Bass fishing and Texas go together like Kevin VanDam and winning or Jordan Lee and MLF 2-minute penalties. So, when compiling a list of the best lakes for bass fishing Texas, you really have to look and pick through a lot of fantastic fisheries, many of which would rank highly, or even on top of lists in other states.
Picking just 5 fisheries was difficult due to the mass amount of fisheries that deserve to be talked about and have great cases for being called a Top 5 lake in Texas. But, with that being said the following list, displays the pure wonder and diversity that is Texas bass fishing. Texas, in my opinion, is the best state in the country for bass fishing. With a large number of diverse fisheries that produce quality bass of all three bass species (Largemouth, Smallmouth, and Spotted) and huge community that just loves fishing. I don’t think there is a better state in this great country that is as awesome as bass fishing in the Lonestar state.
Bass Fishing Texas: Sam Rayburn
Kicking off our list for the best lake in Texas is Lake Sam Rayburn. Sam Rayburn is not only the best lake in Texas but, in my opinion, the country! (The St. Lawrence is a river.) This 114,500 acre lake sits in Jasper County in East Texas and is home to big bass and lots of them. Sam Rayburn has it all, from deep water ledges to submerged cover in inches of water and everything in between.
Now while being such a diverse fishery that really can cater to any kind of fisherman, Sam Rayburn is where the grass fishermen thrive. Loaded with hydrilla, and seas of it, large populations of giant bass hide and feed in and out of the weed lines of Sam Rayburn. “Find the Grass,” was a phrase I became too familiar with when researching how to fish this largemouth bass factory.
Throwing weedless baits like Texas rigged soft plastics and shaky head worms are some go to baits for catching both quality and quantity on Sam Rayburn. But, don’t forget about the bass staging in deep water either. As with any lake, there is always a solid population of bass out in deeper water. So, when the dog days of summer arrive or the brisk cold winter air makes its way down south, baits like deep crankbaits, Carolina rigs (specifically a Chartreuse Pepper Bubble Fry) and heavy footballs jigs are great choice for working those deep-water structures.
With an excellent population of good quality bass and plenty of giant bucketmouths lurking around, Sam Rayburn is a magical bass fishery where anglers can just flat out smash them.
If you’re a fisherman anywhere in the country, you need to make Lake Sam Rayburn a vacation destination. Just be prepared to have some of the best fishing of your life.
Bass Fishing Texas: Falcon Lake
Up next on our list of juggernaut lonestar fisheries is Falcon Lake. This 84,000-acre big bass factory sits on the southern border of Texas. Not only does this lake contain a healthy population of bass, it contains a healthy population of GIANT bass.
Falcon Lake should be a bucket list destination for any fisherman due to the high chance you can catch a fish over 10-pounds, and then catch a few more!
Falcon Lake produces monster bass after monster bass and is a dream destination for trophy fisherman. Deep diving crankbaits, big jigs, and 10-inch worms are staples on Falcon.
In my opinion, the best time to head to Falcon and utilize these deep water techniques is the dead of winter. When you’re tired of watching the snow or having to pick the ice out of your guides and off your line, point your headlights to Zapata, Texas and enjoy a chase for some truly large and in charge bass.
Bass Fishing Texas: Lake Fork
Rolling up in third on our list in possibly the most interesting lake on this list and one that really needs no introduction… the historic Lake Fork. Lake Fork is 27,000-acres of bass fishing insanity that sits in north east Texas.
Like many of the lakes on this list, this lake has a little bit of everything!
Deep or shallow rock, deep or shallow grass, you name it and Lake Fork has it for you to fish. And like ALL of the lakes on this list, the bass population is off the charts and its nothing to go to Lake Fork and swing on 3 and 4-pound bass until your arms fall off. But, that’s not the interesting part about this lake. No, the interesting part is that those 3 and 4 pound fish you are hammering on all day… are NOT keepers, and this is because Lake Fork has a slot limit. The slot is 16-24-inches which means any fish caught that are 16-inches or longer BUT are not over 24-inches are not keeper fish and must be released, but fish under 16-inches are keepers and fish over (but only one 24-inch or more fish per day as is TPWD regulations) can be kept.
