Fishing in Montana: Blackfoot River, Fort Peck Lake, Bighorn Lake & More

Montana is located in the west of the US. The State enjoys a diverse landscape, including the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains. Part of its wilderness terrain includes the Glacier National Park that extends into neighboring Canada. The Park is famous for its 50-mile “Going to the Sun” road, that’s a must-see tourist stop – so bring your shades.

Montana is also known as the Big Sky Country and is a popular vacation destination for lovers of the Great Outdoors from all around the world. People come here for the hiking, biking, and for the wonderful fishing too.

Montana enjoys an abundance of rivers and streams. In fact, the State has 450 miles of designated blue ribbon trout waters, making the Big Sky Country a fly-fishing mecca. There’s some of the best still-water trout fishing in the world here too. The lakes in the State enjoy a mammoth callibaetis event during the summer months, when mayflies hatch, providing a veritable banquet for trout.

As well as several varieties of trout, including Montana’s designated State fish, the cutthroat, you’ll find many other species of fish living here too. Walleye are here in reasonable numbers, and in a few places, you’ll catch crappie and bass. However, Montana’s cool waters particularly favor the trout.

Fishing Licenses

To fish legally in any of Montana’s waters, if you’re aged over 15, you’ll need two licenses: a Fishing License and a Conservation License.

You’ll also need an AIS Prevention Pass (AISPP). This program was initiated in 2017 to help fund the fight against invasive aquatic species in the State. You’ll buy one of these passes for a modest $2 when you purchase your fishing license.

To obtain a license, you’ll need to present your social security number and a valid driver’s license or photo ID. You can buy fishing licenses and permits from any authorized agent or from the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Office.

Licenses are valid from 1 March through the end of February of the following year. You can also buy 2-day, 10-day, or seasonal fishing licenses.

Remember to carry your license with you when you’re fishing, and be prepared to show it to an MFWP officer if requested.

Top Fishing Spots

Montana is a location that’s right out of a trout fishing enthusiast’s dream! Crystal clear waters thronging with abundant trout of many species set amid stunning wilderness scenery where wildlife abounds; what better location could there be to while away a day filling your creel?

We’ve picked out some of the best trout fishing spots for you to try. Also, we’ve tracked down a few alternatives that cater for bass, walleye, and crappie fans.


1. Blackfoot River

Blackfoot River Montana

The Blackfoot River is located here in western Montana, close to Missoula. The River is famous for its use as a setting in the 1992 movie, “A River Runs Through It,” and as a result these waters are now popular as a location for whitewater rafting, tubing, and trout fishing.

The fishing here is best from spring right through into October, thanks to the extensive dry-fly hatches. Trout species you can expect to find here include:

  • Westslope cutthroat trout
  • Bull trout
  • Rainbow trout
  • Brown trout
  • Brook trout

The Blackfoot River can become a very crowded place during summer weekends, thanks to local fishermen or recreational floaters. However, if you visit the River mid-week, after Labor Day or before Memorial Day, you’ll usually find the water relatively empty.

There are excellent fly-fishing opportunities throughout the length of the Blackfoot River in a memorably pretty, scenic setting. Access to shore and wade-fishing is good, and, if you have the time, more hot fishing spots can be enjoyed at the nearby Bitterroot River and Rock Creek.

There are plenty of very good public, private, and RV campgrounds close to Missoula for those who want to extend their visit to this stunning place.


2. Madison River

Madison River

Madison River is located here in the south of the State and has been named as the very best fly-fishing river in North America.

The Madison’s deep pools and rushing riffles are home to high densities of trophy-sized specimens, and the fishing here is great anywhere on the river between May and October. To get the best from this trout fisherman’s treasure trove, it may pay dividends to hire a local outfitter to guide you. The land around the River is a combination of working ranchland, three spectacular mountain ranges, and Government-protected conservation easements.

This stunningly beautiful fishing location provides great sport for dry fly-fishermen, streamer fishermen, and nymph fishermen alike.

Stay for a few days at the nearby Madison River campground for a true outdoorsman’s experience.


3. The Big Hole River

Big Hole River

If you’re looking for brown trout, it’s the Big Hole River (located here) that you need to head to. The Big Hole is also one of the very last strongholds of the fluvial Arctic grayling. Why not try for the “Montana Grand Slam” by catching all these species in one single day:

  • Rainbow trout
  • Cutthroat trout
  • Brown trout
  • Brook trout
  • Arctic grayling

The Big Hole River is located (here) in Beaverhead County, southwest Montana. The river flows through a series of stunning mountain ranges on its way to the Jefferson River, a headwater of the mighty Missouri. Although this river can get crowded in some areas, you will find a dozen decent fishing access sites between the Jefferson confluence and the town of Wisdom.

The Upper Big Hole covers a 25-mile stretch that has plenty of access points. This part of the river is tailor-made for wade fishermen and offers some of the best fishing on the Big Hole.

The Lower Big Hole River is home to rainbows, brookies, browns, and the native grayling, making this slow-moving stretch of the river an ideal location for dry fly-fishing.

When you come to fish anywhere on the Big Hole River, you must remember that you’ll be playing at high elevation, so bring plenty of layers even during the height of the summer.

