Montana - Oregon

The top 96 waters from coast to coast.

Field & Stream Online Editors

Montana
State record: 8 pounds 4.64 ounces, Adam Nelson, 6/11/99, Many Lakes
Best water: Noxon Rapids Reservoir. "It's a run-of-the-river reservoir, nearly 40 miles long and over 8,000 acres. Habitat is riverine at the head and more pondlike near the dam. Most derbies will produce bass in the 5- to 6-pound range-which is good for Montana."-Jim Bashro, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks
Contact: MFWP, 406-444-2535
Sleeper: Fort Peck Reservoir, Missouri drainage. "Fort Peck is huge, nearly 250,000 acres, and remote, about 50 to 100 miles from most towns. It's very challenging to fish, but it can really reward you on the good days."
Contact: Missouri River Outpost, 406-526-3231

Nebraska
State record: 10 pounds 11 ounces, Paul Abbeglen Sr., 10/2/65, sand pit, Platte County
Best water: Burchard Lake. "It's got clear water and good vegetation, plus 150 surface acres." -Dave Tunink, assistant administrator, fisheries management section, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
Contact: Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, 402-471-0641
Sleeper: Sandhill Lakes, Valentine National Wildlife Refuge. "Sandhill lakes are clear, nutrient rich, and grow some of the fattest bass around, and they're underfished. No gas motors are allowed."
Contact: Valentine NWR, 402-376-3789

Nevada
State record: 12 pounds, Michael R. Geary, 1999, Lake Mead
Best water: Lake Mead. "It's the fifth biggest reservoir in the United States, with immense miles of bass habitat." -Mark Warren, staff sport fish specialist, Nevada Division of Wildlife
Contact: Las Vegas Bay Marina, 702-565-9111
Sleeper: Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge. "It's 60 miles from Elko, with a marsh, some canals, and a lake. It's got good bass, but not many people go out there."
Contact: Ruby Lake NWR, 775-779-2237

New Hampshire
State record: 10 pounds 8 ounces, G. Bullpit, 1967, Lake Potanipo
Best water: Monomonac Lake. "It consistently produces trophy largemouth bass of 5 pounds and greater, because of its moderate levels of aquatic vegetation and abundant forage base." -Gabe Gries, fisheries biologist, New Hampshire Fish and Game Department
Contact: Valley Marine and Recreation, 603-899-3378
Sleeper: Northwood Lake. "It provides good structure and cover in terms of aquatic vegetation and docks and extensive areas to fish due to its large littoral zone."
Contact: MacCallum's Boathouse, 603-736-4750

New Jersey
State record: 10 pounds 14 ounces, Robert Eisele, 1980, Menantico Sand Wash Pond
Best water: Assunpink Lake. "We get tournament data on the lake, and it traditionally produces about 25 fish over 5 pounds during the competitions."-Bob Papson, principal fisheries biologist, New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife
Contact: NJDFW, 609-292-2965; www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw
Sleeper: Musconetcong Lake. "It actually gets pretty weedy in the summer, so it's hard to fish, but a lot of really big fish are taken out of that lake."_-Tony Going, president, New Jersey BASS Federatio_n
Contact: NJDFW, 856-629-4950

New Mexico
State record: 15 pounds 13 ounces, Steve Estrada, 3/24/95, Bill Evans Lake
Best water: Ute Lake, Tucumcari. "It grows some good fish and has been less impacted by drought than some of our other reservoirs."_-Richard Hansen, assistant chief of fisheries division, New Mexico Department of Game and Fis_h
Contact: Ute Lake State Park, 505-487-2284
Sleeper: Bill Evans Lake, Silver City. "It gets a fair amount of use by residents, but it's isolated and doesn't draw much out-of-state attention."
Contact: D&M; Sporting Goods, 505-546-9767

New York
State record: 11 pounds 4 ounces, John L. Higbie, 91/87, Buckhorn Lake
Best water: Hudson River from Catskill to Newburgh. "Fish here have some of the fastest growth rates in the state. It's a relatively low population density but high size structure."-Doug Stang, chief of bureau of fisheries, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Contact: NYDEC, 518-402-8920; fwfish@gw.dec.state.ny.us
Sleeper: Oneida Lake. "It's mostly known for walleye and perch, but the bass fishing here is fantastic."
Contact: Marion Manor Marina, 315-762-4810

North Carolina
State record: 15 pounds 14 ounces, William H. Wofford, 3/29/91, private pond, Union County
Best water: Harris Lake. "The lake provides cooling water for the Shearon Harris Nuclear Plant. It is relatively shallow, and a change in plant operations led to an increase in phosphorous input to the lake, which in turn has boosted productivity. In order to manage the lake for large bass, the NCWRC enacted a 16- to 20-inch slot limit." -Lawrence Dorsey, fisheries biologist, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
Contact: NCWRC, 919-733-3633
Sleeper: Salem Lake. "It's a small reservoir in the heart of Winston-Salem, but fishing pressure is limited by several factors. First, only boats with 40-horsepower-and-less motors are allowed. Secondly, it closes at sunset, so there is no nighttime angling."
Contact: NCWRC, 919-733-3633

North Dakota
State record: 8 pounds 7.5 ounces, Leon Rixen, 1983, Nelson Lake
Best water: Nelson Lake. "We're marginal bass habitat, but Nelson lake water is effluent from a power plant, so it hardly ices over."-Greg Power, fisheries section leader, North Dakota Game and Fish Department
Contact: DHD Sports (Minot), 701-838-3759
Sleeper: Sweetbriar Reservoir. "It's a high-use lake just west of Mandan, but North Dakota is not a big bass state, and the bass don't get attention. There are a lot of bass in the 3- to 5-pound range."
Contact: Colie's Bait and Tackle (Mandan), 701-663-5704

Ohio
State record: 13 pounds 2.08 ounces, Roy Landsberger, 5/26/76, private pond, Carroll County
Best water: Knox Lake. "We own it, and we manage it for trophy bass." -Tom Hall, black bass manager, Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Contact: ODNR, Fisheries Division, 614-644-3925
Sleeper: Hoover Lake. "The city only allows 10-hp motors, no Jet Skis, no skiing, none of that nonsense, just fishermen."
Contact: ODNR, Fisheries Division, 614-644-3925

Oklahoma
State record: 14 pounds 11.5 ounces, William Cross, 3/14/99, Broken Bow Lake
Best water: Grand Lake. "It's got variety: clear water to stained water, rocky bluffs to downed timber, deep to shallow patterns. It consistently produces 15- to 20-pound winning stringers in tournaments."_ -Gene Gilliland, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation_
Contact: Crystal Bay Marina, 918-396-4240
Sleeper: Canton Lake. "Known for walleye and striped bass hybrids, this lake gets little bass fishing pressure and very few tournaments-not the big numbers of bass we see in some eastern lakes, but good quality fish."
Contact: ODWC, 405-325-7288

Oregon
State record: 18 pounds 8 ounces, Adam Hastings, 7/6/02, Ballenger Pond
Best water: Tenmile Lake. "This lake is fished by more bass tournaments than any other lake in Oregon. Fish up to 9 pounds are caught, with average days consisting of 15 to 30 bass per fisherman."-Rhine Messer, recreational fisheries program manager, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Contact: Lakeside Marina, 541-759-3312
Sleeper: Horsfall Lake, Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. "Access is limited to four-wheel-drive, and thus small boats. Bass up to 9 pounds are caught, and catches of 50 fish per day are common."
Contact: Oregon Dunes NRA, 541-750-7000
Contact: Oregon Dunes NRA, 541-750-7000