Are you one of those people who grab a line and hook and head to the pond every time you find some time? Have you been dreaming of going away on a fishing trip that is sure to lead you to a bigger catch? The United States is probably one of the most favourite places to go fishing in. Whether you are looking to fish in a lake, river or the mighty ocean, you would find something special about each and every spot that you pick. After all, it’s not that you’re bored with your local fishing hole, but it’s time that you expand your horizon, spread your wings and fly or in other words swims the unchartered waters.
There is nothing like experiencing the beautiful waters, throwing a line or two and simply pulling at the first bite. Regardless of where you are and what you are looking to catch, the level of excitement is something that is unique to fishing and to fishermen alone.
With everything a fishing trip can amount to be; from the beautiful scenery to the thrill of a catch, if you are looking to expand your horizon, you have come to the right place. We are here with our list of the 30 best destinations for fishing in the US. These trips are sure to make your bucket list and should be the ones that you tick off each year.
Whether you are fishing alone or as a group of friends or family, all you have to do is find the gateway which works best for you and you are on your way to planning your next fishing trip in the states.
Hence without further adieu, here is our list of the 30 best fishing destinations in the US.
1. Anacortes, Washington
The cold waters at Anacortes are beaming with marine life waiting to be caught on your line. The city is located on the island of Fidalgo, which is situated halfway between Seattle and Vancouver.
There are various charters that offer guided fishing trips off of Fidalgo Island. You are sure to make some amazing memories on your fishing trip here and catch something truly special on your line.
You have the chance to catch Pacific Salmon, rockfish, the Dungeness crab and lingcod.
2. Cape May, New Jersey
If you are after deep-sea fishing, then Cape May is sure to be a treat for you. This seaside resort town is well known for the beautiful scenery however is also very popular for deep-sea fishing.
There are various charters at Cape May which will provide you with everything you need for the trip. You can find yourself on a half-day deep-sea fishing excursion, sure to catch some beautiful fish in the spectacular waters of Cape May.
Cape May also has some fabulous beaches, which comes as a bonus to your fishing trip. After spending the day throwing a line in the waters, you can find yourself relaxed on the beach, sipping your favourite beer.
If you would like some guidance on reaching Cape May, follow the link to the location on Google Maps.
3. Ocean City, Maryland
Known as the ‘White Marlin Capital of the World’ the city hosts the yearly White Marlin Open, which is a competition where participants partake in competitive angling in return for large cash prizes.
Whether you are into competitive fishing or would rather like to fish in peace, you are sure to catch some amazing memories on a fishing trip at Ocean City. There are various family-owned charter services that operate on the coast of Ocean City, that will take you on a trip in a spacious boat with a helpful and kind crew.
Even if the fish aren’t biting, you would have the chance to have a glance at nearby dolphins who swim the waters at Ocean City. You even have the chance to go bowfishing with charters like Dusk to Dawn Bowfishing providing you with excellent service through a knowledgeable and helpful guide.
If the fish are biting and you have a good chance they would, you would be able to catch mako, bluefish, yellowfin tuna and many other species on your fishing trip at Ocean City.
If you would like some guidance on reaching the location, follow the link to Ocean City on Google Maps.
4. Saint Joseph, Michigan
Located on the shores of Lake Michigan with the Saint Joseph River winding its way through, Saint Joseph is a hotspot for freshwater fishing.
There are various charters that you can book your trip with that provide the guidance of a reliable captain who knows a little bit and more about salmon fishing. In fact, the staff will help you make a catch on the day. There are some beautiful sunset and river cruises that you can take which makes for some amazing picture opportunities. With a not to missed visit to the St. Joseph Lighthouse found along the shore, you are sure to capture some beautiful pictures.
Lake Michigan is home to some amazing varieties of freshwater fish. You have the chance to catch steelhead, lake trout, brown trout, salmon and coho salmon, all with a line in the waters.
If you would like some direction on reaching the location, follow the link to Saint Joseph on Google Maps.
