Ultimate Guide to America's Best Fishing Spots

Ultimate Guide to America's Best Fishing SpotsUNITED STATES - Reel in adventure!  This expanded state-by-state guide reveals hidden gems and legendary fishing destinations across the U.S. Whether you crave a backcountry challenge or a relaxing family outing, these waters offer unforgettable experiences.

Ultimate Guide to America's Best Fishing Spots
Ultimate Guide to America's Best Fishing Spots

Important Reminder: Always check local regulations for licensing, season dates, and catch limits to ensure a responsible and enjoyable fishing experience.


  • Lake Guntersville: Renowned for trophy bass, this massive reservoir consistently produces impressive largemouths.
  • Gulf Shores: Surf fish for pompano and redfish or charter a deep-sea trip for marlin and tuna.
  • Mobile-Tensaw Delta: A maze of rivers and bayous, this area offers diverse catches, including speckled trout, redfish, and flounder.
  • Weiss Lake: Dubbed the "Crappie Capital of the World," this lake delivers exceptional crappie fishing year-round.


  • Kenai River: This world-famous salmon river teems with king, sockeye, and coho salmon during their legendary runs.
  • Bristol Bay: Home to five species of Pacific salmon, Bristol Bay offers incredible sportfishing amidst breathtaking scenery.
  • Halibut Cove: Target massive halibut in the rich waters near Homer, the "Halibut Fishing Capital of the World."
  • Situk River: Fly-fishing enthusiasts seek out this remote river with pristine waters for trophy steelhead and rainbow trout.


  • Lake Powell: Straddling the Arizona-Utah border, this scenic reservoir holds striped bass, crappie, and smallmouth bass.
  • Colorado River: Battle feisty trout in the calm waters below Hoover Dam, or head south for largemouth bass.
  • Lees Ferry: This stretch of the Colorado River is a premier fly-fishing destination for trophy rainbow trout.
  • Roosevelt Lake: This desert oasis offers a surprising variety of fishing, including largemouth bass, crappie, and flathead catfish.


  • White River: Famed for its brown trout fishery, it boasts consistent catches and stunning scenery.
  • Bull Shoals Lake: Cast for record-breaking bass, walleye, and crappie in this sprawling reservoir nestled within the Ozarks.
  • Ouachita River: This scenic river offers diverse angling opportunities, from catfish to smallmouth bass.
  • Buffalo National River: Float this pristine waterway and enjoy excellent fly-fishing for smallmouth bass in a breathtaking wilderness setting.


  • Clear Lake: Known as the "Bass Capital of the West," Clear Lake is a top spot for largemouth bass tournaments.
  • Sacramento River: Target Chinook salmon and steelhead trout in this iconic California waterway.
  • Monterey Bay: Embark on an offshore fishing adventure for tuna, rockfish, and other Pacific species.
  • Trinity River: Fly-fishing Mecca for steelhead and salmon, with spectacular pools and rugged canyon scenery.


  • South Platte River: The "Dream Stream" section offers exceptional trout fishing in a picturesque setting near Denver.
  • Fryingpan River: Anglers flock to this Gold Medal-designated river for hefty brown and rainbow trout.
  • Blue Mesa Reservoir: This vast reservoir, known for its kokanee salmon and lake trout, provides ample fishing opportunities.
  • Gunnison Gorge: Hike into this rugged canyon for a challenging but rewarding fly-fishing experience targeting wild brown trout.


  • Connecticut River: The largest river in New England offers diverse fishing for striped bass, shad, and pike.
  • Long Island Sound: Target fluke (summer flounder), blackfish, and bluefish in these productive coastal waters.
  • Farmington River: This renowned trout stream offers excellent fly-fishing experiences in a scenic environment.
  • Housatonic River: This scenic river offers a mixed bag of catches, including brown trout, smallmouth bass, and even the occasional Atlantic salmon.


