No list of America's prominent bass lakes can be complete without including Lake Mead, the 163,000-acre Colorado River impoundment 25 miles southeast of Las Vegas. Ray Scott conducted the first Bassmaster Classic here in 1971, and although BASS has revisited the lake only four times since, Mead remains a favorite destination for traveling anglers.
Those fishing Mead today, however, will find conditions quite different than the anglers casting during the first Classic. Continuing drought and heavy water demand from the river have reduced the reservoir by at least 40 percent, to around 95,000 acres, leaving the lake at least 75 feet low.
"That still leaves a lot of water for fishing," explains veteran Mead guide Pat Donoho, who's been fishing the lake since 1971, "but some famous areas of the lake like the Virgin River are nearly dry now. Mead has been going down steadily for the past several years, and it has changed the way we fish."
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