Bass Fishing Pennsylvania

Bass Fishing Pennsylvania: Top 5 Places for a Weekend Trip

Whether you’ve been bass fishing your whole life, or you’re just getting started, there is nothing more exciting than fishing new bodies of water. Fishing new areas can help you develop your skills and make you a better all around angler. So, with that in mind, let’s run through the top 5 places for bass fishing Pennsylvania!

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Bass Fishing Pennsylvania: Cowanesque Lake

Cowanesque might not be well known, but it has some incredible fishing opportunities. For example, last season I participated in a 3-day bass fishing tournament held by The Tackle Shack in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. We were suppose to fish a different lake each of the three days for the tournament, but mother nature had other plans for us, flooding out two of the three lakes. So, we were confined to Cowanesque for the tournament.

The dam held back the water until one day before the tournament, and when they opened the gates you could see the current from the main channel running through the lake. The water got incredibly dirty from all of the rain and the fish I had located before the tournament moved with the influx of rising water and current. When we located them, they were using offshore rock piles and structure to feed with the current. It was a blast, but the teams that found the best current breaks caught some giants. They won the tournament with a couple of giant bass weighing over 6 pounds.

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A beautiful 6.5-pound largemouth from Cowanesque lake. Image Credit: Jennifer Lynn

Cowy, as the locals call it, is a beautiful body of water in North-Central Pennsylvania. You can catch bass using shaky heads, chatterbaits, and jigs around the rock piles and structure. The best time of the year to chase the bigger bass is right as the post-spawn kicks into gear and the fish move out to the deeper water.

Bass Fishing Pennsylvania: Raystown Lake

Raystown Lake will always be on the list for the top lakes to fish for bass in Pennsylvania. It is the state’s largest inland body of water and has about every possible structure and cover imaginable along with different supplies of bait fish for largemouth and smallmouth to feed on! Although many anglers find Raystown to be tough to find fish throughout the year, there are plenty of bass to be caught.

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Raystown is always about fishing your strengths. With long underwater points, bluff wall’s, and shoreline timber and stumps, there are plenty of techniques you can lean on.  Raystown lies in the South-Central part of the state, so if you’re ever in the area, be sure to give it a try!

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Bass Fishing Pennsylvania: Joseph-Foster Sayers Dam

Although this is a small body of water in Central Pennsylvania, the bass are really big!

With many different offshore rock, roadbeds, and submerged timber, these bass can be caught on a variety of techniques depending on the time of year. With multiple bass weighing over 7-pounds in the last few years, this lake gives anglers the feeling that their next cast could be one that gives them a shot at the fish of a lifetime.

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A fish of a lifetime, 9.8-pounds, caught in the springtime. Image Credit: Nature Inn

The best baits are normally crawfish imitators like jigs, crankbaits, and texas rigged creature baits. Spinnerbaits and chatterbaits will also land some great fish in the spring and fall.

Bass Fishing Pennsylvania: Hammond Lake

Just down the road from Mansfield university is a little secret smallmouth lake. With plenty of shallow cover and some deep offshore structure in the way of humps and stumps, these smallmouth can be caught in a variety of ways!

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The best advice I can give, versatile and keep in tune to what is going on around you. Fish the conditions. There are plenty of smallmouth in the 4-pound range which are normally targeted with moving baits and Carolina rigs. As the water temperatures rise, target the offshore structure until the smallmouth pull up shallow to stage for the spawn. This is the best time to target them with moving baits along the shallow cover.

Bass Fishing Pennsylvania: Lake Erie

We’ve saved the best for last. Lake Erie out of Presque Isle Bay features the best smallmouth fishing the state of Pennsylvania has to offer. Whether you’re targeting the bay, or headed out into the big water, there are monster smallmouth to be caught, and plenty of them to go around! The bay also offers numbers of largemouth in three 3 to 5-pound range.

Be sure to watch the weather closely if you’re planning on running out into the main lake as it can get nasty pretty quickly, but on calm days, dropshots and tubes work wonders. For the bay, any style flipping bait in the grass can lead to some great bites as well. If you’re looking for an inside scoop, be sure to check in with MLF Pro, Dave Lefebre, who actually lives on the lake!

You can watch an episode from the ANGLR Tour on Lake Erie below!

This article was contributed by an ANGLR Expert

Become an ANGLR Expert and apply here.

Jef Nelson


I have been tournament fishing since I was 16 years old. Since then, I was an original faculty advisor for the Penn State Bass Fishing team, I‘ve been a Scoutmaster for 6 years. I am a Vigil Member at Monaken lodge 103, I am on the Lews consumer advisory panel, a regional Pro Staff for Duckett Fishing LLC and apart of the Liquid Mayhem field staff program. I love helping other’s put fish in the boat and learn new ways to land big fish!

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