There are plenty of camping opportunities around the Big Hole River, including a very well-equipped RV campground.


4. Missouri River

Missouri River

The Missouri River flows through roughly 700 miles of Montana, but you’ll find the best trout fishing on the 30-mile stretch that runs from the small town of Cascade to the Holter Dam.

You’ll find plenty of fishing access points along the river for both floating and wading. If it’s rainbows or browns you’re after, this is a great spot to fish. If you want to make the most of your visit, it’s well worth taking a guided trip such as those run from many of the fly shops and outfitters in Cascade, Wolf Creek, and Craig.

There are lots of good campgrounds in the area that cater for hikers and fishermen.


5. Yellowstone River

Yellowstone River Montana

Yellowstone River (located here) is unique as the last undammed river in the West. Yellowstone is born in the park of the same name, and its waters vary in temperature and nature, providing the perfect habitat for a variety of fish species, including:

Close to the river’s headwaters where the flow is fast, you’ll find an abundance of trout. The eastern reaches of the Yellowstone are where you’ll encounter the other species listed above.

Focusing on the section of the Yellowstone that flows from the Cabella Access Site to the town of Livingston, the best time to fish here is during the late summer when the water has cleared, especially if your preference is for fly-fishing. Check out Paradise Valley and try hopper fishing; plop a hopper from the bank and wait for a feisty strike.

Extend your trip with a stay at one of the campgrounds in the area where you can take in views of the Gallatin Range to the west and the Absaroka Mountains to the east as you cook your day’s catch and enjoy a well-deserved beer or two.


6. Ennis Lake

Ennis Lake

Ennis Lake (here) near Bozeman is a medium-sized impoundment that splits the Lower and Upper Madison Rivers. If you’re planning a fishing vacation to Montana, Ennis Lake is well worth a visit. You can camp or stay at one of the motels in the towns of Ennis and Bozeman.

The lake is very shallow with the majority of the water being less than eight feet deep. Most of the action here involves sight-fishing for big cruising rainbows and browns.

Where the channels of the Madison drain into the lake, shallow flats with weedbeds are created, making perfect trout habitat and offering a happy hunting ground for wade fishermen. When prime hatches occur on the lake in the late summer, drift boats are used by local anglers to target the upper reaches of this productive body of water.

Fishing here is pretty good early in the season when the ice has melted. At this time, blind fishing around structure and drops is most successful. During the summer, callibaetis and tricorythode hatch in considerable numbers, providing the dominant food source for the various species of trout that inhabit the lake. At this time of year, there’s a veritable feeding frenzy, and you’ll never go home empty-handed!


7. Harrison Lake

Harrison Lake Glacier National Park

Harrison Lake (here) is a small reservoir that’s about 2.5 miles long. Harrison is located equidistant between Bozeman and Ennis. If you want to stay for a few days, you can camp or check out the accommodation in the two nearby towns.

Harrison is reputedly home to a particularly hard-fighting strain of rainbow trout, and they’re big too! Typically, Harrison Lake rainbows measure between 16 and 19 inches, and larger ones are common. These are heavyweight fish that will make reel-scorching, pole-bending runs!

Try dry fly-fishing during the sporadic summer hatches of mayflies, or fish for cruising trout with slow-twitching leeches, small nymphs, or crayfish. Fishing the many drop-offs around the lake is often a successful approach. While you’re in the area, take a short hike down into Willow Creek Canyon for some great small stream fly-fishing.


8. Fort Peck Lake

Fort Peck Lake

So far we’ve focused on trout fishing. But you can catch walleye in Montana too. Fort Peck Lake (here) is a major reservoir, extending for 135 miles and covering an area of around 17,000 acres. You’ll need a decent-sized boat with a motor to fish this huge body of water safely; it’s really more like an inland sea than a lake.  Kayaking is not really the best option for anglers on Fort Peck Lake.

Lurking in the depths, you’ll find walleye weighing-in at up to an impressive ten pounds! That’s because the size of the lake means it hasn’t been overfished, allowing mid-sized walleye the chance to live longer and grow to be trophy size. Also, Fort Peck Lake is home to a large, calorie-packed cisco population that provides an excellent food source for patrolling walleye.

The best time to catch Fort Peck’s trophy walleye is during the late spring and summer when the fish are feeding aggressively in shallower waters. As the weather gets warmer, the cisco head for deeper, cooler waters, and the walleye follow them. Along the shoreline of the reservoir, the vegetation is lush, creating excellent habitat for spawning perch, another important food for the walleye population.

As well as walleye, there’s a healthy number of channel catfish to be found lurking in the channels and murkier areas of the lake.

If you want to stay for more than just one day, there’s a well-equipped campground close-by. Here, you’ll find a boat ramp and a dock, providing excellent access to the lake. Also, Fort Peck Marina is nearby where you can rent a boat and buy fuel. They also have boat storage facilities and a fish cleaning station.


9. Gartside Reservoir

Gartside Reservoir

Gartside reservoir is located in Richland County close to the town of Sidney. Gartside is the place to come in Montana if you’re after largemouth bass. There’s a fishing access site that you’ll find just off Highway 16, one mile to the north of Crane, one mile west on County Road.

