Each year, Bassmaster Magazine conducts research on fishing lakes throughout the nation, and ranks them into a list of the 100 Best Bass Lakes. This year, one lake each from the Carolinas made the list, with both ranking in the publication’s Top 12 In The Nation.
Shearon Harris Lake took the fourth spot in the list. The 4100 acre lake finished first in the Southeast Division.
The Santee Cooper Lakes took the eighth overall spot. The dual reservoirs are ranked second in the Southeast Division, and are made up of Lake Marion, which is often referred to as the “upper lake” (110,000 acres) and Lake Moultrie (the “lower lake,” 60,000 acres).
Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota topped the overall list. The 132,516 acre lake earned first place mainly for its production of smallmouth bass. In September, the Toyota Bassmaster of the Year Championship was held there. It surpassed what tournament organizers were expecting, giving up 94 limits of smallmouth bass that all topped the 20-pound mark.
But the rankings were not done on just one tournament’s results. Other tournament’s results were looked at for each lake, and Mille Lacs Lake gave up limits of smallmouth that surpassed 36 pounds, and many that weighed over 30 pounds in numerous tournaments.
Aside from the top 12 national rankings, Bassmaster also divided lakes up into regional divisions. The Carolinas had several lakes on the Southeastern Division’s list.
For South Carolina, Santee Cooper is in 2nd, Lake Murray is 6th, and the Cooper River’s 30-mile stretch below the Lake Moultrie Dam is listed at 14. Clarks Hill is 17th, Lake Wateree is number 20, and Lake Hartwell sits in the 21st spot. Other than Shearon Harris at 1st in the Southeast, the Tarheel State’s Fontana Lake made the list at 16, and Kerr Lake is number 22.