H. Ivie (GO FISH IT NOW!) Added in late February
- Lake Fork
- Sam Rayburn
- Lake Falcon
- Lake Amistad
- Toledo Bend
- Caddo Lake
- Choke Canyon
- Lake Alan Henry
- Lake Conroe
- Stillhouse Hollow
Choosing the best bass fishing lakes in Texas is a large task. It’s comparable to asking someone to identify the 10 best lakes in Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina combined. There is simply a lot of land to cover.
Nevertheless, today’s task is surprisingly easy. The top 10 might have a bit of dispute on placement but the top 7 are solid and next to indisputable.
With that said, we realize many are looking for a lake to visit while on vacation in a particular region. Therefore, we are developing articles for you where we break this list down into “normal state-size” chunks. For articles with regional rankings of Texas lakes, click the links below.
Now, it’s time to share the top 10 and why:
1. Fish O.H. Ivie NOW!
It’s better than #1. Every now and then a lake hits a run that is nothing less than epic. This west Texas lake is on fire like no other lake in the last 25 years. Huge bags including multiple over 10s are being caught over the last 2 weeks. If you have days off take them and go! It’s time to catch the fish of a lifetime.
2. Lake Fork
It seems many writers have started ranking other lakes ahead of Fork. Boredom with talking about its constant output of fish over 8 pounds is not a reason to drop it down the list. Everyone needs to quit playing. Lake Fork is still the Undisputed Heavyweight King of bass fishing!
The Texas Sharealunker Program
Texas Sharealunker Program documents catches of bass weighing over 8-pounds. Lake Fork has 59 of the 330 bass submitted to TPWD. That is 17.8% of submissions on one body of water. On top of that, 12 of the 59 were double-digit. That means this year should be record-breaking!
In addition, Lake Fork has more bass submitted in one month than any other Lake submitted in the entire year. In recent years, Fork has received even more attention. With advances in technology, professional tournaments have been able to bring live, on-the-water weigh-ins to the Fork. As a result, Fork has shown out.
Major League Fishing visited last March and in one week 24 bass over 8-pounds were submitted! Furthermore, many Lake Fork regulars simply don’t submit the fish. It’s just a routine catch for them. Lake Fork is still a beast!
If you are coming to Dallas for business at any time of the year and want to catch the fish of a lifetime: Schedule your day or night off now!
It’s a Rush When Any Bite Could Be the Fish of a Lifetime
On my lone trip to Lake Fork, we fished a Gary Yamamoto Heart Tail Swimbait all morning and flat out caught fish. Lake Fork is known for its big fish. Because of this, believe me, every bite was a pure rush of adrenaline. I set the hook on a 16-inch bass that was wrapped around a lily pad. When I set the hook and all I felt was a locked-down head shake, it sent my heart to pounding. But make no mistake, Lake Fork has numbers too. Most are like these two!
The bigger fish on the right was one of my favorite catches of all time. Fishing the swimbait through a small cove about six inches under the surface. I could see the swimbait. As I reeled past a small, mostly submerged bush she jumped out of the water, over the bush, smashing the swimbait. It took every ounce of will not to pull it away from her. As I said, every bite on Fork is a rush.
When you do find the big ones. Video evidence has shown, that there are days you can wear your arm out with over 5-pound fish. For these reasons, Fork remains our #1 lake (depending on how long O.H. Ivie’s run lasts) for Texas Bass Fishing.
3. Sam Rayburn
I still remember the energy I felt the first time I saw Sam Rayburn. It was 1986 and I was both strongly attracted and intimidated at the same time. I had never seen so many trees and stumps in the water. Oh, and the lily pads. Bass heaven!
Over the last few years, Sam Rayburn has steadily climbed the ranking on Texas Best lists as well as National Lists. Rayburn is deserving. While it doesn’t pump out as many over 8’s as some lakes, it often takes over 25 pounds to win a tournament on Rayburn.
Anyone who has been fishing any length of time knows what Rayburn red is. A Rayburn Red Rattle-trap is surrounded by story after story. It is still loading boats with 4-6 pound bass.
Sharealunker reports 15 bass over 8-pounds confirmed in the program. 8 of those submitted were double-digit bass with the largest weighing in at 12.52.
I do want to point out here that the Sharealunker program is a very small part of the picture. Many anglers never submit their bass. To find proof of this look no further than Basschamps a tournament trail in Texas.
BassChamps Tournament Results
On January 11, 2020, there were no bass submitted to Sharealunker. However, on that day a BassChamps tournament was held and there were 4 bass over 8 pounds. 3 of which were double-digit. 2 months later on March 7, 2020, there was one fish submitted. It doesn’t match the weight of any of the overs caught in the BassChamps tournament that day. That day there were 7 over 8 with the biggest weighing in at 10.79.
They held the first tournament of 2021 on January, 9th. Even though the big fish numbers were down, with only 3 fish over 8 pounds. The big bass for the tournament was 13.44 pounds!
This is important because all of the best bass fishing lakes in Texas pump out many more fish over 8 and double-digit bass than we will ever know.