5. Saint Simons Island, Georgia
There is some beautiful wildlife at Saint Simons Island and the beautiful stretches of sandy beach only adds to the allure of this destination. Deep-sea fishing is very popular at Saint Simons Island.
You can even consider going shark fishing. There are charters like Island Lure Charters, that come with a great amount of experience in catching sharks and have caught ones up to 150 pounds. You are surely in for a treat if you decide to go shark fishing at Saint Simons Island.
There are also various other charters with whom you can book your fishing trip with. Regardless of the fish you catch, you are sure to catch the glimpse of some beautiful local birds like the gannets and the spoonbills. You may even be lucky enough to catch the rare sight of migrating whales.
On your fishing trip at Saint Simons Island, you have the chance to catch snappers, sharks, flounder and red fin.
6. Sitka, Alaska
Known as one of the most beautiful southeast Alaskan cities, Sitka sits with a spectacular mountain range on one side and the beautiful Pacific Ocean on the other. Considered a once in a lifetime opportunity, saltwater fishing at Sitka should definitely be on your bucket list if you are a fishing enthusiast.
There are some amazing catch rates for salmon and halibut which should come as a perk to you.
If you prefer something different, you can even walk away from the open waters and enjoy some beautiful fly fishing opportunities at some picturesque rivers.
7. Orange Beach, Alabama
Home to one of the biggest charter fleets in the Gulf, Orange Beach is home to the largest artificial reef system.
The offshore waters are teeming with game fish such as tuna and billfish. If you prefer inshore fishing, you have the chance to catch pompano, trout and red snapper. You would also find amberjack, red snapper and grouper along the artificial reefs.
You can find yourself in the waters for about five hours at a time and the various charter services will provide you with a reliable captain and crew who would help you along the way.
It isn’t rare to catch a glimpse of sea turtles, sharks and even dolphins in the waters at Orange Beach. You are sure to have a memorable experience here; undoubtedly one that you would be looking to share with your friends.
8. Avalon, Catalina Island, California
This gorgeous small town on Catalina Island is a paradise haven for fishing enthusiasts. There are many coves, reefs and beaches on the island that is home to some of the most beautiful marine life.
You have the chance to spot the famous Catalina flying fish as you would find them launching from the waters. This is a beautiful sight, not to be missed by any visitor to Avalon.
You are sure to find a friendly charter who would take you around the waters in search of beautiful catches of the day, making for a memorable experience not to be missed. Needless to state, this is surely one for the bucket list; aren’t they all?
9. Dana Point, California
Whale watching and dolphins are very popular at Dana Point. Not surprisingly, it is also a great location to go fishing in. There is something for everyone here at Dana Point. Regardless of your age or skill level, you are sure to have an amazing time throwing a line in the waters.
You can charter yourself a boat for a half-day tour. These charter services would even go to extent to share with you some amazing fishing techniques. There are a host of fishing charters to pick from at Dana Point and we’re sure they will do their best to provide everything you need to make the trip a memorable excursion.
You have the chance to catch some tuna, bonito, sea bass, yellowtail, barracuda or halibut. There are also several jetties and a beautiful pier that you can fish off from the coast.
10. Charleston, South Carolina
There is so much game fish to be had at Charleston, that it is considered as the game fishers paradise.
There are some spectacular family-friendly charters at Charleston that are knowledgeable and informative in providing guidance to that perfect catch of the day. The sceneries of the estuaries are absolutely spectacular and not to mention that the boats are rather comfortable.
On your trip, you have the chance to catch some sheepshead, flounder, redfish, sea trout and flounder.
The city of Charleston has a rich history and some beautiful architecture that you can explore. All in all, it has the makings of a great fishing trip.
11. Virginia Beach, Virginia
The Chesapeake Bay which is off Virginia Beach is a year-round destination, where the fish bite regardless of what time of the year it is.
There are four fishing piers at Virginia Beach and you have the option to book a fishing charter or stick to the pier. Many do book half-day fishing trips with chartered boats that are usually reasonably priced and family-friendly.
