Top bass lakes list includes some Washington surprises

Staff writerMarch 30, 2014 

Local bass angler Rodney Heupel said he can’t argue with the top 100 bass fishing waters list compiled by a website, but he said there were a few surprises.

Fishhound.com earlier this month released its list of best bass fishing waters in the nation.

Like so many similar lists, this one is a bit subjective, Heupel said. The waters were chosen by most tournament anglers.

Of the six Northwest waters on the list, Heupel said he has never fished Lake Coeur d’Alene in Idaho. It was the highest Northwest water, ranked at No. 11.

“The guys I know who have fished it, they really like it,” Heupel said. “It has so much structure to fish and so many docks where the fish hang out.”

Lake Sammamish coming in at No. 91 did surprise Heupel a bit. It’s not that it is a bad lake, but Heupel admits he has had trouble figuring out the lake that has largemouth and smallmouth bass.

“Lake Sammamish, for me, I always manage to catch a big fish there, but I’ve only placed once in a tournament there,” he said. “It’s a hard lake to figure out.

“To me, Lake Washington produces better year round.”

Another surprise, the Tacoma angler said, was that Potholes Reservoir did not make the list.

“Especially since a lot of pros and TV types have been there to fish it,” he said.

Heupel admits Washington doesn’t have the reputation for bass fishing like southern states do, but said it is home to plenty of good fishing waters.

He got into bass fishing almost 30 years ago after catching a largemouth bass in a pond while stationed at what is now Joint Base Lewis-McChord. In 2008, he joined the Western Bass Club. Now in its 76th year, it is the oldest continuous bass club in the United States.

“That surprises a lot of people,” Heupel said.

So, too, does the bass fishing in the Evergreen State.

Here are some of the bass waters Heupel recommends.

Clear Lake: South of Puyallup, this is one of several small lakes in the area that are good for bass. Others are Ohop, Tanwax and Black. Long Lake in Kitsap County also fishes well.

Lake Chelan: “For smallmouth, that is a blast. They can be found in the lower end of the lake,” he said.

Long Lake: The Thurston County lake opened as a year-round lake for the first time this year. “The guys who have been fishing it already said it has been fishing really well,” Heupel said.

Moses Lake: This is another good lake for largemouth and smallmouth.

Riffe Lake: This is a good lake close to South Sound residents. “There are some good (catches) that come out of there in tournaments. It, too, has largemouth and smallmouth.”

One lake that made neither fishhound.com’s nor Heupel’s list is Banks Lake, created by Dry Falls Dam at Coulee City. It was where Carl Pruitt caught the state record largemouth bass, an 11.57-pound fish, on April 9, 1977. Fishhound.comtop waters

Here are some highlights from the list of the top 100 bass fishing waters in the nation, according to the fishing website.

Top 10 nationwide

1. Lake Guntersville, Alabama

2. Lake Okeechobee, Florida

3. Clear Lake, California

4. Falcon Lake, Texas

5. Lake Erie/Niagara River, New York/Ontario

6. Choke Canyon, Texas

7. Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, California

8. Lake Amistad, Texas

9. Oneida Lake, New York

10. Lake St. Clair, Michigan/Ontario

Northwest waters on list

11. Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

22. Columbia River, Oregon/Washington. The state record smallmouth bass – 8.75 pounds – was caught by Ray Wonacott while fishing in the Hanford Reach on April 23, 1966.

27. Snake River, Idaho/Oregon/Washington

84. Umpqua River, Oregon

86. Dworshak Reservoir, Idaho

91. Lake Sammamish, Washington

Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640

jeff.mayor@thenewstribune.com
thenewstribune.com/outdoors

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