  • Delaware Bay: This saltwater haven is known for striped bass, weakfish, and flounder.
  • Indian River Inlet: Cast for bluefish and flounder, or try surf fishing for striped bass.
  • Lums Pond State Park: This family-friendly park offers easy access to stocked bass, crappie, and catfish.
  • Cape Henlopen State Park: Enjoy diverse surf fishing opportunities targeting striped bass, bluefish, and drum.


  • Florida Keys: Experience unparalleled saltwater diversity, from bonefish and tarpon on the flats to marlin and sailfish offshore.
  • Lake Okeechobee: This "Big O" is a bass angler's paradise, teeming with massive largemouths.
  • Everglades National Park: Explore this unique ecosystem and catch snook, redfish, tarpon, and more within its vast mangrove estuaries.
  • St. Johns River: This lengthy river offers a mix of freshwater and saltwater species, including largemouth bass, speckled trout, and redfish.


  • Lake Lanier: A popular reservoir near Atlanta, Lake Lanier boasts healthy populations of spotted bass, stripers, and crappie.
  • Flint River Known for trophy shoal bass, this scenic river offers exciting angling in a less-crowded setting.
  • Chattahoochee River: This tailwater trout fishery below Lake Lanier provides consistent action on rainbows and browns.
  • Georgia Coast: Enjoy inshore fishing for redfish, spotted seatrout, and flounder, or venture offshore for tuna, mahi-mahi, and more.


  • Kona Coast: The Big Island is legendary for deep-sea fishing, with marlin, tuna, and mahi-mahi topping the target list.
  • Kauai: Experience diverse fishing, from freshwater bass in reservoirs to saltwater flats and thrilling bluewater action.
  • Niihau: This remote island offers untouched trophy fishing for trevally (ulua), tuna, and other powerful ocean predators.
  • Shore Fishing: All Hawaiian islands offer excellent shore fishing opportunities, with beaches and rocky areas yielding a variety of reef fish and jacks.


  • Henry's Fork of the Snake River: World-renowned for its dry fly hatches and large rainbow trout, this is a fly-fishing haven.
  • Salmon River: The "River of No Return" delivers legendary steelhead fishing amidst rugged wilderness beauty.
  • Coeur d'Alene Lake: Target massive northern pike and sizeable kokanee salmon in this scenic Idaho north lake.
  • Dworshak Reservoir: This deep reservoir holds kokanee salmon, smallmouth bass, and trout populations.


  • Lake Michigan: Chicago's shoreline boasts surprisingly good fishing for salmon, trout, perch, and bass.
  • Mississippi River: Channel and flathead catfish are abundant in this mighty river, with some truly monster specimens.
  • Rend Lake: Known for its largemouth bass and crappie populations, this southern Illinois lake offers excellent angling opportunities.
  • Fox Chain O'Lakes: This interconnected lake system offers diverse fishing for bass, musky, walleye, and panfish.


  • Lake Michigan: Join the thriving salmon and trout fishery off Indiana's Lake Michigan shoreline.
  • Wabash River: Channel catfish, smallmouth bass, and walleye are among the top targets in this river system.
  • Lake Monroe: A popular reservoir near Bloomington, Lake Monroe is known for its crappie and bass fishing.
  • Patoka Lake: This southern Indiana reservoir offers largemouth bass, crappie, catfish, and hybrid striped bass.


  • Mississippi River: The Iowa side of the Mississippi offers excellent catfishing and boasts good walleye and sauger populations.
  • West Okoboji Lake: One of Iowa's deepest natural lakes, West Okoboji, offers good populations of walleye, musky, and yellow perch.
  • Spirit Lake: Located in northwest Iowa, anglers seek out walleye, northern pike, perch, and various panfish here.
  • Farm Ponds: Countless small ponds dot Iowa's landscape, offering fun and accessible fishing for bass, bluegill, and catfish for families.


  • Milford Reservoir: Record-sized walleye, wipers (hybrid striped bass), and white bass make Milford a top Kansas fishing destination.
  • Wilson Reservoir: This scenic western Kansas lake is known for its excellent crappie and walleye fishing.
  • Cheney Reservoir: Located near Wichita, Cheney boasts healthy populations of walleye, crappie, catfish, and white bass.
  • Small State Lakes: Kansas offers a variety of smaller lakes with plentiful bass, catfish, and panfish, perfect for family outings.