Here, your best bet is to fish from the water. Note that only manual or electric motors are allowed on the reservoir. Check out shady spots provided by overhanging vegetation, brush, logs, rocky points, and weed beds where lunkers may be lurking.

The best bass fishing in Montana happens in the late evening and early in the morning. In the summer, lunkers head for the deeper, cooler water, so fishing for them is usually more successful at night. Bass weighing up to five pounds are regularly caught here.


10. Bighorn Lake

Bighorn Lake

Bighorn Lake (here) has much to offer the angler. As well as some top-class fishing, you can enjoy some of the most stunning scenery in the northwest of the US. Here, you can fish from the shore or the water and enjoy the view while you wait for a bite.

Fish species you’ll find in Bighorn include:

  • Yellow perch
  • Walleye
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Shovelnose sturgeon
  • Sauger
  • Rainbow trout
  • Ling
  • Lake trout
  • Black crappie
  • Channel catfish
  • Bullhead
  • Brown trout
  • Common carp

If you’re planning on taking to the water to fish the Bighorn, note that if you have engine trouble, don’t risk trying to climb the canyon walls. Most of the shoreline in the southern reaches of the lake will accommodate beaching if necessary.

There’s a large floating fishing dock at Horseshoe Bend beach that’s equipped with benches, a handicap ramp, and pole holders. This is reputedly a brilliant spot to fish for every species that the lake has to offer, and you can drive right up to the dock for easy access.

Bighorn Lake has a large carp population that can provide some great sport if fly or bow-fishing is your thing. Try wading in the shallows or fishing with a push-boat setup. Carp can provide a supreme fly-rod challenge, and many carp fly-fishing tournaments are held here every year. Why not time your trip to coincide with one of these events and pit your skills against the locals!

There are plenty of RV and tent campgrounds around Bighorn Lake, all offering spectacular views of this idyllic and productive fishing spot.


Finding Your Spot

Montana is a trout fisherman’s delight!

There are so many beautiful places to practice your chosen art; it can be very difficult to know where to start. Fish from the shoreline of picturesque lakes, wade-fish the smooth waters of tranquil rivers, or cast from a boat surrounded by towering peaks and sparkling autumn colors; Montana has it all!

But it’s not all about the trout! There’s some great walleye, bass, and crappie fishing here too if you know where to look.

As a fishing destination that gives you a true taste of the wilderness, the Big Sky Country has to feature high-up on your angler’s bucket list.

Where to Fish in Massachusetts: Ipswich Island, Plymouth Harbor & More

The state of Massachusetts is in New England, near several other states that were once colonies. And most people know it’s famous for its significant Colonial history and dramatic Atlantic coastline. Visitors come to see the stunning, changing fall colors in the heavily forested mountains of the state.

But Massachusetts also offers reservoirs, pristine freshwater lakes, streams, rivers, and ponds. To narrow things down for anglers, here are the top 10 best fishing locations in Massachusetts.

The stunning Atlantic coastline is where you can have an exhilarating day’s fishing, perhaps landing a cod, Massachusetts’ official state fish. And the capital of Massachusetts is Boston where you’ll find plenty to do. Check out the lively downtown area with its hotels, shops and restaurants. Or walk the Freedom Trail, a walking tour route that features sites related to the American Revolution.

No matter when you visit the state, you’ll find a place to fish. And if you plan on vacationing in Massachusetts during the winter months, many locations are open for ice fishing. So, some fish species you can expect to catch in Massachusetts include bass, trout, sunfish, perch, different types of crappie, channel or brown catfish, bluegill, pike, atlantic cod, rainbow smelt and tuna.  Striped bass is also another top pick.

Fishing Licenses

For legal freshwater fishing in Massachusetts, if you’re 15 years of age or older, you’ll need a fishing license. Also, anglers over 16 years of age must have a saltwater fishing permit when heading for the coast. But licenses and more information are available online at the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game website.

Remember, when you head out for a fishing trip in Massachusetts, you must have your license with you. Or, you can show a legible, complete image of the license on your smartphone if an official asks you to do so. Just be sure to follow the law when you enjoy these 10 best fishing locations in Massachusetts.

Top Locations

Whether you enjoy freshwater fishing, surf fishing from the beach or heading out to the deep blue ocean in search of those monster, hard-fighting game fish, Massachusetts has what you’re looking for. So here are 10 of the best fishing locations in Massachusetts, no matter what form of fishing floats your boat.


1. The Ipswich River

Ipswich River

The Ipswich River is located here, and boasts a reputation as the premier trout fishing spot in northeastern Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game stocks this river annually with trout, so you should be able to catch at least one. And the fishing for smallmouth bass at Stiles Pond is good. Also, largemouth bass is abundant in the mainstem of the River and at Hood Pond, too.

However, one of the best fishing locations in Massachusetts is near the numerous bridges that span the waterway. In fact, fishing from a canoe will give you access to the secluded areas where fish numbers are even more abundant. But be aware that the river does tend to suffer from low-flow problems during the summer and early fall. This severely affecting habitats, especially in the upper river.

Therefore, the best time to come fishing here is in the spring. But it’s advisable to check the river flow information before you visit. Note that there’s a mercury advisory for fish from some locations in the watershed, so they advise to catch-and-release. Also, you’re asked to use barbless hooks and to remove the lead from sinkers.


