Catch More Largemouth Bass in the Great Lakes States

When you're planning to go fishing for largemouth bass on a new waterway in one of the Great Lakes states, there are a lot of questions that you'll want to get answered in order to have a successful trip. While you won't have in-depth knowledge of every waterway in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin; you just need to find some good online and offline resources that can provide you with answers to your questions about which areas are best, which baits are working, and what days are the best to go.

Professional bass tournament angler Michael Elsea lives in Indiana, but fishes for largemouth bass all across the Great Lakes region. He uses an app from our friends at FishBrain which allows anglers to log their fishing trips and catches, and share them with their friends. FishBrain has an "Analyzer" feature that Elsea uses to gather information about unfamiliar waterways — including most successful baits or lures, weather conditions, and most productive areas.

"I'll look to see where local anglers are catching fish on a particular waterway by using the FishBrain analyzer map. Then, if I notice one or two anglers who appear to be catching bass consistently, I'll use the data as fodder to start an online conversation," says Elsea. "Having local knowledge of a certain area prior to a tournament is incredibly helpful and can definitely contribute to higher catch rates," he adds.

Whether fishing a tournament, or just going out for a fun day with friends, you can find out which methods, baits and weather conditions have produced the best catches for users. Below are some key findings based on FishBrain user data compiled between 2013-2015.

Top Largemouth Bass Fishing Methods

  1. Casting

  2. Jig Fishing

  3. Bottom Fishing

  4. Pole Fishing


Top Largemouth Bass Baits

  1. Live Worm

  2. Baitfish

  3. Worm jig

  4. Spinnerbait


Air Pressure Data

The majority of largemouth bass catches have occurred when the air pressure is between 101000 and 103000 Pa (air pressure measured in pascal units).

Now that you know about the most productive largemouth bass fishing methods, baits and air pressure ranges in the Great Lakes states, you can use the Places to Boat and Fish Map to find new fishing spots where you can use this information.

Photo credit: Mike Elsea

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Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.