by Tim Huffman
The top lakes list considers history, tournament results and input from experts. A lot of research was done, but no list is perfect because every fisherman puts different importance on each factor (fish size, fish numbers, ease-of-fishing/navigation, accommodations, etc.). However, every lake in the top 50 should be a great destination/fishing trip in 2021.
1. Grenada Lake MS An overwhelming number one pick again. It’s the best lake for shot at a
3-pound slab crappie. Prime time is March thru mid-April.
2. D’Arbonne, LA The lake is rated the #1 lake for catching large numbers of good crappie
between 1.25 to 2.25-pounds with a few big kickers likely. It offers waters for
3. Lake Fork, TX A great southern lake for one-pole vertical jigging. It has good numbers
and the crappie are big.
4. Santee Cooper SC Marion and Moultrie total 170,000 acres, with unique wooly swamps to
wide open water with ledges and submerged wood. Numbers are good and trophy
fish are common.
5. Alabama River, AL A hit-or-miss water because of river fluctuations and current, but when
right, there are few waters more fun or productive than this river.
6. St. John’s River, FL Number one for prettiest scenery and abundant wildlife. Fish are
beautiful, tinted black crappie you can catch while watching a gator or
manatee. Bucket list trip for December thru February.
7. Sardis MS A fantastic lake for catching numbers of fish with plenty over the
12-inch length limit. Long-lining, power trolling and LiveScoping are good
8. Millwood Lake, AR A sleeper lake that has a history of producing big slab crappie. The
lake features a lot of visible and submerged wood…perfect crappie habitat.
9. Clear Lake, CA Best crappie lake in the West. It’s a big-fish lake producing a lot of two- and three-pounders, and a state record 4.33-pounder in Feb 2021. A definite Bucket List lake.
10. Washington, MS Heavily pressured, but a fantastic, easy-to-fish lake providing good
numbers and quality crappie.
11. Truman Lake, MO A hot lake for two years! It has plenty of numbers for lots of action
and size has improved. It’s a perfect
one-pole jigging lake.
12. Barnett Reservoir, MS A lake overshadowed by Grenada, but it has
better numbers of fish and produces its share of good slabs.
13. Arklabutla, MS A lake that can be tough fishing and it doesn’t have great numbers, but
the size of crappie are unequalled by any other lake. A monster crappie
14. Weiss Lake, AL A great history and it continues to be a fun lake with plenty of good
fish. Open water trolling and dock shooting are two popular techniques.
15. Jordan, AL Not on everyone’s list, but it’s a good fishery with dock shooting,
casting and long-lining methods being popular.
16. Guntersville, AL
17. Kentucky Lake, KY/TN
18. Eagle Lake, MS
19. Lake Talquin, FL
20. Barkley, KY/TN
21. Conway, AR
22. Reelfoot, TN
23. Lake of the Pines, TX
24. Enid, MS
25. Dardanelle, AR
26. Cresent Lake, FL
27. Ouachita River, LA
28. Eldorado, KS
29. Eufaula, OK
30. Clarks Hill, GA
31. Neely Henry, GA
32. Lake of the Woods, CAN
33. Harris Lake, SC
34. Wilson, AL
35. Greenwood, SC
36. Murray, SC
37. Palestine, TX
38. Cypress, TX
39. Logan Martin, AL
40. Lake of the Ozarks, MO
41. Kinkaid, IL
42. West Point, GA
43. Oconee Lake, GA
44. Lake Cumberland, KY
45. MS River Oxbows, MS
46. Lake Monroe, IN
47. Pymatuning, PA
48. Okeechobee, FL
49. Rathbun, IA
50. Mosquito, OH
More Good Waters
- Bussey Break Reservoir, LA Only 2200 acres, the new-lake effect has it producing big fish including a 3.6-lb. slab in Jan. 2021.
- Good northern lakes/states just missing the list: Lake Champlain, NY/VT; Candlewood Lake, CT; Shenago Lake, PA and BowString MN. A lake with big crappie , Wilhelm, PA, produced a record 4.02-lb, 20 inch monster under the ice in Feb. 2021.