2. Castle Island

Castle Island

Castle Island is in South Boston on the shores of Boston Harbor with stunning views of Fort Independence. This 22-acre site makes for a great family day out, as well as providing a pleasurable fishing experience for fishermen. But the most popular fishing spot at Castle Island is Pleasure Bay. That’s where two islets act as a funnel, guiding fish into the bay where anglers await them.

Also, pier fishing is popular here. Just use a bait and sinker because of height from which you’re fishing. And the pier is busy during the summer months. But you can find a quieter spot by following the path alongside the harbor where there are rocks to fish from closer to the water. Do not that one side of Pleasure Bay is a beach that’s popular with families. So that makes it an unsuitable location to fish during the summer.

However, the other side is where you’ll find the action. This is where the water washes in and out of the harbor as the tides change. Fish along the outer edges of the faster water with flies or lures to catch larger fish that are hunting baitfish in the current. And there’s plenty of nice accommodations close to Castle Island with a variety of price points to suit every budget. So, ask anyone, and they will tell you this is one of the best fishing locations in Massachusetts.


3. Norton Reservoir

Norton Reservoir

Norton Reservoir is a beautiful, picturesque fishing spot located right here, close to the small towns of Mansfield and Norton. The fish species you can expect to find here include:

  • Largemouth bass
  • Bullhead catfish
  • White perch
  • Yellow perch
  • Chain pickerel
  • Black crappie
  • White crappie
  • Northern pike
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Bluegill

Importantly, this reservoir has an average depth of just four feet. Also, it drops to 10 feet in some areas of the 529-acre body of water. However, access from the shoreline here is good. And there’s a gravel boat ramp, too.

There are lots of well-equipped campgrounds close by for those who wish to extend their stay. And finally, during the winter months, anglers are drawn here to fish for white perch hiding beneath the ice. So, even in the dead of winter, this is one of the best fishing locations in Massachusetts.


4. Plymouth Harbor

Plymouth Harbor

The Pilgrims first visited Plymouth Harbor (located here) aboard the Mayflower. However, aside from the historical attractions the town offers, there are nine public beaches. And they provide visitors with a spectacular opportunity to explore the natural wonders that this harbor boasts, including a beautiful sunset view.

But the fishing here makes it one of the best fishing locations in Massachusetts. And there are lots of different species around, including plenty of feisty bluefish and striped bass. So, you can fish productively from the shore or the jetty at the low and outgoing tides. But the yacht club and the mouth of the Town Brook make for good fishing at incoming and high tides, especially during the summer months.

Best of all, these locations are within walking distance of Plymouth town and its many hotels, restaurants, and bars. Although baitfish are extremely plentiful around the harbor, that doesn’t stop the fish from biting, especially if you use clams as your bait of choice. But for those who fancy a more adventurous day’s fishing, check out one of the fishing charters that operate from the harbor.

Depending on the season, you can go in search of the following deep-sea species:

  • Cod
  • Haddock
  • Conger eel
  • Flounder
  • Wolf-fish
  • Striped bass
  • Bluefish
  • Sea bass
  • Shark

Plymouth Harbor is one of the best fishing locations in Massachusetts and well worth a visit.


5. Wachusett Reservoir

Wachusett Reservoir

Wachusett Reservoir (located here) is just a 10-minute drive from Worcester. Because the lake is eight miles long, it is is the second-largest body of water in Massachusetts. So, this huge reservoir offers many different species of fish, including:

  • Largemouth bass
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Lake trout
  • White perch
  • Rainbow trout
  • Landlocked salmon

The best time of year to fish for bass is during May and June. So fish along the well-protected, easily accessible shoreline where you’ll find some decent-size panfish, too. And Wachusett Reservoir is famous for producing some huge lake trout and holds six state records for lakers. In fact, in the mid-1990s, one fish they tagged weighed in at over 30 pounds.

And in 2004, an anger landed a 24-pounder. So there is no doubt it is one of the best fishing locations in Massachusetts. Importantly, they don’t allow boating, wading, or ice fishing at the reservoir. However, there’s plenty of good camping nearby for those who want to extend their stay in the hope of breaking a record or two.


6. Martha’s Vineyard

Martha's Vineyard

Martha’s Vineyard (located here) is famous for hosting the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby. And Martha’s Vineyard is an 87-square-mile, triangle-shaped patch of rock and sand that’s one of Massachusetts’ best fishing locations. There are several harbor towns and nearly 100 miles of fishable shoreline. Also, many areas are accessible by boat, all offering spectacular fishing.

Keen surf casters will love the beautiful sandy beaches, massive boulders, and miles of rocky shoreline. This is where you can wait for the big fish that pass through these waters on their migration. So just pick your spot and fish the whitewater, a magnet for striped bass. But be sure to time your casts so your eel or plug follows just behind the wash for the best success.

But a visit to this location would not be complete without a charter trip out to deeper waters. And that is where you can try your luck fishing for the following species:

  • Striped bass
  • Sea bass
  • Bluefin tuna
  • White marlin
  • Fluke
  • False albacore

Fishing around Martha’s Vineyard is best from May through November. Also, the island has plenty of quality accommodations for visitors. It’s such a lovely place and one of the best fishing locations in Massachusetts, so you will want to extend your stay.


