Microplastics pollution is an environmental issue of increasing concern. Much work has been done on the microplastics pollution in the marine environments. Although freshwaters are potential sources and transport pathways of plastic debris to the oceans, there is a lack of knowledge regarding the presence of microplastics in freshwater systems, especially in China, the world's largest producer of plastics. This study investigated the occurrence and properties of microplastics in surface waters of two important lakes in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River. The concentration ranges of microplastics in Dongting Lake and Hong Lake were 900–2800 and 1250–4650 n/m3, respectively. Fiber was the dominant shape. Colored items occupied the majority. Particles with a size of <330 μm comprised >20% of total microplastics collected in both lakes. Most of the selected particles were identified as plastics, with polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) being the major components. This study can provide valuable reference for better understanding the microplastics pollution in inland freshwater ecosystems.