Top 10 Fishing Lakes in the US

By Debbie Hanson

Jun 22, 2021

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Since July is Lakes Appreciation Month, we’re honoring the top 10 fishing lakes in the US. You might find other lists that cover the best bass fishing lakes, but this list is focused on some of the overall best fishing lakes in the US for family fishing and a variety of freshwater species.

1. Grand Lake, Colorado

Due to the fact that it’s the deepest natural lake in Colorado, Grand Lake is known for being one of the best fishing lakes in the state for trout. You can catch lake trout or kokanee salmon, along with rainbow trout, brook trout, brown trout, and cutthroat trout.

2. Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota

Minnesota's second-largest inland lake covers 207 square miles. While it’s primarily known for being one of the best fishing lakes in the US for walleye, Mille Lacs also has northern pike, muskie, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, and largemouth bass.

3. Lake Istokpoga, Florida

Located in Highlands County, Lake Istokpoga offers family freshwater fishing opportunities for black crappie and boasts one of the highest largemouth bass catch rates in Florida. Visit during the winter or early spring when crappie fishing and bass fishing are at a peak.

4. Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Texas

Sam Rayburn Reservoir may be best known as a largemouth bass tournament fishery, but you can also catch crappie and catfish year-round. In addition, high catch rates of bluegill and redear sunfish make lake fishing on Sam Rayburn a fun experience for young anglers.

5. Lake Fork, Texas

While largemouth bass are the most predominant freshwater species in Lake Fork, you’ll find that it’s one of the best lakes to fish for channel catfish, bluegill, and crappie too.

6. Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire

The number of public access points for lake fishing and boating adventures combined with variety of species earns Lake Winnipesaukee a place on this top 10 list. Take your pick by targeting bass, trout, sunfish, perch, salmon or pickerel.

7. Clear Lake, California

One of the most popular lakes in California for family fishing and boating trips, Clear Lake is known for its healthy populations of largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill and channel catfish.

8. Lake of the Woods, Minnesota

Lake of the Woods is known for some of the best family fishing in the Midwest. In addition to walleye, the lake has high numbers of sauger, pike, muskellunge, sturgeon, smallmouth bass, jumbo perch, and crappie.

9. Big Green Lake, Wisconsin

Wisconsin's deepest lake is also one of the top 10 fishing lakes in the US. While it’s best known for lake trout, Big Green Lake has white bass, bluegills, smallmouth bass and walleye too.

10. Hubbard Lake, Michigan

If you want to take your family on a multi-species fishing trip, Hubbard Lake is an excellent option to consider. The lake is well stocked with trout, tiger muskie, walleye, and northern pike, but local anglers often mention the fantastic smallmouth bass and largemouth bass fishing as well.

Take your pick from this list or find a lake near you, and then celebrate Lakes Appreciation Month by catching a few of your favorite freshwater fish.

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.