This will probably come as a surprise to Tommy Quinzi Jr., but according to Bassmaster Magazine Lake Erie ain't what it used to be.
Just a few weeks back Quinzi Jr., from Rochester, unofficially matched the state record with an 8 1/4-pound smallmouth bass while fishing off Buffalo with Capt. Jim Hanley. That lunker, which yanked the digital scale at 8.26 pounds, highlighted an outing filled with highlights. They also boated a smallie of more than 7 pounds, five of more than 6 pounds and another 11 of at least 5 pounds.
"Our best 20 weighed well more than 100 pounds – my best ever," Hanley wrote June 5 in A Sportsman's Tale.
Yet in its newly released list of America's Top 100 bass fishing lakes, Bassmaster dropped Buffalo's natural air conditioner three spots in its rankings. In 2016, Lake Erie within 30 miles of Buffalo ranked fourth-best in the country. This year it's No. 7.
Mille Lacs Lake, located 100 miles north of Minneapolis-St. Paul, vaulted from No. 6 to No. 1 based partly on the impressive takes in last September's Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship.
"Had that been a four-day event, eventually winner Seth Feider may have topped the 100-pound mark with smallmouth, a feat that has never, ever happened before," Bassmaster editor James Hall said via a news release.
Granted, Hanley's boat carried multiple anglers, but 100 pounds spread over 20 fish in one day is the stuff of dreams (20 fish would be a four-day limit for one angler).
Before WNY fishermen grow indignant, let's make it clear that Bassmaster allowed Lake Erie within 30 miles of Buffalo to remain as the No. 1 bass fishing lake in the Northeast.
The Top 12 Nationally
1. Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota
2. Sam Rayburn Resevoir, Texas
3. Clear Lake, California
4. Shearon Harris Lake, North Carolina
5. Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, California
6. Lake Berryessa, California
7. Lake Erie, New York (30-mile radius from Buffalo)
8. Santee Cooper Lakes, Marion and Moultrie, South Carolina
9. Lake St. Clair, Michigan
10. Falcon Lake, Texas
11. Thousand Islands, (St. Lawrence River), New York
12. Chickanauga Lake, Tennessee
The Top 15 in the Northeast
1. Lake Erie, New York
2. Lake St. Clair, Michigan
3. Thousand Island, New York
4. Lake Erie, Ohio (30-mile radius of Sandusky)
5. Lake Champlain, New York/Vermont
6. Saginaw Bay, Michigan
7. Grand Traverse Bay, Michigan
8. Burt/Mullett lake, Michigan
9. Bays de Noc, Michigan
10. Lake Charlevoix, Michigan
11. Cayuga Lake, New York
12. Oneida Lake, New York
13. China Lake, Maine
14. Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia
15. Webber Pond, Maine
Bassmaster's 100 Best Bass Lakes will be published in its July/August issue of Bassmaster Magazine and included on Bassmaster.com.