  • Kentucky Lake & Lake Barkley: These interconnected reservoirs are famed for their bass, crappie, and catfish populations.
  • Cumberland River: Below Lake Cumberland, this tailwater offers excellent trout fishing for rainbows and browns.
  • Green River: Target smallmouth bass and musky in this scenic river flowing through Mammoth Cave National Park.
  • Cave Run Lake: Known for its trophy musky, this lake also offers largemouth bass and crappie.


  • The Louisiana Marsh: This vast network of saltwater estuaries is teeming with redfish, speckled trout, and flounder—a true inshore paradise!
  • Toledo Bend Reservoir: Straddling the Louisiana-Texas border, this massive lake holds trophy bass and abundant crappie.
  • Offshore Rigs: Venture into the Gulf of Mexico for thrilling battles with tuna, marlin, snapper, and other deepwater species.
  • Atchafalaya Basin: This unique swamp offers freshwater bowfin and the chance to tangle with massive alligator gar.


  • Sebago Lake: Landlocked salmon and lake trout draw anglers to this deep lake, with smallmouth bass providing added action.
  • Kennebec River: This iconic Maine river boasts Atlantic salmon runs along with healthy striped bass populations.
  • Penobscot River: Excellent smallmouth bass fishing awaits, as well as opportunities for landlocked salmon and trout.
  • Moosehead Lake: This massive lake offers an authentic wilderness experience with chances for trophy brook trout, lake trout, and landlocked salmon.


  • Chesapeake Bay: This vast estuary supports diverse saltwater species, including stripers (rockfish), bluefish, and speckled trout.
  • Deep Creek Lake: Maryland's largest freshwater lake offers good fishing for walleye, yellow perch, trout, and bass.
  • Susquehanna River: Target giant catfish, smallmouth bass, and occasional walleye in this river system.
  • Ocean City: Enjoy surf fishing for striped bass and flounder, or charter an offshore trip for tuna and marlin.


  • Cape Cod: Surfcast for striped bass or fish, the bayside flats for fluke, bluefish, and tautog.
  • Quabbin Reservoir: This massive reservoir holds landlocked salmon, lake trout, and a surprising diversity of other species.
  • Connecticut River: The Atlantic salmon restoration effort has brought the thrill of salmon fishing back to this river.
  • Berkshire Streams: Numerous small streams offer wild trout fishing in picturesque mountain settings.


  • Great Lakes: Michigan boasts access to all the Great Lakes, offering a world of fishing for salmon, trout, walleye, bass, and more.
  • St. Mary River: The connecting point between Lake Superior and Lake Huron, this river is a hotspot for salmon, steelhead, and walleye.
  • Au Sable River: Legendary for its brown trout, it offers classic fly-fishing and the iconic "Hex hatch."
  • Inland Lakes: Countless inland lakes dot Michigan's landscape, offering fantastic angling for bass, pike, panfish, and walleye.


  • Lake of the Woods: Famed for its walleye and perch, with trophy northern pike and musky in the mix.
  • Mille Lacs Lake: Known for its walleye, Mille Lacs also boasts excellent smallmouth bass and musky opportunities.
  • Mississippi River: From trophy walleye and sauger to abundant catfish, the Mississippi offers diverse angling.
  • Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness: In this breathtaking wilderness, experience pristine fishing for walleye, pike, lake trout, and smallmouth bass.


  • Mississippi River: The "Big Muddy" delivers some of the best catfishing in the country, with giant blues and flatheads possible.
  • Ross Barnett Reservoir: Abundant bass and crappie make this popular reservoir a favorite near Jackson.
  • Gulf Coast: Embark on an offshore adventure or cast for redfish, speckled trout, and flounder from the beaches.
  • Farm Ponds: Numerous ponds offer family-friendly fishing for bass, catfish, and bream (sunfish).