So while many of the trees no longer fill Sam Rayburn reservoir plenty of big bass still do. For numbers, quality of fish, and predefined fishing patterns: Sam Rayburn solidly holds onto spot #3.
4. Lake Falcon
From the early 2000s until the mid-teens, Falcon reigned supreme as the king of bass fishing. Since that time, Falcon has faced challenges with fluctuating water levels and challenges unique to a reservoir located on an international border. Nevertheless, she still holds plenty of fish and more than her fair share of big bass.
Looking at Sharelunker numbers, Falcon submitted 9 bass to the program in 2020. 5 of those 9 were double-digit bass. The largest weighed 11.60 pounds.
Lake Falcon is not as high on our list this year, but it must be included near the top of any ‘best bass lakes in Texas’ list. The sheer numbers of double-digit bass over a nearly 15 years period will always make her a threat to bust out huge numbers of giant bass given the right water levels.
5. Lake Amistad
For the variety in scenery and uniqueness of the fishery, Lake Amistad is barely in 5th place. As a matter of fact, places 3-5 could easily be reconfigured and I wouldn’t argue about it.
Lake Amistad has beautiful cliff walls, deep clear water, stained water flats, and points: it has it all. The water can be so clear on Lake Amistad, the bass will spawn at 10 feet. This sprawling giant rose to power in the early 2000s around the same time as Falcon. Again, being an impoundment on the Rio Grande and sharing water rights with Mexico has its challenges.
Lake Amistad is notorious for pumping out fish after fish from one ‘honey hole’. Tournament anglers have been able to sit on one tree and fill out their limit and then some.
In 2020, there were 3 Sharealunker Largemouth recorded from Amistad. Basschamps held 3 tournaments on Amistad in 2020. In those tournaments, they had 7 over 8 and 2 double-digit bass. Two of those tournaments were held in June. Tough fishing in much of Texas.
Another impressive stat out of the February tournament with BassChamps is that there were 87 limits caught in 179 boats. While not as many double-digit bass have been brought to the scales in the last few years, the opportunity to load the boat with 2 to 7 pounders is almost unmatched.
The drive is a long one, but it is well worth the effort if you have a couple of days to fish.
Two Special Considerations for #4 & #5:
- When fishing Falcon or Amistad it is advised you have a Mexico fishing license. It can be difficult to ensure you are not crossing the border boundary in your boat while making runs. If you do this with rods on deck it will ruin your trip.
- Both bodies of water are huge. Go with a plan. Do your research before you go and know some of the ‘sweet spots’ on the lake. Break it down into manageable chunks. While this is true on any lake. It is especially true on these two international bodies of water. Driving for hours and aimlessly running around these lakes can frustrate even the most committed anglers.
6. Caddo Lake
Caddo is at #6 on our list of Texas Best Bass Lakes but it is #1 on our bucket trip list. There are a few reasons for this:
- Huge cypress trees and roots
- Beautiful bayous
- Mysterious moss hanging from cypress branches
- A lake record largemouth of 16.07 pounds!!!
Watching a video of someone taking a boat through some of these bayous takes our breath away. Not only is the lake beautiful, but wildlife is also plentiful and amazing. Snakes, alligators, deer, and unique species of birds. The remoteness and the moss all come together for an experience like none other.
The Potential for a Giant
There is one more reason I can’t shake this desire to drift into one of its oxbows and sloughs: George Perry. June 2, 1932, this man entered into oxbow and set one of the most long-standing records in the world, certainly in fishing. His largemouth bass weighed in at 22 pounds and 4 ounces.
Think about that, with all of our advances in technology and technique this record has survived. In spite of, DNA research, introducing Florida strain into multiple states, and stocking programs haven’t overcome it yet. Fishfinders that can see everything haven’t been able to knock the record off. It was tied a few years back. However, it’s starting to feel like the technologically engineered bass and fisheries management won’t allow a new record to be quite as revered.
This record is one of the purest marks that has ever been set. With that in mind, when I see Caddo Lake I think world record. The rich nutrients at the base of the trees. The hidden areas that have rarely been fishing. At a minimum, I think state record. Undoubtedly, Caddo gets my juices flowing. I can’t wait to chase the monster I know is lurking somewhere next to cypress roots in this beautiful maze that is Caddo Lake.
7. Toledo Bend
This is the lake where my passion for fishing was born. In the mid-80s Toledo Bend was on fire. Over the last few years, Toledo Bend has made a strong comeback.
Numbers of fish are good at Toledo Bend and every cast holds the potential of the fish of a lifetime. The biggest challenge on Toledo Bend is figuring out where and what to fish. This is a giant reservoir and there are opportunities throughout.
Due to water clarity, depth, and the 65 miles of Toledo Bend from north to south: spawning can start in the first week of February and last until late May. Typically, spawning starts in the shallower, dirtier water of the north end. Then moves south to the deeper, clearer water in the south.
During the spring, choose your boat ramp wisely. I still vividly remember seeing a bass boat that didn’t get off the water in time when a storm blew in, with a stump through the middle.
