Rayburn rises to #1 fishing lake

Rayburn rises to #1 fishing lake

From B.A.S.S.

After three years of hovering in the Top 5 of Bassmaster Magazine’s 100 Best Bass Lakes rankings, Texas’ Sam Rayburn Reservoir finally takes the crown for being the best bass lake in the nation for 2018. 
 
The storied Lone Star State fishery has never ranked below 26th in the seven years the rankings have been published. However, the 114,500-acre lake started showing out in 2015, when it climbed to fifth. In 2016 it jumped to fourth. And last year, Rayburn was the bridesmaid, sitting in second place. But, Rayburn is a bridesmaid no more, and for the first time captures the title.
 
“Although there were some pretty spectacular numbers being produced from other lakes this year, Rayburn was a clear No. 1,” said James Hall, editor of Bassmaster Magazine. “While some lakes were boasting of a single 30-pound, five-bass limit being caught, Rayburn was spitting them out in rapid succession. And to top it off, a 40.28-pound limit was recorded in June.”
 
Countless limits of solid fish aren’t the only thing special about this lake.
 
“When it comes to double-digit bass, Rayburn also seems to top the list this year,” Hall continued. “Three 10-pounders were weighed in during a one-day February derby. Plus, a 12.05 and a 13.06 were landed here in March. The lake is simply on fire right now.”
 
The process to create the rankings takes about three months to complete. Data is received from state fisheries agencies across the U.S. This is coupled with catch data collected from dozens of tournament organizations across the country from the past 12 months. After the numbers are crunched, a blue-ribbon panel from the bass fishing industry debates the strength of the lakes, then settles on the final rankings.
 
The rankings identify the Top 10 lakes in the nation regardless of location, as well as the Top 25 lakes in four geographical divisions. “By dividing the Top 100 into four regions, anglers have perspective on fisheries nearby,” Hall explained.
 
Tennessee’s Chickamauga Lake, which takes the No. 2 slot this year, made a strong argument for No. 1, as it also produced 40-plus-pound limits this spring. Yes, that was plural — two five-fish limits exceeding 42 pounds were landed this year. Although this 36,240-acre fishery hasn’t produced quite as many big fish as Rayburn, there were two bass over 10 pounds recorded here since February, the biggest weighing 11.21 pounds.
 
California’s Clear Lake landed in the No. 3 position on the strength of its production of big largemouth. Lake St. Clair, a former No. 1 in 2013, climbed from ninth last year to the fourth spot in 2018, while Minnesota’s Mille Lacs Lake (last years’ No. 1 fishery) fell to No. 5. The remainder of the nation’s Top 10 are: sixth, Santee Cooper lakes (Marion/Moultrie), South Carolina; seventh, Diamond Valley Lake, California.; eighth, Thousand Islands (St. Lawrence River), New York; ninth, Lake Guntersville, Alabama; 10th, Falcon Lake, Texas.
 
Other highlights include the comeback of Lake Guntersville, which has finally turned the corner on several subpar years of production for the stalwart fishery. Newcomers to the rankings include Texas’ Belton Lake, Arkansas’ Lake Chicot, Maryland’s Potomac River, Mississippi’s Lake Ferguson and Oregon’s Tahkenitch Lake.
 
When it comes to bragging rights for the state with the most lakes to make the Top 100 list, Texas wins with 12. California boasts eight fisheries within the rankings, while Florida has the third most with seven.
 
Bassmaster’s 100 Best Bass lakes will be published in a 12-page section of the July/August issue of Bassmaster Magazine. The complete rankings can also be found in Bassmaster.com photo galleries.
 

2018 List Of Bassmaster Magazine’s 100 Best Bass Lakes      

Rank 

Fishery

State

Top 10

1

Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Texas

2

Chickamauga Lake

Tennessee

3

Clear Lake

California

4

Lake St. Clair

Michigan

5

Mille Lacs Lake

Minnesota

6

Santee Cooper lakes (Marion/Moultrie) 

South Carolina

7

Diamond Valley Lake

California

8

Thousand Islands (St. Lawrence River)