7. Scargo Lake

Scargo Lake

Scargo Lake is a freshwater kettle pond in Dennis County and a popular trout fishery. And this 60-acre lake has an average depth of 25 feet and a maximum of 48 feet. Best yet, the lake waters are clear and aquatic vegetation is scarce, allowing for excellent visibility. Also, the shoreline extends to 1.3 miles and is lined with beaches and permanent residences.

And that is why it is on this list of the best fishing locations in Massachusetts. The fish species that abound here include:

  • Rainbow trout
  • Brook trout
  • Brown trout
  • Banded killifish
  • White perch
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Alewife
  • American eel

Notably, they stock the lake in spring and fall with rainbow, brook, and brown trout. Although they allow outboard motors, they impose a 7.5 horsepower limit. So, try trolling or casting colorful streamers close to the surface during the early spring or late fall to bag a holdover trout. Also, you can catch more recently stocked fish with spinners, small spoons, doughbaits and worms.

And if you’re equipped with chest waders, check out the wide shelf of shallow water and spend a day fly-fishing. Even though camping is not permitted at the lake, there are lots of well-equipped and comfortable accommodations nearby.


8. Spectacle Pond

Spectacle Pond

Spectacle Pond is close to Sandwich, just 2.3 miles from Forestdale. The pond is a 91-acre natural kettlehole pond that has an average depth of 19 feet, dropping to a maximum of 43 feet. In fact, the pond is two conjoined kettleholes separated by a shallow area of sandbars and an island. The fish species you’ll find here include:

  • Banded killifish
  • Brook trout
  • Brown trout
  • Bullhead
  • Largemouth bass
  • Pumpkinseed sunfish
  • Rainbow trout
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Yellow perch

They stock the pond every spring and fall with rainbow, brook, and brown trout. But most of the best fly-fishing action happens in the northern basin, during the late spring and summer. The broad shoreline makes for easy access to the water. Also, there’s a gravel ramp that’s suitable for launching canoes and car-top boats. And all this makes Spectacle Pond one of the best fishing locations in Massachusetts.


9. Spy Pond

Spy Pond

Spy Pond in Arlington County (located here) is a popular location for ice skating during the winter months. But the variety of fish species is what makes it one of the best fishing locations in Massachusetts. The 103-acre pond is home to the following types of fish:

  • Tiger muskellunge
  • White perch
  • Yellow perch
  • Chain pickerel
  • American eel
  • Carp
  • Bullhead
  • Bluegill
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Alewife
  • Golden shiner

Better yet, they regularly stock the pond with tiger muskie fingerlings. and largemouth bass are especially numerous and are typically above average size. Also, during the spring and summer months, you can catch carp with corn or bread crusts And they often reward anglers with fast initial runs and long, challenging battles.

Also, you can wade most of the shoreline. And if you don’t mind exploring, you can find access to a few small patches of open beach scattered around the pond. Ice fishing is popular here too. But those yellow perch and muskies provide some lively jigging action for those who brave the cold.

Although there’s no public ramp, it’s possible to launch canoes and car-top boats from the shore close to the parking lot. And finally, you can find accommodations at a number of close by locations.


10. Myles Standish State Forest

Myles Standish State Park

Myles Standish State Forest is close to Plymouth (located here). And it is the most expansive publicly-owned recreation area in southeastern Massachusetts. But it’s also an important natural habitat. The forest extends across Carver and Plymouth in the center of Cranberry County, just 45 miles south of Boston.

In the forest, you’ll find several fishing ponds, including Barrett, Federal, Charge and College Pond. With so many game fish up for grabs and ground to cover, you could make this a weekend trip or even spend a whole week exploring. And this is what makes this area one of the best fishing locations in Massachusetts.

Interestingly, Charge Pond is a great pond to start your Myles Standish State Forest fishing adventure. Charge is a 23-acre natural kettlehole pond that has an average depth of six feet and a maximum depth of 17 feet. And the water is clear up to about 14 feet because the pond is fed by an underground spring.

The shoreline is easily accessible with sandy beach areas and is surrounded by a well-equipped campground. However, you can also fish from a boat with an electric motor or from a canoe. The fish species you’ll find in Charge Pond include:

  • Yellow perch
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Pumpkinseeds
  • Largemouth bass
  • Banded killifish
  • American eel

And the pond has a decent population of largemouth bass, which is the primary gamefish here, reaching a good size. And finally, Myles Standish State Forest has five camping areas set around the edges of the park’s 16 ponds and tucked into the forest.


Reeling in Some Fish

Did you find your favorite in this list of the best fishing locations in Massachusetts? After all, Massachusetts is a brilliant place to visit if you’re a keen angler who enjoys freshwater or saltwater fishing, or a combination of both.

And the countryside scenery is beautiful, especially if you visit the state during the fall when the leaves are turning color. Also, the beaches and scenery along the Atlantic coast are an angler’s dream.

So whether you enjoy fly-fishing in pristine mountain trout streams or feeling the bracing sea air as you cast a line into the surf in search of monster striped bass, Massachusetts is a must-visit fishing location. There’s so much to see and do here. So it’s well worth extending your trip to visit the coast and take in a deep-sea fishing charter, too.

