by Steve Daniel
When I was a full time bass pro fishing the Bassmasters Elite and FLW tours, I had an opportunity to angle on some of the best fishing lakes in the country. Each season Deb, the cats, and I would leave my favorite lake, the Big ‘O’ and travel to some of the hottest lakes in the nation.
Our year usually started in February and we’d travel to Texas and fish some quality lakes like Falcon and Amistad in Del Rio. Amistad was one of the lakes I just couldn’t get enough of. Clear water where the bass could see my jerk bait from a long distance. The water was always very clear with grass growing as deep as 20 feet. Of all the lakes in Texas this is my pick.
When we left Texas we’d drive all the way across the country to California where Clear Lake was the best place for me. The scenery and water was spectacular and it holds some very large bass. The only thing wrong with Clear Lake was it was a long way from Lake Okeechobee.
Once done in California we would work our way back to the south and fish some nice lakes in Alabama, Georgia and eventually turn north for the summer. Going north in the summer was something Deb and I always looked forward too. We always thought the best job in the world would be guiding anglers on the Big ‘O’ in the winter and guiding the Great Lakes in the summer where you didn’t need air-conditioning. Two of my favorite northern lakes are Lake Erie where you can fish from three different states and Lake Champlain which borders both New York and Vermont.
These are very large lakes and can be fished like we fish here on Lake Okeechobee. They have clear water and have large areas of shallow grass. Champlain is a lake where you can catch bass in a lot of different ways including; flipping grass, frog fishing, top water fishing, and even drop-shot fishing deep water. If I had to pick a lake other than Lake Okeechobee it would be Lake Champlain, just not in the winter. Ice fishing is not my thing. I have a friend Tim Erwin from Tennessee, who played tackle for the Minnesota Vikings for fourteen years, and he once told me that ice fishing was for people whose wives wouldn’t let them drink at home. Lake Champlain is a great destination and you can fish it from many different areas.
A word of advice, if you visit any of these destinations you need to check all the regulations, for instance Lake Champlain borders two states and each state has very different laws. Vermont doesn’t allow the use of lead weights but they are ok to use in New York. Also seasonal dates and size limits for black bass can vary both within the state and between the states. Within New York State both the season start date and the size limit of black bass varies among the different regions-lakes of the state so make sure you check out all the regulations and licenses required. If fishing the St Lawrence River in the 10,000 Islands area, you may need a Canadian fishing license and don’t forget your passport.
Give me one lake to fish year around it would have to be Lake Okeechobee. Even with the heat and humidity our summer time fishing is better than any lake in the country and we all know how good it is during the winter. The one thing I miss the most about not competing on the tours is not getting to visit these great fishing lakes, but on the positive side I get to fish Lake Okeechobee almost every day and produce a great radio show with Deb, my best friend. Deb misses the traveling more than I do, she is the daughter of a truck driver everyone called Hoppy and she was fearless when it came to travelling, a good combination.
For more information on the fishing or a guided trip of a lifetime, catch Hooked up with Steve & Deb, the Voice of Okeechobee fishing on: RenoviolaOutdoors.com Friday 4-6:pm and Saturday & Sunday at 10-12 noon EST; WOKC.com, 100.9fm on Saturday 5-7:am; and wafcamfm.com 100.5fm on Sundays 5-7:am. Or visit our website at www.OkeechobeeProSteveDaniel.com. Telephone (239) 560.2704