  • Lake of the Ozarks: This sprawling reservoir is famous for its bass, crappie, and catfish populations.
  • Table Rock Lake: Clear waters and scenic surroundings make this lake a top spot for bass fishing tournaments.
  • Montauk State Park: Enjoy classic trout stream fishing in this spring-fed creek known for its rainbow trout.
  • Current River: Float this Ozark gem and target feisty smallmouth bass in a beautiful natural setting.


  • Missouri River: Trophy rainbow and brown trout await along with exciting walleye fishing in this wide-ranging river.
  • Bighorn River: Known for its prolific hatches and abundant brown trout, it attracts fly-fishers worldwide.
  • Madison River: This legendary trout river flows through stunning scenery, offering challenging and rewarding fly-fishing.
  • Flathead Lake: One of the largest natural freshwater lakes west of the Mississippi, Flathead is home to lake trout, perch, and bass.


  • Lake McConaughy: A "Big Mac" favorite, this reservoir is known for walleye, white bass, and wipers.
  • Missouri River: The Nebraska side offers prime catfishing, with impressive channel and blue catfish.
  • Sandhill Lakes: These unique lakes offer diverse fishing, from largemouth bass and crappie to northern pike and perch.
  • Platte River: Target channel catfish and various other warmwater species in this prairie river system.


  • Lake Tahoe: Straddling the Nevada-California border, this deep lake is home to Mackinaw (lake trout), kokanee salmon, and rainbow trout.
  • Pyramid Lake: This unique desert lake is home to the Lahontan cutthroat trout, one of the largest cutthroat subspecies in the world.
  • Lake Mead: Formed by Hoover Dam, Mead offers striped bass, largemouth bass, and catfish in a desert oasis setting.
  • Walker Lake: Known for its improving cutthroat trout fishery, this lake offers the solitude of Nevada's vast landscape.

New Hampshire

  • Lake Winnipesaukee: New England's largest lake offers diverse angling opportunities for lake trout, salmon, bass, and perch.
  • Connecticut River: The state's largest river holds a good mix of warmwater species and migrating Atlantic salmon.
  • Androscoggin River: Fly-fishers seek out wild and brown brook trout on this scenic northern New Hampshire river.
  • Coastal Waters: Target striped bass, bluefish, and cod in New Hampshire's small but productive Atlantic coastline.

New Jersey

  • Jersey Shore: Surfcast for striped bass, bluefish, and fluke along the iconic beaches.
  • Delaware River: Target migrating American shad, smallmouth bass, and various catfish species.
  • Round Valley Reservoir: Known for its record-breaking lake trout and landlocked salmon, this deep reservoir offers unique challenges.
  • Spruce Run Reservoir: Anglers seek out trout, bass, and a variety of panfish in this scenic reservoir.

New Mexico

  • San Juan River: This renowned tailwater fishery below Navajo Dam boasts massive rainbow and brown trout.
  • Rio Grande: Target brown trout amidst high desert scenery, or explore the river's lower reaches for channel and blue catfish.
  • Elephant Butte Reservoir: This popular warm-water fishery holds largemouth bass, crappie, walleye, catfish, and stripers.
  • Cimarron River: Tucked within a canyon, this stream offers the chance to catch wild brown trout in a beautiful setting.

New York

  • Lake Ontario: Part of the Great Lakes, it's a top spot for salmon, trout, walleye, and bass.
  • Finger Lakes: These scenic lakes offer chain pickerel, lake trout, bass, and panfish.
  • Thousand Islands Region: Located in the St. Lawrence River, this scenic area teems with bass, northern pike, and musky.
  • Long Island Sound: Anglers pursue striped bass, bluefish, fluke, blackfish, and other saltwater species in the Sound.

North Carolina

  • Outer Banks: Experience world-class surf fishing and exhilarating offshore battles with tuna, marlin, and dolphin (mahi-mahi).
  • Sounds & Inlets: Target red drum (redfish), speckled trout, and flounder on the expansive inshore waters.
  • Largemouth Bass Reservoirs: Lakes like Jordan, Kerr, and Falls offer trophy bass fishing opportunities.
  • Mountain Trout Streams: Explore the Great Smoky Mountains and target wild brook, brown, and rainbow trout in pristine streams.

