It’s very easy for a bass angler to jump the gun and say one lake is better than another simply based on how many fish he or she catches in that body of water. I’ve been just as guilty of making numbers the lone criteria for loving a lake over the years. But the reality is that picking a good lake is a process that should really come from a more thorough evaluation from a non-biased and more technical perspective. So whether you’re looking for a new local lake or the perfect vacation destination here are some key features I look at when scouting.
Overall Acreage: If you can get up in the morning and not even know where to begin because a lake is so vast, than that’s money! Sure, systematically breaking it down piece by piece is the way the serious bass guys do it, but if you’re chillin’ on vacation and you just want to just explore new water and wet a line here and there, there is nothing like having a different flavor for every day you go out, and miles of water to play with. Looking at the overall acreage of fishable water gives you a quick snapshot of what you might be in for during your quest for the lake’s monsters.
Cover: Taking a quick look on Google Earth can clue you in to where you may want to poke around during your fishing trip, and more importantly, whether or not the lake has good cover to begin with. Having at least a small idea of where there are pads, dead falls, feeder creeks, rock walls, and docks will help you find starting points at the outset. Once you figure out which kind of structure is producing best, you can find more of the same.
Grass: This definitely falls under the category of “cover”, but I feel the presence of various aquatic veggies warrants it’s own special mention. It’s simple; grass holds and produces big bass. Do lakes without grass have big bass? Sure, but the overall quality and quantity of bass in a body of water that pumps out annual cycles of lush aquatic vegetation is going to be better in the long run.
Mixed Bags: I’m not only talking about a body of water that has largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass. I’m talking about the “what the heck is this that I have on” element. Let’s be honest here, many bass fishing trips become a little sweeter when you have more chances of being surprised. I enjoy catching a big walleye, musky, a giant catfish or a even a basket of yellow perch on the side for dinner at some prime fisheries.