What does this slot limit accomplish?
Well this slot limit protects your prime spawning bass which allows for amazing spawning seasons one after another and gives bass a chance to grow to some amazing sizes! Lake Fork may possibly be the most pressured lake in the country, if not world, and yet it still consistently produces large fish and plenty of them. Around 50% of the fish entered into the Texas Toyota Sharelunker program (Sharelunkers are defined as bass weighing 13+ pounds) have come out of Lake fork, including the Texas state record, weighing in at 18.18-pounds. In fact, per TPWD, out of the top 50 heaviest bass weighed in Texas history 30 of them have come out of this historic fishery.
SO why is it ranked only 3rd on this list after everything I’ve said? Because, like I stated earlier, the fishing pressure on Fork is unfathomable. This is a lake that for 365 days a year gets hit harder than any other lake in the country and has large tournament fields nearly every weekend. These bass have seen every lure and presentation on the market a hundred times over before you ever even considered hooking the boat up to the trailer. While Lake Fork can be the best fishing of your life, it can also be unbelievably unforgiving. With that being said, the slot limit and fantastic management that Texas Parks and Wildlife does keeps this lake world class and even with possibly the most fishing pressure out of any fishery on the planet, Lake Fork still produces.
Bass Fishing Texas: Toledo Bend Reservoir
Next up is the former number one lake in the country, Toledo Bend Reservoir. Toledo Bend is a 182,000-acre lake that sits on the state line of Texas and Louisiana and is just east of our current number one lake, Sam Rayburn. Another lake full of everything, Toledo Bend is just another one of the many gem fisheries the Lonestar state has to offer.
Similar to Sam Rayburn though, grass is key.
The main vegetation is hydrilla and the bass here love to associate in and around the offshore fields of hydrilla. Large schools of bass can regularly be caught using deep cranks, jigs, and Texas rigs around these deep-water salads. But, if that does not suit your fancy just remember that half of Toledo Bend’s shoreline is in Louisiana, and when I think of Louisiana, I think of one thing in particular, cypress trees.
So, don’t worry if you hate fishing grass or just are not that good of an offshore fisherman, just grab your thickest broomstick, some 65-pound braid and a big hook and get to flipping. Giant bass will be waiting for you in the depths just as much as the shallows. Just a few years ago this lake was voted as the number lake in the country per Bassmaster Magazine but since then, the lake has accrued an immense amount of fishing pressure. The vast amount of pressure has affected the fishing, so the lake is not as it was a few years ago but all lakes have good or bad cycles. Even in the “bad” part of the cycle, this lake still lands as number 4 here on our list and I don’t think it will be long until the lake swings back to “good” and this list becomes outdated.
Bass Fishing Texas: Lake Texoma
Number 5 on our list was honestly the most difficult to choose. First I want to say that the first 4 lakes on this list were givens as they are staples in bass fishing both in Texas and the country. The challenge with number 5 on this list wasn’t finding the last of the great lakes in Texas, but rather the sheer amounts of amazing fisheries that Texas has to offer. But, with that being said, Lake Texoma makes the team and rounds out our list as the 5th best lake in Texas.
This 75,000-acre lake sits on the state line of Texas and Oklahoma. Texoma varies from the previous lakes as the grass is not as much of a factor for fishing and the presence of smallmouth and spotted bass on this lake.
Texoma does not have just any smallmouth though, no, on Texoma you have to be prepared to catch a 6-pound smallmouth on any cast.
With a healthy population of largemouth and spotted bass and an excellent population of smallmouth, Texoma has opportunities for any kind of fisherman from deep to shallow, but does play more to the hand of the offshore angler with the lake being very rocky and home to spotted and smallmouth bass. But, don’t let my boasting about the smallmouth overshadow the fact that Texoma still has some absolute giant largemouth. So, if you’re looking to get a taste of that northern smallmouth bite, but also want to target some big green fish in the same day, then Texoma should be your go to.
As I’ve said before, Texas has plenty of amazing fisheries that didn’t make this list. With so many fisheries, no matter which body of water you chose to spend your weekend on, there’s really not a wrong choice. Get out there and enjoy all of the bass fishing Texas has to offer!