World’s Greatest Lakes by Square Miles (Best Fishing Locations)

  • Jun 29, 2020
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Ever wonder what are the largest lakes in the world? We’ve tallied the ten biggest lakes in the world and added interesting facts below.

Each of the world’s largest lakes is ranked by surface area, so it does not consider depth.

Best Fishing Spots in the World (Inshore and Offshore Destinations)Best Winter Fly Fishing Destinations (Our Favorites)

The 10 largest lakes in the world

RankLakeCountryLocationArea (in sq miles)
1Caspian SeaIran/Soviet UnionSouthwest Asia169,000
2Lake SuperiorCanada/United StatesGreat Lakes31,280
3Lake VictoriaKenya/Tanzania/
Uganda
East Africa26,828
4Aral SeaSoviet UnionWestern Turkestan26,166
5Lake HuronCanada/United StatesGreat Lakes23,010
6Lake MichiganUnited StatesGreat Lakes22,400
7Lake BaikalSoviet UnionSouthern Siberia13,200
8Great Bear LakeCanadaCentral Mackenzie District12,800
9Lake TanganyikaBurundi/Zaire/
Zambia/Tanzania
Central Africa12,700
10Great Slave LakeCanadaSouthern Mckenzie District11,172
* (rated by surface area in square miles)

World’s Largest Lakes

The world’s greatest lakes by square miles offer some of the biggest and most varied fishing opportunities. Below, we will take a look at these massive lakes in further detail, providing an insight into fishing in these famous areas. So, let’s take a look.

Caspian Sea

Caspian Sea Largest Lake in the World

The Caspian Sea is the biggest inland body of water on Earth. This makes it first on our list of the largest lakes in the world. It lies at the junction of Asia and Europe, with the steppes of Central Asia to the east and the Caucasus Mountains to west. It is bordered by Kazakhstan to the northeast, Turkmenistan to the southeast, Iran to the south, Azerbaijan to the west, and Russia to the northwest. 

As it is such a massive lake, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that it has three distinct regions. The north is a low-lying coastal plain, which is humid, hot, and sandy. It has the shallowest water in the Caspian, approximately 15 feet. 

The Middle Caspian plunges to depths of approximately 623 feet. The shores here are hilly. 

The Southern Caspian holds most of the water, reaching depths over 3280 feet. The shores are lined with outcroppings and cliffs overlooking the water where the Persian elites usually build homes. 

The Caspian Sea has only recently opened up to luxury cruising and fishing charters. The five countries that shared the body of water have not been able to agree on a lot of things over the years. They couldn’t decide whether the Caspian was a sea or lake for a long, long time!

However, international law has meant that the seabed has been divided according to each country’s coastline. This has led to a number of fishing charters starting up, especially in Kazakhstan, with the longest shoreline.

The area is home to the Caspian Salmon and Caspian Bream, as well as historically being a haven for Sturgeon. However, this fish has become endangered and so fishing for Sturgeon is not permitted at present. 

Lake Superior

Lake Superior Second Largest Lake in the World

Often described as an angler’s dream, there is a lot to love about Lake Superior. 

The lake is fed by over 200 rivers, sharing its borders with Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Ontario. Furthermore, it’s second in our list of the world’s largest lakes.

As the lake is so expansive, you’re going to need to have a plan of action before fishing here.

Here are some of the best places to go fishing at Lake Superior:

Isle Royale, Michigan

Let’s kick things off with a truly unique fishing experience. You will need to take a ferry to reach Grand Portage if you want to explore Isle Royale. The island is 45 miles wide and contains 450 smaller surrounding islands. Although the island is a state park, there are still some full-time residents here. You can catch some pretty big Lake Trout here, with June, July, and August being the most popular months. 

Ashland, Wisconsin

You will find this port town in the Northern section of Wisconsin. Many anglers tend to head here at the start of May, as this is when the Bass season begins. Regulations enable Bass anglers to keep one Bass of 22 inches or better. 

Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

This is a port town located on the upper peninsula of Michigan, at the northeastern end. Fishing the weedy areas around Izaak Walton and Waiska bays are highly popular with summer anglers. You can expect excellent fishing for Whitefish, Northerns, and Walleye during June and July. 

As the lake is so big, the fish you can catch will depend on where you are fishing. However, some of the most common species include Walleye, Smallmouth Bass, Salmon, and Lake Trout. 

Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria Third Largest Lake in the World

Next, we have the biggest lake in Africa, Lake Victoria. This places it third on our list of the largest lakes in the world. It is also known as Victoria Nyanza. 

Lake Victoria is the Nile’s chief reservoir, bordering on Kenya but mainly lying in Uganda and Tanzania. 