Catches are plentiful here and you are sure to get a bite. Whether it is the sharks, cobia or redfish that are found in the region, you are sure to have with you that beautiful picture of you holding your catch.
12. Montauk, New York
Montauk offers some of the best freshwater and saltwater fishing in the whole country. The sign at the Montauk Harbour greets you with the words, ‘Fishing Capital of the World.’ This is rightfully stated, considering the beautiful fish you have a chance to catch in the waters of Montauk.
There is a choice of both inshore fishing and offshore fishing. Inshore, you have the chance to catch blackfish, striped bass, porgies and flounders. Offshore, there is opportunity to catch mahi-mahi, marlin, tuna and sharks.
You are sure to find a friendly charter that will provide you with everything that you will need for your trip. You can enjoy the waters at Montauk fishing or even sitting back and enjoy the ride.
13. Galveston, Texas
Considered one of the best destinations for fishing in the south, there is a host of both freshwater and saltwater fish that you can catch in the waters of Galveston.
Various charters let you pick between the various types of fishing excursions such as speckled trout fishing and shark fishing. Their knowledgeable guides will teach you everything you need to know and will even help you improve your fishing techniques.
Galveston is also home to surfers which comes as a bonus. If you like water sports like kitesurfing, windsurfing or even surfing for that matter, this should be the destination for you.
On your trip, you have the chance to catch stingrays, drum, croaker, red snapper, bull shark and blacktip shark.
14. Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
The beautiful crystal blue waters off the shores of Kailua-Kona offer some great opportunities for fishing in the region. You even have the chance to ride alongside some beautiful dolphins.
You can try your hand at spearfishing, where you will be taught everything your need to know through the experience of well-informed guides. Top Shot Spearfishing is considered a favourite which offers excellent service and great advice on freediving form, breathing techniques and speargun control.
Amidst spotting some beautiful whale species, you are sure to have a chance to catch marlin and tuna, which are popular catches in the region.
Back on the island, there are some beautiful views to be experienced from the Mauna Kea Summit, which is a day hike away. If you don’t feel like hiking, you can always drive to the summit or even take a helicopter ride.
15. Miami Beach, Florida
The warm weather in Florida makes it one of the favourites on our list for sport fishing. Whether you prefer deep water fishing or sticking to shallow waters, you are sure to have a bite on your line.
There are various charters that you can book your fishing excursion with and you have the chance to catch snapper, sailfish, tuna, grouper and marlin.
There are various airboats that are super-fast which will guide you through a safari, spotting turtles, deer, birds and alligators. Our pick for the best airboat tour is with Everglades Airboat Safari.
16. Waikiki, Hawaii
Found amidst the coasts of Oahu, Waikiki is home to some of the best fishing opportunities worldwide. It is for certain, a must you should include in your bucket list if you are at all enthusiastic about fishing.
You have the once in a lifetime opportunity to go diving with the sharks. North Shore Shark Adventure offers a thrilling ride on a 20-minute shark cage dive that is sure to bring you up close and personal with some of these beautiful creatures.
On your fishing trip at Waikiki, you are sure to have a chance at catching tuna, onu and mahi-mahi and even the rare Pacific blue marlin.
17. Plymouth, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Located in the beautifully historic Cape Cod peninsula, Plymouth offers anglers some beautiful sceneries on your fishing vacation, making it one of the best on this list.
There are several fishing charters to choose from and you can throw a line into the deep blue sea and have a chance to catch blue fish, tuna and striped bass. There is also the rare chance of catching the rare shark.
There are some amazing, not to be missed deep-sea fishing to be had at Plymouth, which is why it is such a favourite on this list. You are sure to catch something on the day that will make the highlight of your fishing trip.
18. Key West, Florida
This is a world-class destination that is sure to be a treat for any angler out there. The shipwrecks and the reefs at Key West is home to some of the more uniquely beautiful fish species in the country.
You can choose to go deep-sea fishing or stick to the shallow waters of the Key West ‘flats’. You can also choose to go night fishing, which is also popular amongst visitors to Key West.
