Mississippi is often one of the more overlooked states when it comes to bass fishing, but many of its lakes and rivers offer just as much opportunity for catching trophy bass. The Magnolia State enjoys a very warm climate through most of the year, allowing its bass to enjoy a long growing season.
In this article, we’ll explore the best bass fishing lakes in Mississippi along with some helpful tips and information bass anglers can use for fishing at each location.
Bass Species in Mississippi
Mississippi is full of a wide range of different black bass species. Largemouth bass can be found in abundant numbers throughout all of the state’s lakes and rivers along with spotted bass. Smallmouth bass are not found outside of the northern counties in Mississippi, but some of its lakes are world-renowned for smallmouth bass fishing. You can find great numbers of other fish species in Mississippi and the state is famous for its catfish population just as much as its bass population.
The Best Mississippi Bass Fishing Lakes
The Magnolia State is one that I’ve visited many times over the years in search of monster bass. The following waterways are our selections for the best bass fishing lakes in Mississippi based on my personal experience, as well as each lake’s features and reputation.
Ross Barnett Reservoir
Ross Barnett Reservoir is located just a few miles north of Jackson and covers approximately 33,000 acres. The lake features a robust bass population, including largemouth and spotted bass. In my experience, there really isn’t a bad time of year to fish at Ross Barnett Reservoir.
When I fish Ross Barnett Reservoir, I tend to focus on submerged structures like brush piles, trees, and stumps during the fall or spring using soft plastic worms and creature baits. In the winter, you’ll have success fishing around long points and shelves using spinnerbaits and crankbaits to catch schools of spotted bass chasing shad and the occasional largemouth. The best fishing on Ross Barnett Reservoir is found in the thick vegetation of Pelahatchie Bay where giant bass will strike topwater lures throughout the warm months.
Pickwick Lake is situated in the northeast corner of the state and parts of its 43,000 acres stretch into Alabama and Tennessee. This lake has a large smallmouth bass population, as well as good numbers of largemouth and spotted bass. Pickwick Lake is a fairly deep waterway, which makes it ideal for smallies.
I find the most effective lures for catching smallmouth bass to be jigs, swimbaits, and crankbaits in deep water past 15 feet. Focus on rocky shorelines that feature submerged structures, as well as the deep river channels found in Pickwick Lake. Versatile techniques like finesse fishing and deep cranking can be used to catch largemouth depending on the season.
Sardis Lake, situated in northern Mississippi, covers nearly 32,000 acres, but this waterway is perhaps best known for its crappie fishing. You’ll find healthy populations of largemouth bass, spotted bass, and white bass here. Sardis Lake can be much deeper than most of the bass fishing lakes in Mississippi, which opens a number of different scenarios to catch big bass in the winter and summer when fish will retreat to the depths.
Effective lures range from soft plastics like worms and creature baits to crankbaits and topwater lures. My favorite spot on Sardis Lake is Engineer’s Point, where I focus on structures that include submerged timber, fallen trees, and weed beds using jigs or swimbaits.
Grenada Lake is another crappie fishing paradise that’s also a hotspot for bass fishing. This waterway is nestled in northern Mississippi and spans approximately 36,000 acres. I have caught monster bass and crappie on Grenada Lake as there are thriving populations of both types of fish species found here.
Stick to fishing with deep-diving crankbaits, jigs, and soft plastics along Grenada Lake’s submerged creek channels, standing timber, as well as the numerous points and humps throughout the waterway. The best technique for catching trophy bass in summer will be jigging and flipping around docks and structures, along with Carolina rigging the timber. My favorite time to fish in Grenada Lake is in the spring when bass will congregate around the cypress trees in shallow water.
Bay Springs Lake
Bay Springs Lake is another bass angler’s paradise situated in northeastern Mississippi. This lake is somewhat small compared to the others we’ve mentioned so far, covering around 6,700 acres, yet the bass fishing in Bay Springs Lake is as good as anywhere in Mississippi.
You can catch everything from spotted bass to smallmouth along the lake’s rocky points, submerged timber, and deep creek channels. My favorite bass fishing spot on Bay Springs Lake varies depending on the season, but the coves and points around Piney Grove and Cotton Springs are the most productive.
Lake Washington is located in the Mississippi Delta and features roughly 5,000 acres of prime bass fishing habitat. Lake Washington is very shallow with an average depth of about 6 feet, but its waters boast a healthy largemouth bass population and plenty of fishing opportunities.
I love to fish with topwater lures like frogs and buzzbaits on Lake Washington. You can catch giant bass around the lake’s abundant cypress trees, submerged vegetation, and boat docks with these lures. Bass fishing techniques like flipping and pitching into cover are best during the sweltering hot months of summer.
Enid Lake is another big bass destination that any bass angler can’t pass up when visiting Mississippi. This waterway is situated in north-central Mississippi and offers about 28,000 acres of surface water that’s home to thriving numbers of largemouth and spotted bass.
Bass fishing is best here during the spring and I tend to focus on shallow water for spawning bass, yet the deeper sections and underwater structures will be best in the post-spawn phase. My favorite spots on Enid Lake are Clear Creek and Persimmon Lake where I focus on brush piles and logs using Texas and Carolina rigs.
Okatibbee Lake is a small waterway nestled in eastern Mississippi that covers around 4,000 acres and is often not as pressured as other bass fishing lakes in the state. Access is somewhat limited on Okatibbee Lake, but largemouth bass thrive here.