The lake is an irregular quadrilateral shape, with the shores being deeply indented, aside from the west. There are a lot of archipelagos within the lake, as well as a number of reefs. 

There are many different fishing opportunities here, as there are over 200 species of fish. 

Lake Victoria gives you the ability to hook the Nile Perch, one of the world’s biggest freshwater fish. This is enough to get any keen angler excited! Nile Perch range from eight to 80 kg in weight. The primary method of fishing is trolling with lures. 

Aral Sea

If you have read anything about the Aral Sea online as of late, you will know that the main concern is that the lake has dried up.

Although the Aral Sea was once the fourth biggest lake in the world, this is no longer the case. The lake’s demise had devastating consequences, with the fisheries and the communities that relied on them collapsing as well. 

The problems influencing this vast body of water seemed to get bigger and bigger. Pesticides and fertilizer polluted the increasingly salty water. A public health hazard arose because of dust blowing from the exposed lakebed, which was contaminated with agricultural chemicals. 

If you take a look at the photos NASA took of the lake in 2014, you’ll be amazed to see that what was once a thriving lake ended up bone dry.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. In Kazakhstan, the North Aral Sea has been revived, with the economy and water returning to Aralsk. However, in Uzbekistan, the South Aral Sea is virtually desiccated. 

Lake Huron

Lake Huron Fifth Largest Lake in the World

In recent years, there has been a revitalization of Lake Huron, resulting in bigger fish and a greater number of fishing opportunities.  Lake Huron is fifth on our list of world’s largest lakes.

Some of the best shorelines and boat launching areas can be found at:

Grindstone City/Port Austin, Michigan

There is only one place to begin, and this is with the city that plays home to some of the most stunning sandy beaches in Michigan. A lot of people fish for Whitefish in this area, with local experts advising anglers to use the lightest line possible. If you choose anything bigger than a 12-pound leader, you’re not even going to feel a nibble.

Detour, Michigan

This is a small town with less than 1,000 people living here. It is located right on the top of the Upper Peninsula, almost touching the mainland of Michigan. To the south of the town, there is Lake Huron, and to the North, there is also excellent fishing at St. Marys River. You can find a huge number of fishing opportunities here thanks to an ongoing stocking program of Atlantic salmon

Rogers City, Michigan

Rogers City is a town that is situated right on Lake Huron. Two Salmon fishing tournaments take place here throughout the year. There is also an abundance of maritime and fishing museums, so commercial fishing and boating is a huge part of the city’s history. Throughout the summer, fishing for Walleye and Salmon is incredibly popular. 

Stokes Bay, Ontario

Finally, Stokes Bay is a popular vacation spot in the summer for people looking to take boats out on the water and rent a cottage. You will find an abundance of Smallmouth Bass throughout the warmer months.  

We’ve given you a glimpse of the sort of species you can expect to catch here. However, this great lake offers plenty of species of fish, both stocked and native.

Sockeye Salmon Kenia

Whitefish, Walleye, and Lake Trout were almost wiped out at one point because of overfishing. However, Salmon and Trout have been brought back to Lake Huron over the past decade due to local stocking.

You can expect to find most warm-water fish, including Rock Bass, Pumpkinseed, Smallies, Perch, Sturgeon, and Walleye. The cold water species tend to include Bloaters, Salmon, Whitefish, and Lake Trout. 

Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan Sixth Largest Lake in the World

Lake Michigan is sixth on our list of largest lakes in the world and is the third-largest of the Great Lakes. 

It is bordered by Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois, and it is the only Great Lake that is situated wholly within the U.S. borders. 

There are lots of different fishing opportunities here, including:

  • Walleye
  • Largemouth bass
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Brown trout
  • Lake trout
  • Rainbow trout
  • Chinook salmon
  • Perch
  • Coho salmon
  • Steelhead

There are also a lot of exciting fishing areas across Lake Michigan. This includes Escanaba, a port city that can be found in the upper peninsula on Little Bay de Noc. You can expect to catch Chinook and Brown Trout here. However, it is Walleye that are the stars of the show. Using minnows and jigs along the drop-offs is advised here.

Another part of Lake Michigan that comes highly recommended is the town of Manistique. This is widely regarded as the best place to find large chinook across the lake. There are often reports of chinook weighing as much as 20 and 30 pounds, and sometimes even more!

Other areas worth mentioning include Milwaukee Harbor, Pentwater, Ludington, Manistee, and Traverse City. The latter is home to Old Mission Peninsula, which is a semi-protected bay. This makes fishing here a real treat, as the bay is not heavily fished, yet it is well-stocked; the perfect combination.

Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal Seventh Largest Lake in the World

Lake Baikal is another expansive lake, covering more than 13,000 square miles. It is also seventh on our list of the world’s largest lakes. There are 330 tributary rivers that join the lake, ensuring some unique fishing opportunities. 

This is highlighted by the fact that there are 52 different species of fish within Lake Baikal. The summer fishing season begins on the 20th of May, and it runs until the first snow in October, so there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy what this part of the Soviet Union has to offer.

Most people would agree that the best fishing experiences take place at Baikal’s northern basin. This is part of the lake that cannot be traveled to by land. However, there are some truly fantastic fishing tours here, lasting anywhere from four to 14 days.

It is worth noting that it is illegal to catch Taimen, Grayling, and Lenok between the 25th of April and the 25th of June, as this is the spawning period.

Aside from these three species, which are protected by law, there are plenty of other exciting species. This includes Perch, Pike Whitefish, Baikal Omul, and much more.

Great Bear Lake

You will find Great Bear Lake situated in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Boasting almost 1,700 miles of shoreline, it offers a great fishing experience and some stunning sights as well. Great Bear Lake ranks eighth on our list of the world’s largest lakes.

The landscape is very rugged here, as it is situated at the edge of the Arctic Circle.

As the name indicates, you can see grizzly bears near the lake and muskox, moose, and caribou. 

Grizzly Bear

This lake provides clear waters and a stunning backdrop for an exclusive opportunity to fish for Lake Trout and Arctic Grayling. Other fish you can find here include Northern Pike, Walleye, Lake Whitefish, and Arctic Char. 

Fishing at the Great Bear Lake is a year-round event. In the colder, winter months, ice-fishing dominates this lake. You may be surprised to learn that the lake can be covered with ice for as many as nine months of the year, typically lasting until June. 

Once the ice has thawed out, the next three months become truly incredible, especially if you’re fishing for Lake Trout. These fish actively feed during the summer months, making it the perfect opportunity for you to hook a trophy. 

Not only are the fishing opportunities varied here, but the fish tend to be big. The abundance of fish and the sheer size of them is impressive! 

Like in the majority of cold arctic lakes, the process of regeneration here is slow, with fish like the Lake Trout often living for as long as 25 years or more.

Lake Tanganyika

Lake Tanganyika is an African Great Lake. It is also the world’s second-oldest freshwater lake, second-deepest, and second-largest by volume. Above all, it’s ninth on our list of the world’s largest lakes. Only Lake Baikal snatches the top spot ahead of Tanganyika in these categories. 

The lake is shared between four countries; Zambia, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Tanzania. Tanzania currently possesses around 46 percent of the lake, whereas DRC possesses 40 percent.

Major fishery is supported by this lake, which provides a considerable percent of the diet of the people living in the area. At the moment, there are approximately 100,000 people that are involved with the operation of fisheries directly. This takes place from almost 800 sites. 

The main type of fish that is caught here is a fish known locally as the “migebuka.”

Great Slave Lake

Finally, we have the incredible Great Slave Lake, situated in the Northwest Territories of Canada. The lake is well-known for Northern Pike fishing, Whitefish, Arctic Grayling, and Lake Trout Fishing.

Northern Pike Fishing

The western shores around Great Slave Lake are heavily wooded. The long north and east arms meet up with the icy tundra. This makes it a magical place for fishing, with some of the most breathtaking scenery. 

Interestingly, during the winter months, the lake freezes enough for large trucks to drive across it. In fact, goods were shipped across the ice to Yellowknife until 1967. After this time, a highway was built around the lake for all of the seasons. 

But, back to the fish! You are guaranteed a good time if Arctic Grayling is your species of choice. This is one of the most stunning freshwater fish, with anglers frequently catching between two and four-pounders all season. 

You will also find an abundance of Northern Pike here, which provide excellent sport throughout the entire season. They lurk, awaiting the angler in shallow rivers, creeks, and bays. Generally, pike here tends to weigh between five and 15 pounds. However, there have been numerous occasions whereby a pike between 25 and 30 pounds have been caught. 

However, we would have to say that “lakers” provide the greatest experience. This surface-fighting species has to be seen to be believed. The record here for this fish is 59-and-a-half pounds, with people often catching between 30 and 40 pounders on a regular basis. Their behavior at the end of the line and their fighting qualities are often compared to the brook trout. So, you can be sure that you are in for a fun and exciting experience, which is what fishing is all about, right?

World’s Largest Lakes Summary

So there you have it: an insight into the world’s greatest lakes by square miles. If you are looking for a unique fishing opportunity, you won’t be disappointed with one of these lakes. Big in size, they provide varied fishing opportunities, ensuring there is something for everyone to enjoy!

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