Key West offers a lot more than fishing. There are some amazing snorkelling opportunities on destination and you can never get enough of soaking the sun, whether it be on the coast or with your private charter host.
19. San Diego, California
If you live in San Diego, you would know how popular it is for both freshwater and saltwater fishing in the country. There are seven piers in the city where you can go pier fishing and there are many fishing charters that you can book a half-day fishing tour with.
Fishing at San Diego offers something for everyone of all skill levels and you are sure to catch some beautiful fish as you cruise the amazing coastline of San Diego.
San Diego is also a favourite spot for whale watching, where you have a chance to spot the majestic Pacific Grey Whales in their longest migrations on the planet from Baja Peninsula to the Bering Strait.
You have the chance to catch a variety of gamefish including yellowtail and bass.
20. Ketchikan, Alaska
Ketchikan is home to some of America’s best fishing trips to catch wild salmon. There is a rich Alaskan history to the region and the natural beauty is phenomenal.
There is a lot that Ketchikan offers to fishing enthusiasts. There are several fishing tours and excursions to choose from, the most popular being Bering Sea Crab Fisherman’s Tour. On the tour, you have the chance to watch fishermen haul up king crab, octopus, eel, rockfish and box crab.
You even have the chance to spot a whale or two. There are various other nature-centric attractions to Ketchikan, including a rainforest tour and zipline adventures.
Undoubtedly, a fishing trip at Ketchikan has the makings of one memorable excursion which is sure to keep you wanting more.
21. Meeker, Colorado
Fishing in the White River Valley, Meeker has much to offer the fishing enthusiast. Obvious to state, fishing at Meeker, Colorado will leave you hanging for more.
With a great mix of both public and private waters, there are perks of both. The public waters are free and are open to the public, while the private waters are for certain more secluded. Regardless of which waters you choose, you are sure to have a chance at great catches.
There are some beautiful sceneries amidst which, the high mountain streams and lakes provide homes to cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, brown trout and huge brookies.
You are undoubtedly sure to catch something or the other in the waters of Meeker.
22. Pymatuning Lake, Ohio
The state border for Pennsylvania and Ohio runs through Pymatuning Lake. On both sides of the border, you would require a fishing license to spend any time in the waters.
You would find yourself relaxed on the lake, blending into nature. Gas-powered motors are not allowed on the waters, hence you won’t have to deal with speed boats unsettling the water where you’ve thrown a line in.
You have the chance to catch channel catfish, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, walleye bluegill, yellow perch and muskie at Pymatuning Lake.
If you’re looking for some time on your own, you are sure to find just that when you are visiting Pymatuning Lake in Ohio.
23. Lake Champlain, New York
It is the variety of species of fish that are found in Lake Champlain that makes it such a favourite on our bucket list of destinations for fishing enthusiasts.
From channel catfish to brown bullhead, chain pickerel, northern pike, walleye, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, yellow perch, lake trout, salmon, rainbow trout to brown trout and rainbow smelt, the lake is host to a variety of fish species.
With the lake being shared by both New York and Vermont, you may think that you might require a license from both states to fish here. In fact, this comes as a perk that you only require a license from one state to fish at Lake Champlain.
24. Lewes, Delaware
Lewes is well known for the beautiful beach vacations it provides. Not only that, but it is also a great place to go fishing. With Lewes being a little further north of the normally crowded beaches of Delaware, you find yourself in a more secluded setting with you and the waters; perfect for fishing.
The common catches of the area are marlin, tuna and flounder. There are also some amazing freshwater and bay fishing locations close by.
The small town of Lewes makes for a great place to unwind after a day spent fishing. You are sure to have a delightful time, which is why it has made our list of 30.
25. Lake Fork, Texas
Located 65 miles east of Dallas, Lake Fork offers some great opportunities for bass fishers and is considered the place for the best bass fishing in the country.
The only reason you would go to Lake Fork is to catch bass and that is the truth of the matter. Largemouth bass and white bass are common in the waters of Lake Fork and make for some good eating.
If you are looking for bass fishing, there is truly no better place in the country that you could visit and you are sure to catch something or the other in the waters of Lake Fork in Texas.