Where to Fish in Delaware: Lakes, Rivers, Streams & More Great Spots

Delaware County is well-known for its delicious blue-claw crabs and also its fishing. Whether you enjoy whiling away peaceful hours fishing pristine lakes teeming with bass, perch, and catfish, or if you are more at home fishing off the coast, Delaware has it all. These 10 best fishing locations in Delaware feature the top amenities and challenging game fish, too

The beach resorts of Delaware offer options for joining excursions or for chartering deep-sea boats and head boats. Deep-sea boats offer game fishermen the chance to land big, feisty fish, such as marlin and tuna, while head boats set hooks for striped bass and croakers.

For something different, try surf fishing from the shoreline of Fenwick Island, Cape Henlopen, and Delaware Seashore State Parks, where ocean catches include bluefish, sea bass and tilefish. For this activity, you need to get a surf fishing vehicle permit, which gives you direct vehicular access to the shoreline.

Top Fishing Locations

You can discover some of Delaware’s best fishing in its wide, scenic inland bays. While there, you can fish from a pier or by boat for flounder and striped bass. Crabbing from a pier for Delaware’s iconic blue-claw crabs is also a popular pastime.

For freshwater fishing, Delaware’s rivers, streams and ponds are popular haunts. Head to the river bank if you want to catch perch, bluegill, striped bass and catfish, or try the streams and ponds at White Clay Creek State Parks and Lums Pond, which are stocked with large-mouth bass and trout.

Here are the top 10 locations for fishing in Delaware. All of these locations are bursting with many different species of local fish sure to guarantee you a memorable fishing trip.


1. Killens Pond 

Killens Pond

Killens Pond is located in Killens Pond State Park, in Felton, Kent County. This impressive body of water covers 66 acres, so it’s never overcrowded. You can view the exact location in Google Maps. Killens Pond has boat launch facilities and shore access, as well as kayak, canoe and rowboat rentals. There are also cabins for those who want to extend their fishing trip.

Killens Pond offers an abundance of largemouth bass and a diverse gamefish population. This location features the top three fishing ponds in Delaware. It boasts the highest catch per angler hour, earning it a place on this list of the best fishing locations in Delaware.

An afternoon’s fishing at Killens Pond could provide you with any of the following species, depending on the season:

  • Largemouth bass
  • Catfish
  • Carp
  • Perch
  • Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Pickerel

Killens Park is nationally renowned for largemouth bass fishing. In 2013, a lucky angler at the pond saw the largest tournament course bass ever, weighing in at an impressive 7.6 pounds. To give yourself the best chance of landing a record-breaking bass, fish the pond from mid-May to mid-June before spawning commences.


2. White Clay Creek

White Clay Creek

White Clay Creek is located in White Clay Creek State Park, in Newark, Delaware and includes a number of separate small ponds. The location is popular with recreational anglers and offers a wide range of game fish including:

  • Bluegill
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth bass
  • Rainbow trout
  • Brown trout

The best time to go trout fishing is in the spring when the trout arrive in White Clay Creek. The trout fishing season runs from the first Saturday in April through June 30th, and from the first Saturday in October through November 30th. White Clay Creek is popular with dedicated trout anglers because they stock the creek regularly with brown and rainbow trout, ensuring a decent catch.

Note that this creek on this list of the best fishing locations in Delaware is closed to all fishing for two weeks prior to opening day of the trout season while spawning takes place. Year-round fishing is available in the Millstone and Cattail Ponds for those who want to try their luck with crappie, bluegill and bass. Note that bass is part of the catch-and-release program in Delaware.


3. Indian River Marina

Indian River

Indian River Marina is located within the Delaware Seashore State Park. The park is bordered to the west by Indian River Bay and Rehoboth Bay, and to the east by the mighty Atlantic Ocean. The Marina’s location is just minutes away from inland bays and the ocean, which is some of the finest fishing grounds on the East Coast. This is one of the most versatile places on this list of the best fishing locations in Delaware.

The Indian River Marina has Delaware’s biggest charter boat fleet. Here anglers can enjoy off-shore and in-shore fishing, jetty and surf fishing. For the more adventurous who seek the challenge of landing a big-game fish, there are experienced charters to deep-sea fishing grounds. For the competitive angler, they also hold fishing tournaments regularly.

The fish species you can expect to land in this location include:

  • Yellowfin tuna
  • White marlin
  • Wahoo
  • Tautog
  • Striped Bass (Rockfish)
  • Shark
  • Sea Bass
  • Flounder
  • Croaker
  • Bluefish
  • Bluefin tuna
  • Blue marlin
  • Bigeye tuna

4. Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier

Cape Henlopen

Keen pier fishermen can enjoy a great day of angling at Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier. The pier is located within Cape Henlopen State Park, Lewes, and one mile east of the Cape May – Lewes Ferry. Refurbished in 2016, the pier is open all year round, 24/7 and extends way out for a quarter mile, so it never gets overcrowded. There’s also a bait shop conveniently located on the pier. And once you’ve landed your supper, there are shops that will clean and prepare it for you.

