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Bass Fishing In Pennsylvania

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Guide to fishing for smallmouth and largemouth bass in PA.

By Rick Seaman

Bass fishing At Daybreak

Pennsylvania Bass Fishing

Bass fishing lures

The purpose of this page is to share basic information about bass fishing and bass lakes in the state. Bass are one of the most sought after of all the game fish. Its appeal spans cultures, age groups and genders to tap on the heart strings of anglers everywhere.

Bass fishing in Pennsylvania is a beloved pursuit, cherished by anglers of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels. Few experiences rival the thrill of hooking into a largemouth or smallmouth bass, making it a timeless pastime that transcends cultural boundaries. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a novice angler eager to learn the ropes, mastering the art of bass fishing can be immensely rewarding. That's why this page is dedicated to offering invaluable insights and tips on bass fishing, providing a comprehensive guide on everything from bass fishing techniques to essential bass-catching strategies. Whether you're seeking advice on selecting the perfect lure or honing your casting skills, we're here to equip you with the knowledge and expertise needed to excel on the water. Dive into our wealth of information to discover the secrets of successful bass fishing and unlock the full potential of your angling endeavors.

Bass Fishing Favorites

Largemouth Bass Fishing In Pennsylvania

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass are the most abundant, and most pursued bass in Pennsylvania. They are available in most warm-water lakes in the state, they tend to thrive in most water conditions and grow to bragging size in relative short order. Often called big mouth bass, or wide mouth bass, they are savvy predators that feed on most things that live in their territory. Bass in the 5 to 10-pound range are common in Pennsylvania. The state record largemouth bass is over pounds.

Finding & Catching Bigmouth Bass

Anglers can target big mouth bass in various lakes, reservoirs, and rivers. Spring and early summer are typically the best seasons for targeting largemouth bass as they are more active and feeding in the shallows near shoreline cover. Start with topwater baits, as they cover the water most efficiently. Reaction baits like crankbaits and spinnerbaits are the next choice. For finicky bass, plastic worms and jigs may entice a bite as you can move them very slowly around cover. In the heat of summer and the cold of winter bass move to deeper water, usually following the baitfish. Jigs, drop shot rigs and spoons are a good approach for bass holding in deep water. Vary your retrieve speed and action to find what the bass like today!

Fisheries like Lake Erie, Raystown Lake, Lake Arthur, and the Susquehanna River are renowned for their trophy-sized bass. Anglers can target these elusive fish using a variety of techniques, including topwater lures, plastic worms, jigs, and crankbaits.

Smallmouth Bass In Pennsylvania

Smallmouth Bass

While smallmouth bass don't grow as large as their cousin the largemouth, they make up the difference with tenacious fights. Known for long battles and spectacular jumps, smallies grow fat and strong but rarely exceed ten pounds. Their range and locations are often with or nearby the largemouths. The AZ state record smallmouth bass is over 8 pounds.

The state boasts world-class smallmouth bass fisheries, with notable destinations such as the Susquehanna River, Juniata River, Delaware River, and the Allegheny River. Anglers can test their skills in targeting smallmouth bass using techniques such as finesse fishing with soft plastics, crankbaits, jerkbaits, and spinnerbaits.

Pennsylvania has a long history of producing impressive bass catches, with several state records that stand as testaments to the quality of bass fishing in the state. As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, the state record for largemouth bass is a whopping 11 pounds, 3 ounces, caught in Birch Run Reservoir in 1984. The state record for smallmouth bass stands at 8 pounds, 8 ounces, caught in Lake Erie in 1997. These records highlight the potential for anglers to encounter trophy-sized bass and the excitement that comes with pursuing these remarkable fish.

Bass fishing in Pennsylvania offers not only the thrill of the chase but also the opportunity to explore the state's scenic waterways and immerse oneself in nature. Whether casting a line in a tranquil lake or battling the currents of a river, bass fishing in Pennsylvania provides anglers with unforgettable experiences and the chance to create lasting memories.

Bass fishing basics video.

Best Bass Fishing Lakes In Pennsylvania

The major lakes in PA with healthy populations of bass include Allegheny Reservoir, Blue Marsh Lake, Cross Creek Lake, East Branch Lake, Foster Joseph Sayers Lake, Glendale Lake, Green Lick Reservoir, Hammond Lake, High Point Reservoir, Kahle Lake, Lackawanna Lake, Lake Arthur, Lake Nockamixon, Lake Wallenpaupack, Marsh Creek Lake, Octoraro Lake, Pymatuning Lake, Raystown Lake, Shawnee Lake, Shenango River Lake, Tamarack Lake, Yellow Creek Lake and Youghiogheny River Lake. Many other small lakes, rivers and ponds also hold bass.

Smallmouth Rivers

Allegheny River, Clarion River, Delaware River, French Creek, Juniata River, Susquehanna River and Youghiogheny River.

Fishing Boats For Rent In Pennsylvania

Bass In Pennsylvania

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass

World record: 22 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 11 lbs 3 oz

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass

World record: 11 lbs 15 oz

State Record: 8 lbs 8 oz

Click the images and links above for species details.

Top 5 bass fishing lures for Pennsylvania this year

When bass are shallow, spinnerbaits, crankbaits and stickbaits are the most productive. As they move deeper, worms and jigs are among the top producers.

The state record largemouth bass was caught out of Birch Run Reservoir.

Scotts Run Lake gave up the state record smallmouth bass.

Understanding the primary seasonal movements of smallmouth bass and largemouth bass is key to locating them on local lakes in the Keystone State. Visit the Bass Knowledge Center for additional, valuable information about bass and bass fishing. Join us in our endeavor to offer information about bass fishing on your favorite bass lake in Pennsylvania.

Catch big bass!

Bass fishing book


Bass fishing information by state.

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IL Bass Fishing IN Bass Fishing KS Bass Fishing KY Bass Fishing LA Bass Fishing MA Bass Fishing MD Bass Fishing ME Bass Fishing MI Bass Fishing MN Bass Fishing MO Bass Fishing MS Bass Fishing MT Bass Fishing
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The lifecycle of bass

The more you know about the seasonal migration of bass, the more likely you are to be looking in the right area next time you visit Pennsylvania bass fishing lakes. Visit the bass fishing page for more in-depth information about bass activities.