Cape cod: new england houses

The 20 Best Places to Fish in the US

Do you know that there are an estimated 3,500,000,000,000 (3.5 trillion) fish in the ocean and other water bodies? This means that there are 500 fish to every human. These trillions of fish can be categorized into 33,600 species.

So, if you want to go fishing, there are literally plenty of fish in the sea. But there is still one question you need to answer. Where are the best places to fish in the US?

The answers to this question are as many as the fish in the ocean. Therefore, we don’t want to pretend that the list we have here is definitive. However, we hope it gives you an idea of what to consider if you are looking for a great place to go fishing in the US.

While the list may not be exhaustive, it is also not random. We have taken some time to find the best places that editors of some of the most common fishing resources have recommended in each category we cover.

1. Alaska: the Best Fishing State in the US

Brown bear watches salmon leaping towards it

Alaska is known as the top “fishcation” in the US for a reason. Writing for Newsweek.com, Amancay Tapia agrees: “Alaska is well known for its salmon, and Alaskan waters are swarming with 600 species of fish, including the king salmon (also known as Chinook).”

What makes Alaska the best fishing state in the US? The state has 6,640 miles of coastline, which is longer than the shorelines of all the other 49 states combined. No wonder the state boasts so many fish species.   

2. Table Rock Lake: Best Freshwater Fishing in the US

Small rocky island and view of Table Rock at Lake Oolenoy, Table

Stephen Yost of Men’s Journal proposes that Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri is the number one freshwater fishing spot in the US.

How does he support such a bold claim? “It contains abundant numbers of largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass,” he notes.

Yost believes that what makes the lake great is the fact that its fish are carefully managed, which increases the fish population in the area. No wonder both amateur and professional anglers congregate at the lake.

If you want to go fishing here, Yost has some advice. “Since the water is clear most of the year, smaller natural baits work best. Fish get a better look at the bait when the water is clear, so you want it to look as natural as possible.”

3. Detroit River: Best Place to Catch Big Fish in the US

Depositphotos_stock-photo-officehotel-complex-detroit-river.html

If you want to catch a big fish, where do you go? You go to the place where other big fish have been caught. In America, that place is the Detroit River.

According to an article published by the Washington Post, a group of researchers caught a monster fish there in 2021 that they believed was around 100 years old. The article describes the fish as a “240-pound lake sturgeon, a 6-foot 10-inch female.”

The fish was later released into the waters of the Detroit River.

4. Florida: Best Saltwater Fishing in the US

Miami Beach Intercoastal Waterway View

When WorldPopulationReview.com names the state with the best fishing lakes in the US, it makes a clear statement: “Florida is the best state for saltwater fishing.”

The website states its reasons for nominating Florida:

  • Excellent weather conditions for fishing.
  • Rare species and quantities sought by anglers.
  • The state is blessed with “countless rivers, swamps, canals, lakes, and ponds to catch a large variety of other fish.”
  • It’s the home of the Florida Keys, one of the best fishing destinations in the US.  

5. Cape Cod: Best Deep-Sea Fishing Spot

Cape cod: new england houses

The World Atlas names Cape Cod in Massachusetts as the number 1 deep sea fishing spot in the US. The same source reports that this fishing destination is not just popular in the US but across the world.

Describing Cape Cod, WorldAtlas.com promises anglers, “It is a haven for beginner and expert anglers.” It invites anyone who wants to go fishing to “Go east into the Atlantic Ocean and fill your boat with bluefin tuna; you may even get the chance to see porpoises and whales in the waters nearby.”

6. Nebraska: Best Year-Round Fishing Spot in the US

Nebraska welcome road sign

If any time is fishing time for you, then you need to head over to Nebraska’s many lakes and water bodies that will allow you to fish any time of the year.

FishAnyWhere.com names some of the most popular fishing spots in Nebraska:

  • Lake McConaughy: The deep and clear lake is well known for its walleye.
  • Johnson Lake: Also known for having a massive population of walleye.
  • Holmes Lake: This is a family-friendly fishing spot for both rookie and seasoned anglers.

7. Brown County State Park: Best Summer Fishing Spot in the US

Fall Colors in the Midwest

Brown County State Park is the largest park in Indiana and home to some of the most breathtaking landmarks. Reserveamerica.com names the park as the number one summer fishing destination in the US.

If you are still wondering whether this is the place you should be heading out to this summer, you probably haven’t seen this invite.

It says, “Come fall in love with beautiful Brown County State Park! Enjoy the Inn (with restaurant and aquatic center), cabins, camping, swimming pools, horseback riding, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and lots more outdoor fun.”

8. Florida: The US Fishing Capital

florida writing

Yes, we have already said that Alaska is the best fishing destination in the US, but who says that the best has to be the capital?

When it comes to the US fishing capital, VisitFlorida.com is clear that the title belongs to none other than Florida.

The site supports its claim: “Florida is the ‘Fishing Capital of the World’ because of its great resources and responsible management.”

The site adds, “The diversity of sport fishes, habitats, great weather, year-round fishing, and superb tourism and fishing industry-related infrastructure are unsurpassed.”

9. Colorado River: The Most Beautiful Place to Fish in the US

Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River near Page, Aerial view - Ar

Theadventourist.com has put together a list of what it calls the “7 Most Beautiful Places to Fish in the USA.”

