Top 10 Bass Fishing Lakes in Arkansas

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Explore the top ten bass fishing lakes in Arkansas that every bass fisherman should visit.

Arkansas is home to more than 600,000 acres of lakes that produce some of the best bass fishing in the United States. Arkansas lakes have produced several world record bass over the years, two of which still stand today. Just last year Arkansas fishermen challenged the world record books again with two giants from the same lake. Arkansas bass fishing lakes are stocked regularly by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. The following species can be found in Arkansas bass fishing lakes:

  • Hybrid Striped Bass*
  • Largemouth Bass (Northern & Florida Strain)
  • Ozark Bass*
  • Rock Bass
  • Shadow Bass
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Spotted Bass
  • Striped Bass
  • White Bass
  • Yellow Bass

* Denotes current world record held by Arkansas Lake

These are the top ten bass fishing lakes in the state of Arkansas.

10) Norfork Lake 

Lake Norfork Arkansas

Norfork Lake has more than 550 miles of shoreline and covers over 22,000 acres. Norfork Lake is located in North Central Arkansas, and is the oldest of Arkansas' man made lakes. Norfork boasts some of the best Striped Bass catches in Arkansas in recent years, with fish in the 30 to 40 pound class pretty common. Other species of bass found in Norfork include Northern Strain Largemouth, Spotted, White, Hybrid Striped and Smallmouth. For more information about Norfork Lake.

9) Beaver Lake

Beaver Lake Arkansas

Constructed in 1966, Beaver Lake covers 1,186 miles (759,040 acres) with over 400 miles of shoreline in Northwest Arkansas. Beaver Lake is home to Largemouth, Smallmouth, Hybrid Striped and Striped Bass. Beaver Lake has some of the best fall fishing in Arkansas.  The lake offers clear-water fishing at its north end and dingy water fishing in the creeks and streams on the south end. Following quick rises in the lakes level, shallow water fishing is fantastic as a result of the misdirection caused by the lakes muddy water being pushed northward. For more information about Beaver Lake.

8) Lake Monticello

Lake Monticello Arkansas

Lake Monticello is the smallest of the Top Ten Bass Fishing Lakes in Arkansas at only 1,520 acres. The lake only has been open to public fishing since 1997, but in short time has produced some of the best action for giant largemouth bass in the state. The lake is relatively shallow, making it unfit for most of the bigger bass species such as Striped and Hybrid Striped Bass, but Lake Monticello is packed full of giant Florida strain largemouths. Spring season brings the most activity on the lake, with largemouth bass in the 10 to 12 pound range coming in regularly. A popular spring practice on Lake Monticello is "Ballooning", fishing large shad or perch under a balloon. For more information about Lake Monticello.

7) Millwood Lake

Millwood Lake Arkansas

Millwood is a renowned big bass fishing lake, with nearly all of its 29,000 acres consisting of flooded timber and vegetation. This makes Millwood Lake a perfect habitat for bass species such as largemouth, spotted, white and striped. The lake is also home to the giant Florida strain largemouth bass, with catches over 10lbs not uncommon. Millwood Lake is located in Southwest Arkansas approximately 2 hours from the state capitol of Little Rock. For more information about Millwood Lake.

6) Lake Dardanelle

 Lake Dardanelle Arkansas

Lake Dardanelle is an Arkansas River impoundment that covers 40,000+ acres with 315 miles of shoreline. This lake offers a more open layout than some of the lakes listed here, reaching up to 2 miles across in some locations. Lake Dardanelle is a regular stop for national bass tournaments and is widely regarded as one of the best largemouth bass fisheries in the South. The lakes rich vegetation has made a strong comeback, providing cover for the lakes various species of fish. Lake Dardanelle is home to largemouth, spotted, white, hybrid striped and striped bass. For more information about Lake Dardanelle.

Lake Dardanelle Arkansas

5) DeGray Lake

DeGray Lake Arkansas

DeGray Lake covers 13,400 acres at the base of the Ouachita Mountain range in Southwest Arkansas. The lake is deep and full of flooded timber, rock bluffs and open water humps. DeGray hosts year round tournaments for largemouth bass, but maybe the best action on the lake comes from the Hybrid Stripers. DeGray offers some of the best Hybrid action in Arkansas, with most experienced anglers rarely leaving without a limit. For more information about DeGray Lake.

4) Lake Hamilton

Lake Hamilton Arkansas

This is possibly the most difficult lake in Arkansas to fish. Lake Hamilton covers 7,460 acres, surrounded by the city of Hot Springs, Arkansas' tourism capitol. Unlike the other lakes on this list, Lake Hamilton's shoreline is heavily populated with condominiums, marinas, hotels and multi-million dollar homes. Recreational boating on Lake Hamilton is the highest of any lake in Arkansas, and makes for some very difficult fishing conditions. For those who take on the challenge, the rewards can be incredible. Lake Hamilton is home to all species of bass native to Arkansas, with two of the largest bass ever recorded in Arkansas coming from Hamilton in March 2010, a 61lb 10oz Striped Bass and a 14lb 12oz Largemouth Bass. For more information about Lake Hamilton.

3) Greers Ferry Lake

Greers Ferry Lake

Greers Ferry Lake covers 40,000 acres in Central Arkansas, featuring some of the clearest, cleanest waters of all the state's lakes. Greers Ferry is home to every species of Bass native to the state of Arkansas. The current world record Hybrid Striped Bass was caught here in 1997 and weighed in at 27lbs 5oz. There are plenty of fishermen that will argue that Greers Ferry Lake holds the next world record largemouth bass, due in part to a 15lb 15oz largemouth that was caught in 1988. Greers Ferry's deep, clear, cool waters also make for excellent smallmouth bass fishing. For more information about Greers Ferry Lake.

2) Bull Shoals Lake

Bull Shoals Lake Arkansas

Bull Shoals Lake covers a massive 45,500 acres, featuring more than 1,000 miles of shoreline in North Arkansas and Southern Missouri. Bull Shoals offers the best Largemouth Bass action in Arkansas, with 8 to 12 pound bucketmouths regularly reported. The lake is home to Spotted, White and Largemouth Bass. Bull Shoals is enclosed with rugged terrain and the lake is filled with excellent cover. Due to the massive size of Bull Shoals, many anglers make a weekend out of fishing trips, allowing time to explore more of the lake. For more information about Bull Shoals Lake.

1) Lake Ouachita

Lake Ouachita Arkansas

Coined the "Striped Bass Capitol of the World", Lake Ouachita is home to the best Striped Bass fishing in the South. Ouachita (pronounced Wa-Shi-Taw) is the largest lake entirely inside Arkansas' borders at 40,100 acres. The lake is as famous for its pristine beauty as its amazing fishing. The lake is over 40 miles long with nearly 1,000 miles of uninhabited shoreline. The lake is surrounded by the Ouachita National Forest, making it a protected area free from houses and businesses. Just raw nature...and amazing bass fishing.

Lake Ouachita ranks in the Top 10 among Largemouth Bass Lakes in the Untied States, and hosts several major national bass tournaments each year. Ouachita is home to a large number of guide services, attracting Striped Bass anglers from all over the world. Stripers in the 40 to 50 pound class are recorded every year, with 20 to 30 pound fish relatively common. The majority of Lake Ouachita is flooded timber, some of which reaches depths of 200 feet. Lake Ouachita should be on every bass fisherman's bucket list, because this lake has it all. For more information about Lake Ouachita.


Bill Vertard
Posted on Jul 10, 2012
Posted on Mar 27, 2011
Jeff Jenkins
Posted on Jan 20, 2011
Posted on Jan 18, 2011