The pier provides shelter and food for a wide variety of fish. The numbers are impressive, so it’s almost impossible to come back from a fishing excursion empty-handed. This makes it a great location for beginners and experts alike. If you fancy a spot of fly fishing, mornings alongside the pier are the best place for bluefish and sea trout. The pilings at the end of the pier are famous as a flounder hotspot. You can also fish this area from a kayak, if you’d like.

The main fish species thronging among the pier pilings include:

  • Striper
  • Croaker
  • Bluefish
  • Flounder
  • Sea trout
  • Bluefish

5. Broadkill Beach

Broadkill Beach

Broadkill Beach is to the north of Lewes on the Delaware Bay in Eastern Sussex County. The exact location can be found on here. Broadkill Beach does not attract many beachgoers who may conflict with a day’s fishing. This is largely because of the population of sand flies that inhabit the beach. If you don’t mind the flies, this is a lucrative, quiet fishing spot for surf fishermen, so it belongs on this list of the best fishing locations in Delaware.

Fish species you can find in numbers here include:

  • Striper
  • Bluefish
  • Black drum

The best baits to bring to this location include bunker, clams, bloodworms and mullet. When the blues are biting, try bucktails and spoons. And bring plenty of extra grubs for your bucktails, as the bluefish will make frustratingly short work of them.


6. 3R’s Beach

3Rs Beach Delaware

3R’s Beach is situated on the south side of the Indian River Inlet within the Delaware Seashore State Park, which is easily accessible from Route 1. You can see the location here. The beach offers plenty of space for surf fishing enthusiasts, and if you have a permit, you can park right on the beach. This sandy beach is also a great spot for catching the sun while taking a break from surf fishing.

The strong Atlantic current that continually rolls into the estuary makes 3R’s Beach an extremely good spot for Atlantic striped bass. In fact, this location holds the current Delaware striper record of 52 pounds. If you’re planning to spend a day fishing the surf at this location, you should be aware that this beach has a quick drop-off.

However, a surf pole in the eight to 12-foot range should get your bait to the fish with no problem. During the summer months, use a 15 to 20-pound test line to bring in the best results. Also, watch for birds diving into the water for the best place to cast.


7. Bubblegum Beach

Bubblegum Beach

Bubblegum beach is close to the Coast Guard Station at the Indian River Inlet. You can find a link to the location here. This spot is particularly popular for its good flounder bite, and there is also a healthy population of rockfish, too.

While you’re waiting for bottom feeders to bite, keep a weather eye out for small sharks and Mahi Mahi, both of which swim near this location. If you’re lucky, you might even sight a whale cruising past in the deeper waters off the shoreline.

There are also deeper areas that you can check out if you have the right equipment to find fish in deeper waters.  You’ll also want to make sure you have the right rod and reel to withstand the pressure that bigger fish can bring.

As with all the surf fishing locations in Delaware, you need a permit to bring your vehicle right onto the beach. At this location you can expect to catch:

  • Flounder
  • Rockfish

8. Delaware River System

Delaware River State Park

If you are a keen fly fisherman, the Delaware River system offers plenty of great sport. The system includes two tail-water rivers, the West and East Branches. Both rivers converge on the town of Hancock, forming the main Delaware river. The Delaware river system is one of the premier dry fly fisheries on the East Coast, if not the world.

A good base for your fishing excursion on the Delaware River is the West Branch Angler Resort. In addition to cabins for extended stays, the resort offers drift boat rentals and guided fly fishing to take you straight to the locations most likely to yield a good catch.

The fly fishing season begins in early April and runs right through the summer into the fall. A combination of summer-long cool waters and a wide variety of bug life provides the perfect conditions for wild trout. Streamer and nymph fishing are also effective for hooking rainbow and brown trout here. You can find directions and contact information for the resort at this link.


9. Brandywine Creek

Brandywine Creek

Brandywine Creek is situated close to Delaware’s largest city, Wilmington. This prime fishing location lies within the Brandywine Creek State Park, which you can see here. This gloriously scenic park enjoys 933 acres of pristine wood and marshland. It contains two nature preserves, Freshwater Marsh and Tulip Tree Woods, which are home to many varieties of regionally indigenous fauna and flora.

The Brandywine Creek bankside fishing spots are accessible via several well-maintained park trails, making it one of the the best fishing locations in Delaware for sure. You can also hire a kayak if you prefer to fish on the water. The species of fish you can expect to hook on the Brandywine include:

10. Beck’s Pond

Becks Pond

Beck’s Pond is in New Castle County, Delaware, here. The large
mouth bass is the main attraction here, with visitors and resident fishermen choosing this location over any other freshwater fishing pond in the whole state. Although the pond is popular, in 1990, park management introduced take and size restrictions to protect stock levels, so the bass flourish there today.

Anglers must adhere to a strict 15-inch minimum size limit on bass and only take two per day. In addition, the pond has water quality issues. Park management advises anglers against the long-term consumption of fish caught here. However, the pond offers a rewarding day’s fishing, hence its popularity.

Fish species that anglers regularly land at Beck’s Pond include:

  • Largemouth bass
  • Black crappie
  • White crappie
  • Yellow perch
  • Bluegill

Parting Thoughts

Delaware offers plenty of choices and variations for anglers, regardless of what species of fish they want to catch. Delaware’s fishing locations are also some of the most beautiful and scenically diverse in the whole United States.

