Seven lakes in the Carolinas are ranked among the 100 best bass-fishing lakes in the United States, according to Bassmaster magazine’s third-annual rankings.
The magazine ranked Lake Michigan’s Stugeon Bay as the nation’s top bass fishery for 2014. The bay, which produces tremendous catches of smallmouth bass, was ranked No. 29 in the 2013 ranking.
The highest-ranked lake in the Carolinas in the survey, at No. 61, was 4-year-old Randleman Lake, a small, municipal lake in North Carolina’s Piedmont where the fishing exploded almost as soon as the lake opened. Access is limited to certain kinds of vessels on parts of the lake, a speed limit is enforced, and the total number of vessels per day is restricted on Randleman, which provides water to the metropolitan Greensboro area.
North Carolina’s Fontana Lake, deep in the Smoky Mountains, was ranked No. 70. Lake Hickory in North Carolina’s Foothills was ranked No. 72. Neither lake was ranked in the past two surveys.
Lake Murray was South Carolina’s highest-ranked lake at No. 87, down from No. 78 in 2013. Clarks Hill Lake, aka Lake Thurmond, was ranked No. 89.
North Carolina’s High Rock Lake, the site of three Bassmasters Classics, was ranked No. 93, followed by South Carolina’s Santee Cooper lakes – Marion and Moultrie.
Bassmaster compiled the list after surveying biologist with state agencies, 3,500 rabid bass fishermen, presidents and conservation directors of B.A.S.S. Nation chapters, a half-million Facebook fans of B.A.S.S. Once a master list of 180 lakes was compiled, fishing-industry insiders, B.A.S.S. Elite Series pros, writers and traveling fishermen were surveyed for the final anglers.
To see Bassmaster’s Top 100 lakes, visit: http://www.bassmaster.com/slideshow/top-100-bass-lakes-2014