If you are planning a trip, be sure to check out reports about where the fish are biting. This can be more important than what they are biting. Also look for water temps and plan your trip accordingly.
Knowing where to fish can also be intimidating once you are on the water. Toledo Bend is loaded with grass and stumps. Considering this, it is all about knowing where the cover and structure come together to draw in the bass.
What to fish? While there are many lures you will fish at Toledo Bend and find success, if you don’t have a watermelon-red soft plastic (worm or creature bait) you’re doing it wrong.
8. Choke Canyon
If you prefer a remote lake, this may be your #1 best bass lake in Texas after one visit. Choke Canyon is tucked firmly in the middle of nowhere 70 miles south of San Antonio. Its only real competition would be Lakes Alan Henry, Amistad, or Falcon. Nevertheless, the crowds on Alan Henry coming in from Lubbock can make it feel less remote. In addition, Amistad and Lake Falcon’s location can make the drive prohibitive.
I love Choke Canyon. It is flat-out full of bass from 3 to 7 pounds. Looking at Sharealunker numbers from 2020, there were 4 over 8 with the largest weighing in at an impressive 12.54 pounds.
Choke Canyon is a great January to February lake to fish. The warmer temps south of San Antonio and areas with murky water, mean spawning season can begin early.
Nevertheless, don’t rule out some fall fishing. On October 28-29, 2020 The Texas Team Trail Championship was hosted on Choke Canyon. It took an over 30-pound bag on day two for the winning team to come back from 7 pounds back. If you are looking to win on Choke Canyon in a one-day tournament, you need to aim for over 25 pounds!
So go slow roll a spinner, crank a crawfish-colored crankbait or go punch some grass with Zoom Brush Hogs. Enjoy the unique scenery that is south Texas while you are there.
9. Lake Alan Henry
Lake Alan Henry is an isolated body of water north of Snyder and south of Lubbock. From 287, take a right at Justiceburg and just keep driving. Be warned! On weekends you will start seeing trucks and trailers over a mile from the ramp. On weekdays, Alan Henry is an amazing little location to fish.
In size, Alan Henry ranks 39th of all lakes in the state of Texas. However, Alan Henry produced 5 Sharealunker bass. Two of those fish were over 13 pounds with the heaviest weighing in at 14.36 pounds. All 5 fish were double-digit bass.
Alan Henry is a beautiful setting as well. The reservoir is very narrow which means you have steep banks, many of which are loaded with lumber. In addition, Alan Henry was stocked with Alabama Spotted bass and the fish have done very well in the reservoir.
Alan Henry is a unique and special place. However, be sure you are aware of Spring Break and other events. Timing can be everything, as the lake gets heavy pressure because it is truly an oasis of big fish opportunity in the middle of the desert.
10. Lake Conroe
I have very little interest in fishing lake Conroe. I know I should be more excited about it but the crowds and location are not what I love most about fishing. However, if I were to let my personal preference keep Conroe off this list, I would simply be wrong.
Conroe is second only to Lake Fork in producing Sharealunker bass. Lake Conroe produced 19 of the bass confirmed in the Sharealunker program. Only 3 of those fish were double-digit. You can look at this two ways. 1. The pressure doesn’t allow the fish to get over 10 pounds. 2. There are going to be a bunch of double-digit bass caught in 2021!
I think the second option is more likely. On February 28th to March 1st the big bass tour had it’s annual tournament on Conroe. At the tournament 3 double-digit fish were weighed in. In addition, an angler could have caught an 8 pound bass and not made the top 10 in weight for the tournament. There are few lakes outside of Texas that could match this. They are mostly in Florida.
Conroe is loaded with docks and the predominant forage is shad. If you are visiting the Houston area and want a chance at a double-digit. You definitely want to schedule a day or two to test her waters.
11. Stillhouse Hollow
I was typing this and deleted Texoma from the top ten. I even had to rewrite my introduction. Stillhouse Hollow is very intriguing right now. For that reason, it has become our sleeper pick!
Stillhouse Hollow is the second smallest lake on this list but still boasts 9 fish to the Sharealunker bass program. 3 of those bass were double-digit with the largest weighing 11.24 pounds. It was caught in a tournament with Centex Fishing on October 4, 2020. Nevertheless, springtime is still the best time to fish and this spring could be huge.
Stillhouse also has the added intrigue of smallmouth bass. Its population is thriving and can be caught year-round. For these reasons, Stillhouse Hollow is not only in our top ten list here, it is one of the top 5 lakes ThePerfectCombo hopes to fish this year.
Wrap-up Best Bass Fishing Lakes in Texas
There is absolutely no better place to fish in the world. If you are from Texas, let us know what you think about the list. If you are coming to Texas and are looking for a place to fish, we hope it helps. Also, be sure to check out our regional guide (coming soon) as well as our personal top 5 lakes we hope to fish this year.
As always, it’s tight lines and fins time. We hope to see you out on the water as we all pursue ThePerfectCombo.
Best Texas Bass Fishing Lakes by Region
More coming soon….