The cowboy-centric Fort Worth works as an added bonus to make your trip to Lake Fork a little better. It’s great if you are looking to expand your horizons on your vacation.
26. Mammoth Lakes, California
Providing incredible scenery, Mammoth Lakes is surrounded by the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains and caters for a variety of activities including some great opportunities for trout fishing on the West Coast.
The beautiful scenery with some snowcapped mountains makes Mammoth Lakes one of the most scenic locations on this list. Apart from fishing, there is great scope of mountain biking, hiking and even skiing. You can reach the location year-round, which is why Mammoth Lakes is so appealing.
You could look to catch any of the seven common species that dwell in the waters of Mammoth Lakes including rainbow trout, brown trout, golden trout, brook trout, perch, Owens sucker and smallmouth bass.
27. Venice, Louisiana
Located in the mouth of the Mississippi, you are almost guaranteed to catch fish if you are fishing in Venice.
With the common species, you have a very good chance at catching bass, redfish and speckled trout. Venice is sure to have you pulling on your line the whole day.
Combined with freshwater fishing opportunities, Venice also offers some great saltwater tours. You should be able to charter a boat that will take you to throw a line in for tuna, sailfish and marlin which are common in the region.
Located close to New Orleans, the cultural and topographical settings of Venice is probably one of the most unique in the country. Surely, there is more to see and do and you are sure to have a splendid vacation combined with a memorable fishing trip.
28. Homer, Alaska
Considered one of the best fishing destinations in all of North America, Homer provides a great means to take a break from the concrete jungle and explore the scenic location.
There is also a great opportunity to catch salmon. Considered the ultimate escape for the outdoorsman, Alaska has some beautiful vistas and untouched nature which is sure to make your fishing trip special.
Though it is a bit difficult to get to with a 5-hour drive from Anchorage, Alaska, the trip is totally worth it. However, if you prefer to fly instead of driving, there are daily flights from Anchorage to Homer which takes about 45 minutes.
29. Salmon, Idaho
Sitting alongside the beautiful Salmon River, the name says it all. Set in an iconic and remote setting, the scenery is breathtaking, making your fishing trip that much better.
You have the chance to catch cutthroat, rainbow and brook trout which are common in these waters. Did you know, that Idaho is the only state in America with ocean-run salmon?
There is a great blend of the outdoors, nature and fishing, which is why Salmon made this list of 30. It makes for a uniquely rewarding fishing trip that is sure to make you want to come back.
30. Bighorn River, Montana
We couldn’t conclude this list without including our favourite fly fishing destination. If you are a fly fishing enthusiast, Bighorn is for certain the destination to include in your bucket list.
With most of the river flowing through private property, the public fishing spots can become rather crowded; however, it is most certainly worth fighting the crowd over. There is a limit on the number of catches permitted with most sports fisherman releasing trouts after they catch them. This helps ensure healthy numbers of fish in the river and helps maintain the quality of fisheries.
The river is the natural habitat for brown trout, however if you are lucky, you may catch a prized rainbow.
Most fishermen consider camping out in the nearby campgrounds. However, if you do splurge on finding accommodation, for instance at Forrester’s Bighorn Resort, you do have the chance to fish in the private waters of the resort.
Fishing Trips for Your Bucket List
There you go, 30 must-visit destinations which should keep you busy throwing lines for quite some time. We made it a point to make you a bucket list that had a bit of everything, from fly fishing to saltwater fishing, to fresh water fishing and even pier fishing. We even added spearfishing in there, just in case you wanted to have your hand at that.
Regardless of where you begin, you know that the destinations on this list are surely not ones you should miss out on. We recommend that you tick off all 30 destinations on this list and take pictures of all the catches and make an album or two. In fact, I’m sure you would have more than enough pictures to fill more than two whole albums.
Whether it is fishing alone or as a group of friends or family, you are sure to find something on this list which will sound appealing.
We hope you found this article useful and that reading this word to word has provided a good starting point on where to look for the best fishing opportunities in the US.