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  1. #1
    Member NebRig's Avatar
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    Apr 2019
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    Top Ten Smallmouth

    I envy you guys that have convenient access to any of these smallmouth fisheries without having to make it a destination. Growing up in the south on nothing but largemouth lakes I throughly enjoy catching smallies on my trips to the Dakotas but it's still not enough to fill my bucket of wanting to catch more.

    None of these lakes are convenient from my part of the world but I may have to consider longer tows with retirement approaching. I'll certainly have the time. The cost in making many long and lengthy trips might be a different story.

    With all of no wake lakes we fish around here I can't even imagine launching on something the size of Lake Erie. Damn thats big water. How does a guy even know where to start? It would take months/years just to figure out how to make a week long visit enjoyable productive and affordable. I've never hired a guide but may have to consider it if I ever get the opportunity and pleasure of fishing one of these.

    1. Lake Coeur d'Alene
    2. Bay de Noc
    3. Mile Lacs
    4. Lake Erie
    5. Columbia River
    6. St Clair
    7. St Lawrence River
    8. Pickwick
    9. Lake Cherokee
    10. Susquehanna River
    "A Fisherman and his Money are soon Parted"

    "The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." - George Orwell

  2. Member
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    Mar 2017
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    #2
    I fish the St Lawrence River and I would put it on top of the list. Certain mounths of the year, (End of June and beginning of July - September and October ) the fishing is very easy and anybody with a decent knowledge of fishing will do ok. A guide will get you started in the right direction but I'm sure you will manage after a couple of days.

  3. Member jedwards's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
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    #3
    I've only been to one of the lakes you've listed, St. Clair. But we've gone up there 12 years in a row with several years multiple times. Not saying it's the best on your list, but there's a reason we keep going back.
    Heartwood Fence Co.

  4. Member MichAngler's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
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    Royal Oak, MI
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    #4
    Just a little research will lead you to the right time of year to visit each and will also give you a start as to where to fish and what baits to use

    YouTube can be a good start

    Many of these lake have people that put out newsletters, podcasts and videos on a weekly basis that cnl also be a big benefit

    A guide for your first day or two will be the biggest benefit as you can narrow down a lot of water and baits for the weather conditions at that time

    never hurts to talk to a local or two at the launch

    last but not least post in that states forums here many times you can get a ton of help
    "The handicapped angler"

  5. Member
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    #5
    Northern sections of the Mississippi River is no slouch either.

  6. Member
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    MN
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    #6
    I wouldn't put Mille Lacs in top 10 for MN and surrounding states right now!

  7. Member
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    Horton, MI
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    #7
    I’ve fished many on that list and St Clair is hard to beat. Even the dog days of summer can be lights out there.

  8. Member
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    Jul 2017
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    Stanton, MI
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    #8
    Fished Bay de Noc quite a bit as a kid but unfortunately for me it was for walleye and not bass. My stepdad is a big walleye guy. I don’t remember ever getting any smallmouth while walleye fishing, I imagine we did but was such a long time ago.

  9. Member
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by 12poundbass View Post
    Fished Bay de Noc quite a bit as a kid but unfortunately for me it was for walleye and not bass. My stepdad is a big walleye guy. I don’t remember ever getting any smallmouth while walleye fishing, I imagine we did but was such a long time ago.
    They are in there... both little and big bay. However for argument sake maybe just call it all green bay, given sturgeon and all of door county!

  10. Member
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    #10
    Can't get excited about traveling more than an hour for smallmouth. They're in just about every pond, lake and river around here. Not the kind of weights you get in Erie but enough 3#-#4 fish to keep it interesting. Good luck and have fun!

  11. Member
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    Huntington WV
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    #11
    You forgot Dale Hollow

  12. Member NebRig's Avatar
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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by yatesville88fan View Post
    You forgot Dale Hollow
    Well I looked again at the top 10 article that I pulled these from and these were a Field & Stream rating in 2019 so .. . take that for what it's worth with a grain of salt I'm sure
    "A Fisherman and his Money are soon Parted"

    "The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." - George Orwell

  13. Member
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    Converse tx
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    #13
    CDA isnt even the best smallie fishery in Idaho, let alone the US.

  14. Member
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    May 2016
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    Hopatcong, New Jersey
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    #14
    The few times I fished Lake Erie it was easy to find where to fish: just look for the other boats. Seemed like everyone pretty much lined up and drifted fairly obvious structures. After drifting through, just motor around and get in line. Sometimes we would just try anywhere, because there can be fish anywhere, and start a solo drift. If you catch any, pretty quickly a new drifting fleet forms up on your drift line.

  15. Member
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    Dec 2018
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    Kelseyville Ca
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    #15
    Coeur d'Alene is the only one on the list ive been to.But we have alot of lakes with Smallies here

  16. Member
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    Apr 2013
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    Washington, MO
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    #16
    Been to the St. Lawrence 3 times now, going back again. A very special place. I LOVE going north for smallies, I'd like to hit St. Clair and a few other places too.

  17. Member
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    East Tennessee
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    #17
    Id put South Holston and Watauga Lakes over Cherokee lake any day of the week. Monster smallmouth in both. I live 5 mins from Watauga, 15 mins from Holston, and 40 mins from Cherokee.
    2020 Phoenix 920
    Merc 4banger
    East TN

  18. Member
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    Louisville Ky
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    #18
    Quote Originally Posted by yatesville88fan View Post
    You forgot Dale Hollow
    And Cumberland

  19. Member tcesni's Avatar
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    Apr 2005
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    Smith Mountain Lake, VA and a cottage in Ontario
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    #19
    Susquehanna is a lot of fun, hire a guide because you won’t want to launch your boat there.

  20. Member
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    South Point OH
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    #20
    Dale Hollow should be in the top 10 for sure, it's where the world record came out of and still has good numbers of large Smallmouth.

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