Stick to flipping and topwater lures around the many brush piles and submerged logs to catch big fish hiding from the hot summer sun. My favorite place on Okatibbee Lake is around the upper end of the lake where there’s more cover.
Columbus Lake is a true “hidden gem” among bass lakes located in eastern Mississippi. This lake is only about 640 acres, but it’s much more laid back and not as pressured as the bigger lakes in the Magnolia State. There are plenty of largemouth bass in Columbus Lake and this is one of my favorite kayak fishing lakes.
You can catch fish year-round here using various soft plastic lures rigged Texas-style. I like to focus on the various small creeks feeding into Columbus Lake, as well as submerged structures like submerged timber, boat docks, and vegetation along the shoreline.
Lake Bogue Homa
Lake Bogue Homa is another small bass angling paradise that’s only around 880 acres. This waterway sits in southern Mississippi and offers a surprising amount of great bass fishing opportunities.
I have caught plenty of keeper-size bass in Lake Bogue Homa fishing around submerged vegetation, boat docks, and fallen trees along the banks. There’s only one boat ramp on this lake, but you can also fish from the shoreline and catch plenty of bass around the grass lining the edges.
The Pascagoula River is arguably the best bass fishing river in Mississippi. This scenic waterway stretches across 80 miles through the southeastern portion of the state and empties into the Gulf of Mexico. There are plenty of opportunities to fish along the river’s banks and anglers can use one of the many boat ramps for access.
Catching largemouth bass here is best in the fall and I like to focus on the river’s backwaters and sloughs where there is ample structure and fallen trees. Flipping, pitching, and topwater baits tend to be the ticket to success here. This is a prime destination for kayak fishing and bass anglers can find numerous deep creek channels and quiet coves where giant bass often hide.
The Pearl River is another one of the top bass fishing destinations in Mississippi. This river winds its way through the southern portion of the state and spans approximately 485 miles. The Pearl River is brimming with largemouth and spotted bass which feed on a diverse ecosystem of wildlife in and around the river’s banks.
My favorite places to fish along the Pearl River are in the slower-moving sections, oxbow lakes, and the eddies where you can find lots of submerged logs and rocky outcrops. Flipping and pitching jigs into heavy cover is the best way to catch bass as you can cover a great deal of water and simply fish while drifting along with the current in most cases.
The mighty Mississippi River is a colossal waterway that stretches more than 2,300 miles through the Heartland of the United States. This river is teeming with all kinds of fish species and largemouth bass are certainly found in plentiful numbers throughout the river’s sections in this state.
Finding a structure to fish around can be tough as the water’s strong current is constantly moving brush piles and logs around. I like to stick to swimbaits, jigs, crankbaits, and Rat-L-Traps for the best chances of catching bigger bass. Target backwaters, slow-water areas, and any submerged structures like fallen trees or rocks for the best results in the warm months.
Natchez State Park Lake
Natchez State Park Lake is only about 400 acres in size, but it is some of the most pristine bass fishing habitat in the entire state of Mississippi. This lake is known for its beautiful, serene habitat and natural shorelines that offer plenty of brush, logs, and other structures where bass tend to reside.
Topwater lures are especially effective here, but anglers can find bites from trophy-sized largemouth bass through the summer months by flipping or pitching jigs. There are a few shallow coves where you can expect to find bass staging at the entrance or around points, waiting to feed on shad or other bait fish.
Lake Calling Panther
Lake Calling Panther, situated in southwestern Mississippi, covers approximately 500 acres and is a little-known paradise for bass anglers. This lake is unique in that it features much deeper water than most other bass lakes in Mississippi with a maximum depth of about 40 feet.
There are lots of submerged logs and brush piles around the points on this lake and I have found success using a wide range of lures. My favorite spot on Lake Calling Panther is around the northern side where I have used buzzbaits to catch big bass near logs just below the surface.
Neshoba County Lake
Neshoba County Lake may be small, but it undoubtedly deserves to be mentioned among the top bass lakes in Mississippi. This lake is just under 140 acres, but it features incredible opportunities to catch big bass.
The lake is known for producing giant bass, so I like to stick with larger lures here to increase my chances of catching a trophy bass. The biggest bass in Neshoba County Lake is often caught using a variety of finesse tactics such as shaky heads, Texas rigged plastics, and weightless plastic worms. The lake’s record largemouth bass is a massive 14.3-pound fish caught in 2017.
Bass Fishing Mississippi: Techniques and Tips
Mississippi bass fishing is strikingly similar to Florida bass fishing in many ways. The lakes are mostly shallow and feature loads of underwater structures where bass can hide and ambush their prey. The best techniques for catching Mississippi bass are usually anything related to fines fishing when you aren’t faced with thick vegetation.
Flipping and pitching jigs are very popular in this state because they work very well throughout the year in most cases. From spring until fall, you can always rely on a good topwater bite around any grass or other vegetation in more than 5 feet of water.
Mississippi Bass Fishing Size and Bag Limits and Other Rules
Harvest regulations for largemouth bass vary across the state of Mississippi, so be sure to check and make sure of the laws regarding the specific bass lakes you plan to fish before your trip. In most cases, largemouth bass must be at least 14 inches in length before they can be kept. In addition, bag limits also vary from lake to lake with some allowing only 5 and others allowing as many as 10 bass to be kept per day.