North Dakota

  • Lake Sakakawea: This enormous Missouri River reservoir is a top walleye and northern pike destination.
  • Devils Lake: Known for its walleye and jumbo yellow perch, this lake also boasts good pike and white bass populations.
  • Missouri River: Along with walleye and sauger, anglers find giant channel catfish in the river's depths.
  • Small Prairie Lakes: The many smaller lakes throughout the state offer feisty bass, pike, and panfish.


  • Lake Erie: This Great Lake is famed for walleye, yellow perch, steelhead trout, and smallmouth bass.
  • Ohio River: The biggest draw is giant catfish – including blues and flatheads.
  • Inland Lakes: Numerous smaller lakes across the state offer diverse bass, panfish, and catfish angling.
  • Alum Creek Lake: Located near Columbus, this reservoir is known for its musky, saugeye (hybrid walleye/sauger), and bass populations.


  • Lake Texoma: A massive reservoir on the Oklahoma-Texas border, Texoma boasts big striped bass, catfish, and crappie.
  • Grand Lake o' the Cherokees is known for its largemouth, spotted, and white bass fishing and excellent crappie fishing.
  • Lower Illinois River: Fly-fishers pursue trophy brown trout in this scenic tailwater fishery below Lake Tenkiller.
  • Mountain Fork River: This smallmouth bass haven flows through the scenic Ouachita Mountains.


  • Pacific Coast: Enjoy salmon fishing from beaches and boats or target halibut, tuna, and rockfish further offshore.
  • Columbia River: This large river is a salmon and steelhead highway, including ostinhostsye and sturgeon.
  • Deschutes River: A steelhead mecca, anglers also target rainbow trout and whitefish on this iconic river.
  • Cascade Lakes: Numerous high-altitude lakes hold trout and kokanee salmon, offering scenic beauty.


  • Lake Erie: Pursue steelhead, walleye, perch, and smallmouth bass in Pennsylvania's slice of the Great Lakes.
  • Susquehanna River: Known for its smallmouth bass fishery, it also holds walleye, musky, and catfish.
  • Delaware River: Target migrating American shad and various warm water species, including hefty channel catfish.
  • Trout Streams: Pennsylvania boasts numerous limestone streams and freestone creeks famous for trout fishing.

Rhode Island

  • Block Island Sound & Narragansett Bay: Anglers enjoy a rich saltwater fishery with striped bass, bluefish, fluke, and black sea bass.
  • Offshore Waters: Target tuna, mahi-mahi, and even sharks when venturing further into the Atlantic.
  • Coastal Ponds: These brackish ponds offer unique experiences catching largemouth bass, pickerel, and various perch species.
  • Trout Stocked Lakes and Ponds: Find easy access to trout fishing within many state parks and urban areas.

South Carolina

  • Coastal Waters: Experience diverse saltwater action targeting redfish, flounder, tarpon, and numerous nearshore and offshore species.
  • Lake Marion & Moultrie: These interconnected lakes are part of the Santee Cooper system, famous for trophy catfish and largemouth bass.
  • Lake Jocassee: This lake offers trout fishing and beautiful scenery in the mountains.
  • Mountain Streams: Explore the upstate and seek out wild or stocked trout in calm mountain waterways.

South Dakota

  • Missouri River Reservoirs (Oahe, Sharpe, Francis Case): These massive impoundments hold prolific walleye, sauger, and catfish populations.
  • Glacial Lakes: Dotted across eastern South Dakota, these lakes offer walleye, pike, perch, and panfish.
  • Black Hills Trout Streams: Enjoy fly-fishing in a gorgeous setting, targeting wild brook, brown, and rainbow trout.
  • Prairie Lakes: Discover smaller lakes with surprisingly good bass, crappie, and pike across the state.


