America's 5 Hottest Fishing Spots

Lake Champlain

When the first B.A.S.S. tournament was held on Lake Champlain, daily five-fish limits weighing 15 to 20 pounds had the biggest names in bassdom gushing with praise for the long, lovely lake of the North. "Lake Champlain has to be one of the best bass fisheries in the country," says Roland Martin, who turned in a final-day bag of largemouths averaging 41/2 pounds to win the inaugural Lake Champlain Top 100. "It's got a ton of fish." What sets Lake Champlain apart is its vast size and diverse mix of rocky points; gravelly shoals; and shallow, weedy bays and river mouths-to say nothing of countless log cribs, docks, bridge pilings, and other man-made structures. With a surface area of 435 square miles and almost 600 miles of shoreline, it has tens of thousands of acres of prime cover for both smallmouths and largemouths, some of which is seldom fished. The big lake also has a mix of other warmwater favorites, as well as a promising trout and salmon fishery that should only get better, thanks to a renewed sea lamprey control program. Sweet Spots: Missisquoi, Bulwagga, and Mallets Bays What's Hot: Spinnerbaits, jig-and-pigs, plastic worms and lizards, tube baits Local Advice: "A lot of guys get overwhelmed by the size of Lake Champlain, and they run around and catch squat," says Gilly Gagner of Bronzeback Guide Service. "You've got to break the lake down into sections, and stay in one section and learn it." Prime Time: May through October Record Fish: Vermont state records for landlocked salmon (12.65 pounds) and smallmouth bass (6.75 pounds) More Info: Bronzeback Guide Service, 802-868-4459