, Port Arthur, Texas

May 4, 2013

Chester Moore column: Rayburn ranks No. 2 on Bassmaster top 100

Chester Moore
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR —   The “100 Best Bass Lakes” put out by Bassmaster was the talk of the bass fishing community last year.

    South Texas’ Lake Falcon was number 1 and Texas had a large number of water bodies represented.

    Local anglers will find this year’s just released list even more interesting than the 2012 overview.

    For starters, Falcon was bumped from number one to seven.

    Drought and fishing pressure have changed the dynamics on that body of water quite. Lake St. Clair in Michigan took first honors due to its incredible smallmouth fishery and vastly overlooked largemouth population.

    Sam Rayburn took second place.

    With the lake filling back up after two years of drought, habitat is in great condition and recent surveys show stunning numbers of keeper bass. In addition, tournament weights this year have been the best in many years. If the lake can stay within a few feet of pool level expect a tremendous few years.

    Toledo Bend slid a few places but remained in the top 10 at 10th place with Bassmaster citing solid tournament limits and a healthy upper end of the fishery.

    Before we go any farther, we should ponder this for a moment.

    When speaking with Bassmaster editor James Hall I learned, they go to great lengths to put together this list.

    “Last year, we developed the list by asking every state’s Department of Natural Resources (sometimes it was the wildlife agency) to give us catch rates, population studies and stocking schedules for all the fisheries they managed,”  

    From there, they sent the list to B.A.S.S. Nation presidents and conservation directors to rank each of these bodies of water based on the tournaments they held. Then a panel of Elite Series pros, outdoor writers and industry professionals finalize the lakes list and rankings. In addition, they sent it to 3,500 .B.A.S.S. members throughout the U.S.

    Having our two major bass fisheries compared to the rest in the country and come out in the top 10 shows how blessed we are. The grass is not greener in other pastures. It is the greenest right here.

    And it does not end.

    Lake Conroe (only a two hour drive away) made it in at number 72 and one of my all-time favorite lakes, Fayette County Reservoir (3-hour drive) is number 99. That is not bad considering it is only 3,000 acres.

    Other Texas Lakes include Amistad (23), Fork (28), Austin (34), and tiny Lake Dunlap, located near San Marcos at 90.

    According to Hall, the list was not made to examine the best tournament lakes or even trophy lakes but the lakes that had something for everybody.

   We will have the complete list in the Thursday Outdoors Update and look forward to your feedback.

    In my opinion, they did a great job on a daunting task and our region certainly came out shining.

(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at . You can hear “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI. You can watch his WebTV Series online at www. and follow him on Twitter @flexfishing.)