  • Kentucky Lake & Barkley Lake: These sprawling reservoirs offer world-class bass and crappie fishing
  • Tennessee River: From trophy catfish to feisty smallmouth bass, the Tennessee River delivers a diverse angling experience.
  • Dale Hollow Lake: Known for its record-breaking smallmouth bass, this scenic lake also offers walleye and trout fishing.
  • Mountain Streams: Head to the Great Smoky Mountains for pristine streams and wild trout nestled amidst stunning scenery.


  • Gulf Coast: Embark on offshore adventures for marlin, tuna, and snapper, or cast the bays for redfish, trout, and flounder.
  • Lake Texoma: Straddling the Texas-Oklahoma border, this massive reservoir holds stripers, catfish, and bass.
  • Lake Fork: A legendary bass fishery, Lake Fork consistently produces trophy-sized largemouths for serious anglers.
  • Guadalupe River: This tailwater boasts a thriving rainbow and brown trout population below Canyon Lake.


  • Green River: The "Green" boasts fantastic dry fly fishing for brown and rainbow trout below Flaming Gorge Dam.
  • Lake Powell: Straddling the Utah-Arizona border, this scenic reservoir holds striped bass, crappie, and smallmouth bass.
  • Strawberry Reservoir: This popular fishery is known for its trophy-sized cutthroat trout and kokanee salmon.
  • Utah Lake: This large, relatively shallow lake offers abundant channel catfish, walleye, and white bass.


  • Lake Champlain: Anglers pursue salmon, lake trout, bass, pike, and walleye in this vast lake.
  • Connecticut River: Target migratory species like American shad alongside resident smallmouth bass and panfish.
  • Lake Memphremagog: This lake is shared with Canada and holds lake trout, perch, and landlocked salmon.
  • Mountain Brooks: Enjoy classic New England charm and seek out wild brook trout in picturesque small streams.


  • Chesapeake Bay & Coastal Waters: Striped bass, flounder, redfish, speckled trout, Spanish mackerel – the list goes on in these rich waters.
  • Shenandoah River: Target smallmouth bass and muskellunge in this scenic river flowing through the Shenandoah Valley.
  • James River: Richmond and the areas below offer incredible blue catfish action and opportunities for other river species.
  • Mountain Streams: The Blue Ridge Mountains boast countless options for wild trout fishing in beautiful settings.


  • Pacific Coast: Battle salmon offshore or target halibut, lingcod, and rockfish in the nearshore waters.
  • Columbia River: This mighty river is a major salmon and steelhead highway containing walleye and sturgeon.
  • Puget Sound: Enjoy diverse saltwater fishing opportunities, targeting salmon, bottom fish, and even squid in some areas.
  • Lakes & Rivers Statewide: Washington offers freshwater fishing for every skill level, from trout to bass to kokanee.

West Virginia

  • New River: Known for its muskellunge and smallmouth bass fishing, this scenic river offers a thrilling challenge.
  • Cheat River: Test your trout fishing skills against wild browns and rainbows in this remote, beautiful waterway.
  • Summersville Lake: A diverse warmwater fishery, Summersville offers good bass, crappie, walleye, and catfish action.
  • Trout Streams: Numerous smaller streams throughout the state provide quality wild and stocked trout fishing.


  • Great Lakes: Wisconsin boasts access to Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, offering salmon, trout, walleye, and bass.
  • Mississippi River: The Wisconsin side of this legendary river is prime catfish, walleye, and sauger territory.
  • Lake Winnebago: This large, shallow lake teems with walleye and is famous for its sturgeon-spearing opportunities.
  • Countless Inland Lakes: Wisconsin's immense number of lakes offers something for every angle, from musky to panfish.


  • North Platte River: This renowned tailwater fishery is sought for its trophy-sized trout.
  • Yellowstone National Park: Experience pristine fishing for cutthroat trout in breathtaking surroundings.
  • Snake River: Anglers seek large cutthroat trout and trophy lake trout amidst stunning Teton scenery.
  • Flaming Gorge Reservoir: This reservoir is home to trophy lake trout, kokanee salmon, and rainbow trout.

That concludes our epic state-by-state fishing adventure!