Table Rock Lake, Missouri
Credit: Per Breiehagen / Getty Images

Spring and winter are great times to go to Table Rock, an impossibly clear-watered manmade lake that's home to smallmouth, spotted, white and largemouth bass (along with crappie, catfish and bluegills). "Big Cedar Lodge, right on the shores of the lake, might be the best fishing resort in the United States," says VanDam. In addition to being located in the heart of the Ozarks, it's also the home lake of one of fishing's biggest retailers,Bass Pro Shops. "It's just one of those special places in fishing where the scenery, activities, and fishing are all first rate," says Van Dam. It's also close to the Vegas-lite mid-western mecca Branson, so you can end your fishing foray with the comedic stylings of legendary funnyman and resident Yakov Smirnoff.