Go Big On The West's Top Bass Lakes

Throw Frogs, Spooks, Swimbaits, Wake Baits, Creature Baits and Spinnerbaits


Frog imitations are a tournament bass pro's best friend.

Looking for a great place to fish bass and throw big baits like frogs, swimbaits, creature baits and jerkbaits out West? Let us point you in the right direction and put the right lures in your hand.

While there are many lakes, ponds and reservoirs in the West that have good populations of largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass, this is a quick guide to some of the best. At these lakes the fish are big, there's enough water for a good number of boats and the fishing is good enough to support competitive bass fishing tournaments at the highest level.

Since they are favorite training grounds for the pros, a ready supply of guides is available for anglers new to the waterway. If you're just looking for an extra edge before you head out to the lake, the experts here at the store can get you set up with the latest hot baits and the tackle you need to fill your own livewell. Or you can browse our catalog and purchase what you need online.

Clearly Clear Lake Has A Lot To Offer

The largest natural lake wholly within the boundaries of California (Tahoe is bigger but half is in Nevada), Clear Lake is located in Lake County accessible by Highway 20 from the major highways U.S. 101 and I-5. The lake is a large, shallow basin with lots of long sloughs, open water, docks, points and bass, plenty of big bass. Many record catches have been posted in tournaments here, including single day 5-fish catches exceeding 40 pounds. The reason is the lake has been stocked several times over the years with Florida-strain largemouth bass and has experienced several big bass blooms when conditions and forage were ideal.

Clear Lake is the place to throw creatures, swimbaits and frogs. There are accommodations both in communities surrounding the lake and the nearby Northern California wine country. Note: both residents and visitors to Lake County must have a sticker that indicates their boat or personal watercraft has passed a Zebra/Quagga mussel inspection in order to launch any vessel in the waters of Clear Lake or any lake in Lake County.

The Delta Is The Place Where It All Comes Together

The California Delta consists of 1,000 miles of waterways that wind through islands and sloughs created by the confluence of the Sacramento River as it heads south and the San Joaquin River as it heads north. Many other rivers join in on the journey to the San Francisco Bay through the Carquinez Strait. The major town in the area is Stockton, but towns and marina facilities are scattered throughout the Delta. The Delta offers a world class fishery for both black (largemouth and smallmouth) bass and striped bass and the maze of great fishing spots hosts the many tule beds that gave birth to the techniques known as flippin' and pitchin'. A multitude of fish species live and pass through the Delta, one reason swimbaits are a top tournament lure and largemouth over 10 pounds are common in tournaments.

Diamond Valley Set Up For Bass Fishing Success

A water storage facility adjacent to the Southern California town of Hemet, Diamond Valley Reservoir is a deep, steep sided lake created when multiple dams walled off a valley. Unlike the others on this list, DV (as it is commonly called) does not have enough surface acreage for a major tournament, although the lake does host a long string of team events and popular summertime night fishing tourneys. It's on the list because it is the best bet in SoCal to hook a bunch of bass.

Before Diamond Valley was filled, a biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game used rearing ponds and habitat enhancement to establish seed populations of both game fish and forage fish, including Florida-strain largemouth imported from the San Diego that received the initial stockings of the fast-growing bass. The lake is heavily stocked with rainbow trout, so imitations of those fish are a top bass lure,while soft plastic lures fished deep along the points are a great way to get steady bites all year. The lake is operated by the Metropolitan Water District, which allows only modern motors with low emissions and inspects boats for invasive species.The clear waters of Lake Mead produce topwater action in the middle of the day.

Lake Havasu Trains Bass Pros

This desert lake straddles the California/Arizona border and was created when the Parker Dam captured both the Colorado River and the Bill Williams River. Quite a few of the top touring bass pros call Lake Havasu City on the Arizona side their home.

You can catch bass at Havasu year round and the healthy population of both largemouth and smallmouth bass responds to a broad spectrum of fishing methods and techniques, including frogs, big worms, swimbaits, buzzbaits, chatterbaits and spinnerbaits, making Havasu a great place to stay on your game – or simply get bit. Lake Havasu is also a magnet for power boaters, often with someone on a board in tow, and personal watercraft. Yet great night fishing (this is the desert and it does get HOT from April to October) and vast stretches of reedy backwaters offer a getaway for avid bass hunters.

Lake Mead, Glamor Gulch and The Toughest Test

Close to the glitz and glamor of Las Vegas, vast Lake Mead stretches from the Hoover Dam all the way up to the lower reaches of the Grand Canyon. Nevada, Arizona and the National Park Service share custody of this desert treasure. Lake Mead's water level can fluctuate wildly as water managers have another big lake - Powell - to store the Colorado River upstream of Mead, yet are mandated by law to release an annual amount from Mead to meet downstream needs. Informal (not done by a government agency) introduction of smallmouth bass into the lake has made the bass fishery more resilient despite the changing water levels.

Mead is the lake that offers the sternest test of bass fishing skill and fitness. It was here the first BASSMaster Classic was held and the lake annually hosts the U.S. Open of bass fishing. While drop-shotting small plastic worms is a top technique on Mead, a spinnerbait won the Classic and many Open winners, including the first two, spent most of the tournament throwing Zara Spooks. Callville Bay has the closest marina facility to Las Vegas and offers everything from a boat launch to luxury houseboat rentals. A daily fee or annual pass is required by the Park Service for access to the roadways around the lake and signs that warn you to slow down so as not to hit wildlife such as bighorn sheep and desert tortoise indicate what kind of country surrounds Lake Mead.

Massive Lake Shasta The Spot For Spotted Bass

Another monstrous reservoir, California's Lake Shasta pens in the headwaters of the Sacramento River, including the McCloud and Pitt rivers, and is subject to huge drops and rises depending on winter precipitation and the never ending demand for water. Largemouth bass are the biggest bass in the system, but the introduction of the spotted bass solidified Shasta as one of the top tournament destinations in the West.

Spotted bass spawn in deep water, making their beds less susceptible to exposure above the water line during a drawdown. Even better, spots are good biters, especially in stormy, winter conditions, which makes Shasta the first tournament destination on the calendar every year. Stocked with trout and king salmon, Shasta is the place to throw a swimbait to top off the limit with a big largemouth. Follow up near misses with a Senko. Although Shasta is another watersport haven, the long river arms created by three rivers and other tributaries mean solitude is just around the next point.

There are many other opportunities for great bass action in the West and not only do we have everything you need to make your fishing trip a success, we can also give you advice on local waters to keep you fishing as often as possible!

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