The Colorado River occupies the number one spot on this list. Supporting its choice, Theadventourist.com says, “The Colorado River is a wide and slow-moving river with many sections and is home to a flourishing population of brown and rainbow trout.”

Theadventourist.com also notes that “The beautiful Glenwood Canyon provides an ideal spot for bank fishing, and the recreational path makes it easy to fish across any section of the river.”    

10. Clear Lake: Best Bass Fishing Lake

Aerial shot of Clear lake in California

For USAngler.com, the winner of the best bass fishing lake in the US is California’s Clear Lake.

The website suggests that the huge bass population at the Clear Lake can be attributed to the “unbeatable habitat for largemouth bass as well as a climate that induces fast growth rates and high replacement.”

11. Roscoe: Best Place for Fly Fishing in the US

Roscoe Conkling Park

The supplier of hand-tied flies, Drifthook.com, names Roscoe, New York number one in the top 25 places to catch large trout fly fishing in America.

The place even has the nickname Trout Town. The great thing about Roscoe is its proximity to New York.

Even though the town is well known for fishing, Roscoeny.com reminds visitors, “fishing is great, but we have so much more to offer.” So, when you are done with fishing, the town will offer you outstanding cuisine, beer, and shopping.  

12. Frying Pan River: Best Place to Catch Trout in the US

If you are looking for the best destination to catch trout, Max DesMarais of Hikingandfishing.com suggests you should be heading for the Frying Pan River.

DesMarais reports that the river keeps big trout, sometimes exceeding 15 pounds, right through the year. If you want to fish in the winter, you will be glad to know that the tailwater will not completely freeze over.

13. Grenada Lake: Best Trophy Crappie Fishing Area in the US

Wired2Fish.com editors named the Mississippi’s Grenada Lake the “undisputed No. 1” in trophy crappie fishing.

The great thing about Grenada Lake is that it’s not just a fishing destination; it has many other activities, including tennis courts, a fitness trail, boating and picnicking, and a visitor center.

The variety of activities makes this destination appealing for the whole family, even those who may not be so keen on fishing.

14. Florida: Best Shark Fishing Destination in the US

If you have the adrenaline, energy, strength, and tenacity to go shark fishing, LiveOutdoors.com suggests that the vast coastline of Florida is the place where you should be.

LiveOutdoors.com says that it proposes Florida not just because it has the highest population of sharks in the US but also because of the impressive variety.

The same source advises that “The key to finding the best locations at any given time is to do your research and monitor what areas are hot during the time you want to fish.”

15. Mississippi River Basin: Best Carp Angling Destination in the US

Barge on Mississippi.

If you are planning to fish for carp, then you need to look in the direction of freshwater bodies.

Even though carp can be found in almost all rivers in the US, their numbers are large in the Mississippi River basin, where the US National Park Services says they have been growing exponentially since their introduction in the 1970s.

The US National Park Services warns anyone fishing for carp, “Silver carp are known to jump out of the water to escape threats. This behavior, by such large fish, can injure boaters, skiers, and damage boats and onboard equipment.”

16. St. Thomas: Best Billfish Spot in the US

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands - May 16, 2016: The people at Caribbean tropical beach Morning Star

South American countries, including Guatemala, Panama, and Mexico, have an abundance of billfish. Many people will head to those countries if they want to catch this kind of fish.

However, if you want to remain in US territory and still catch your billfish, SaltWaterSportsman.com suggests that St. Thomas, in the US Virgin Islands, would be a great place to visit. The site advises that the summer months are the best time for fishing in the area.   

17. Lake Oahe: Best Place to Fish for Salmon in the US

Salmonfacts.org “is an online resource where visitors can learn about all aspects of salmon species, and their role in both ecology and as a food source.” The site has Lake Oahe in South Dakota as its top spot for salmon fishing.

If this is too far from you, Salmonfacts.org names other top destinations, including West Branch Penobscot River, Maine; Bristol Bay, Alaska; Lake Ontario, New York: Merrymeeting River, New Hampshire; and Wind River, Washington.

18. Key West: Best Fishing Destination for New Comers in the US

Sunset at Key West with sailing boat

If you are new to angling, CBSNews.com suggests that you go to Key West, Florida. The news provider says, “Newcomers to fishing might not catch a world record, but they can enjoy prime offshore spots like Dry Tortugas and the Marquesas Keys for a chance to catch a variety of prized game fish, such as mahi-mahi, swordfish, and blackfin tuna.”

If you take CBSNews.com’s suggestion seriously and indeed head over to Key West, reserve some money for a charter boat because you may need it to access the many inshore fishing spots.  

19. The Colorado Rocky Mountains: Best Place for Fishing with Family in the US

Ask anyone who’s gone fishing with the whole family, and they will tell you that there is nothing better. However, if you want to find a great fishing destination for the family, always remember to identify a spot that caters to the different tastes of your family members.

For the mom of three and owner of the LittleFamilyAdventure.com, the best place to go fishing with the whole family is the Colorado Rocky Mountains. She suggests this area because it has some of the top rivers, including the Colorado River, Gunnison River, South Platte River, and Eagle River.

20. Long Island Sound: Best Place to Fish in a Boat

Small rocky island and view of Table Rock at Lake Oolenoy, Table

Takemefishing.org names Long Island Sound, Connecticut/New York on the list of its top East Coast boating areas in the US.

Takemefishing.org notes, “Connecticut’s rivers and its irregular rocky shoreline provide numerous inlets and harbors and great access to Long Island Sound.”   

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