New York

9

Lake Guntersville

Alabama

10

Falcon Lake

Texas

Central

1

Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Texas

2

Mille Lacs Lake

Minnesota

3

Falcon Lake

Texas

4

Toledo Bend Reservoir

Texas/Louisiana

5

Sturgeon Bay

Wisconsin

6

Lake Conroe

Texas

7

Lake Lyndon B. Johnson

Texas

8

Lake O’ the Pines

Texas

9

Millwood Lake

Arkansas

10

La Cygne Lake

Kansas

11

Lake Ray Roberts

Texas

12

Lake Palestine

Texas

13

Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees

Oklahoma

14

Lake of the Ozarks

Missouri

15

Lake Dardanelle

Arkansas

16

Bull Shoals Lake

Arkansas

17

Caddo Lake

Texas/Louisiana

18

Newton Lake

Illinois

19

Lake Ouachita

Arkansas

20

Lake Oahe

South Dakota

21

Belton Lake

Texas

22

Table Rock Lake

Missouri/Arkansas

23

Lake Chicot

Arkansas

24

Lake Texoma

Texas/Oklahoma

25

Lake Fork

Texas

Northeastern

1

Lake St. Clair

Michigan

2

Thousand Islands (St. Lawrence River)

New York

3

Lake Erie

New York

4

Lake Erie

Ohio

5

Lake Champlain

New York/Vermont

6

Bays de Noc

Michigan

7

Saginaw Bay

Michigan

8

Lake Charlevoix

Michigan

9

Burt/Mullet lakes

Michigan

10

Grand Traverse Bay

Michigan

11

Potomac River

Maryland/Virginia/West Virginia

12

Oneida Lake

New York

13

Cayuga Lake

New York

14

Lake Barkley

Kentucky

15

Presque Isle Bay

Pennsylvania

16

Upper Chesapeake Bay

Maryland

17

Lake Cumberland

Kentucky

18

Smith Mountain Lake

Virginia

19

Webber Pond

Maine

20

China Lake

Maine

21

Great Pond

Maine

22

Candlewood Lake

Connecticut

23

Chatauqua Lake

New York

24

Lake Winnipesaukee

New Hampshire

25

Kentucky Lake

Kentucky/Tennessee

Southeastern

1

Chickamauga Lake

Tennessee

2

Santee Cooper lakes (Marion/Moultrie)

South Carolina

3

Lake Guntersville

Alabama

4

Lake Okeechobee

Florida

5

Lake Tohopekaliga

Florida (plus Kissimmee Chain of Lakes)

6

Pickwick Lake

Alabama/Mississippi/Tennessee

7

Lake Istokpoga

Florida

8

Shearon Harris

North Carolina

9

Lake Eufaula

Alabama/Georgia

10

Lake Seminole

Georgia/Florida

11

Rodman Reservoir

Florida

12

Cooper River

South Carolina

13

Wilson Lake

Alabama

14

Lake Ferguson

Mississippi

15

Lake Burton

Georgia

16

Lake Murray

South Carolina

17

Falls Lake

North Carolina

18

Harris Chain of Lakes

Florida

19

Lake Greenwood

South Carolina

20

Bay Springs Lake

Mississippi

21

Kerr Lake (Buggs Island)

North Carolina/Virginia

22

High Rock Lake

North Carolina

23

Lake Hartwell

Georgia/South Carolina

24

Kenansville Reservoir

Florida

25

Logan Martin Lake

Alabama

Western

1

Clear Lake

California

2

Diamond Valley Lake

California

3

Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

California

4

New Melones Lake

California

5

Don Pedro Reservoir

California

6

Lake Berryessa

California

7

Lake Havasu

Arizona/California

8

Roosevelt Lake

Arizona

9

Lake Perris

California

10

Tenmile Lake

Oregon

11

Lake Mohave

Nevada/Arizona

12

Lake Pleasant

Arizona

13

Potholes Reservoir

Washington

14

Fort Peck Reservoir

Montana

15

Coeur d’Alene Lake

Idaho

16

Lake Washington

Washington

17

Dworshak Reservoir

Idaho

18

Saguaro Lake

Arizona

19

Lake Powell

Utah/Arizona

20

C.J. Strike Reservoir

Idaho

21

Elephant Butte Reservoir

New Mexico

22

Siltcoos Lake

Oregon

23

Lake Mead

Nevada/Arizona

24

Tahkenitch Lake

Oregon

25

Columbia River

Oregon/Washington


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