Hawgs, lunkers, whoppers, pigs, and monsters are just some words that are screamed in excitement at the sight of an aerobatic bronze back pulled from a legendary bass fishing river. This fish is undeniably America’s favorite halftime catch. Nevertheless, it is more commonly known as largemouth, smallmouth, or spotted bass, among many other types.
Regardless, if the bass fishing addiction stems from the aggressive pound-for-pound tugs stimulating a rod tip or that signature explosive jump out of the water, America simply loves its bass. Here’s a compiled list of the most noteworthy bass fishing river in the US. And some of them could be in a neighborhood near you!
1. St. Johns River – Florida
In case you haven’t heard, the fishing in Florida is fantastic. But, while most are concentrated on ocean catches, the real action happens in the freshwater lakes and rivers for bass.
Locals have dubbed the St. John’s River, Florida’s longest river, a liquid chameleon. Although a head-scratcher, the explanation is simple, with it coming down to its diversity of lakes and rivers that vary between black and clear water. Furthermore, it is so vast that it’s divided into three basins comprising freshwater and saltwater, varying in the region.
What does this mean for bass fishing? For starters, the action is world-class, regardless of where you swing your line. If one spot quiets down, the next hot spot isn’t too far away. Target largemouth bass, striped bass, or sunshine bass. Hence, these qualities make the St. Johns River one of the best bass fishing rivers in the US.
2. St. Croix River – Minnesota
It feels like a sin to cover bass fishing rivers without the mention of the bass fishing havens of Minnesota and Wisconsin. Unless you’re from one of these states, you likely haven’t heard of the St. Croix River, but take note because this waterway offers gigantic hawgs, lunkers, and monsters.
At about 170 miles long and a tributary of the mighty Mississippi River, the St. Croix is divided into the upper and lower regions that sport different species. Of these, walleye, sauger, yellow perch, and crappie are excellent alternative targets.
But on this bass fishing river, the smallmouth bass is king, with some reaching 20 inches in length. Fall fishing produces some of the largest smallies, when the water temperature cools. To rack up the smallmouth bass count, consider trying out crankbaits, topwater lures, or a Ned rig. Moreover, lures with blue or dark blue coloration perform well on the St. Croix River.
3. St. Lawrence River – New York
Next, The St. Lawrence River should be on your list of must-do bass fishing rivers. It’s an enormous shipping waterway donning blue water and a premier body of water known for largemouth bass as big as a pet cat.
The shoreline is a mecca of weedy patches, shoals, and bays, which all serves as an optimal location for the bass to hide. Some of the most easily accessible shore fishing spots come from any of the state parks off Route 12 and Route 37. Have a boat? No problem! Plenty of boat launches are found along the length of this river way.
As for reeling in fish on this bass fishing river, you’re likely to pick up the more common smallmouth bass. But when you hit on a largemouth bass, don’t be alarmed by the U-turn of your rod tip. Seriously, though, the largemouth bass are humongous here.
4. Tennessee River – Tennessee
A good bass fishing river, it hosted the coveted Bassmasters Elite Series in 2021. Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, striped bass, and Cherokee bass, you can never get bored with the options on this waterway.
But, the arm-straining smallmouth bass attracts many to this legendary bass fishing river. However, some may argue that largemouth bass and striped bass fishing are just as good.
Flowing between the states of Tennessee and Alabama, the Tennessee River passes through much loved hot spots like Pickwick Lake, Guntersville Lake, Wheeler Lake, and Wilson Lake. With dams, creeks, sunken logs, and weedy patches found throughout its length serving as an ample location for a bite.
5. Black River – Arizona
Chances are, when you think of fishing in Arizona; trout come to mind. But in reality, this state contains one of the best bass fishing rivers found in the lower states. The Black River is revered for its brown, rainbow, and Apache trout populations, but it also boasts a healthy smallmouth bass fishery.
Yet, this one isn’t for the faint of heart, with the Black River being accessed in mostly remote areas. Where mountain lions are known to inhabit. But, if you like a challenge, this is among the only places to bass fish with a fly rod. Alas, three-pounders rest in the sand or gravel pools or around a rocky outcrop. And, if you’re lucky enough, you might be able to sight fish some of them.
Nevertheless, don’t discredit landing a monster fish here; some smallies can reach up to six pounds. Thus, making the Black River one of the best bass fishing Rivers in the US.
Many anglers get caught up in the notion that the bass fishing action only happens on lakes. Although there are some fabled bodies of water out there, there are some astonishing bass fishing rivers that will exceed your fish count.
Some other notable rivers are the Niagara River in New York, the New River in Virginia and West Virginia, and the Detroit River in Michigan, which all boast hearty bass populations.
Let us know in the comments where you have caught a hawg, lunker, or monster bass and the bass fishing rivers found in your state.