Whether you are a holiday leisure fisherman or a serious angler, a trip to some of Delaware’s surf, lake, or deep-sea fishing locations is a must. In addition to enjoying the fabulous fishing opportunities, you’ll be able to soak up some rays on the beach or wind down over a leisurely lunch of locally caught blue-crab in one of the many seafood restaurants in the area.

Fishing in Alaska: The Kenai River, Cook Inlet, Homer & More

Alaska is the most northwestern state in the US. Renowned for its majestic mountain scenery and abundant wildlife, Alaska also has plenty to please the keen fisherman.

Inland, you’ll find glacial lakes and crystal clear rivers, while the rugged coastline is the most extensive in the US, longer than that of all the other US states combined.  There’s more fishing space in Alaska than there are in a number of other quality fishing states like Colorado or California.

Highway fishing in this State is legendary, drawing anglers from all around the world. As you travel along the Alaska Highway, you’ll quickly realize that you’ve reached fishing heaven; everywhere you look there are opportunities to cast a line.  There are specific seasons where finding certain fish is better than others (like salmon) but overall, Alaska is an amazing place to fish year round.

Let’s look at the licenses you’ll need, as well as our 10 favorite spots.

Licenses

To fish legally in Alaska, non-residents who are aged 16 years of age or above are required to purchase and hold a sports fishing license. Also, you will need a king salmon stamp if you want to fish for this species of fish. Be aware that these laws apply to fishing in both marine and fresh waters.

You can obtain a sports fishing license and a king salmon stamp at this online link, at most sporting goods stores in the Stage, and at Alaska Fish and Game offices. If you book your fishing adventure via an organized tour company, they will arrange any requisite licensing for you.

Top 10 Fishing Locations

We’ve put together our top 10 Alaskan fishing locations in this guide.

No matter what kind of fish you’re after, you’ll be sure of a good day’s sport at any of these specially chosen locations.

It’s easy enough to find out what kind of fish can be fished for in Alaska, but we’ve got exact locations for your best catch in our complete guide below.


1. Innoko River

Innoku River

The Innoko River is well-known as one of the best places to find Northern pike. If you’re a water wolf specialist, you could confidently expect to land a trophy-sized beast here. In fact, fish up to 30 pounds in weight are not uncommon in these waters.

The exact location is shown at this link in Google Maps.

You should be aware that reaching this area can present a challenge. For this reason, the Holy Grail of Pike Fishing as it’s known is best accessed via charter. The Innoko river is wildness country at its most wild. Don’t be surprised to see moose wandering here too.


2. Afognak Wilderness Lodge

Afognak Wilderness

Ocean fishing in Alaska is really at its very best in the area surrounding the Afognak Wilderness Lodge. The accommodation is excellent, and access to the fishing grounds is easy.

This area is the spot to head to if you enjoy ocean fishing. Fish species you can expect to encounter here include:

  • Halibut
  • Lingcod
  • Rockfish
  • Sockeye salmon
  • Silver salmon
  • Pollock
  • Lunkers

Fishing here can be somewhat season-dependent. If you hope to go after King salmon, some of which can weigh up to 25 pounds, you’ll need to visit this resort from mid-June through to the end of July. If you’re after Pink salmon, the month of August is the best time to try your luck, so it’s a very short window! By contrast, silver salmon are here anytime from mid-August through mid-October.

The location of the Afognak Wilderness Lodge can be found at this link in Google Maps.


3. Kobuk River

Kobuk River

The Kobuk River begins among the sheer Arrigetch Peaks in the Gateway to the Arctic National Park. The Kobuk flows for over 300 miles through forest and tundra, until it reaches the Chukchi Sea. This destination is the very definition of wilderness and is best reached by floatplane.

The Kobuk has the best fishing of any of the Brooks Range rivers. In July, the following species arrive to spawn, presenting a perfect angling opportunity:

  • Arctic Grayling
  • Northern pike
  • Sheefish

On your journey to the fishing grounds, you may catch a glimpse of grizzly bears, beaver, moose, lynx, and wolves, making this the perfect trip for wildlife lovers too.

Sheefish are the primary target of most anglers who visit the Kobuk. They’re often energetic and challenging creatures to land, some weighing up to 30 pounds. And they taste great when cooked over a campfire under the stars with the sound of wolves howling in the background!

You’ll find the Gates to the Arctic National Park at this location on Google Maps.


4. Denali Highway

Denali Highway

The Denali Highway runs for 135 miles from Cantwell to Paxson, crossing over the south area of the Alaska Range and connecting the Parks and Richardson highways.

This road is mainly gravel, so your speed won’t get much over 50 mph, depending on the surface conditions. Note that the Highway is closed from October through mid-May due to the winter weather. If you’re hiring a car, make sure that you hire one that’s appro
ved for use on this road, as not all are.

There are plenty suitable camping areas here, and the fishing is rated as some of the best in the State.

The area’s water system is very well-populated with Arctic Grayling and various species of trout. There are numerous streams here that wind their way through the tranquil scenery. Together with your camping gear, be sure to bring plenty of black gnats and nymphs, and settle down to enjoy a peaceful afternoon’s fly fishing.

You’ll find details on the location of the Denali Highway, here.


5. Southeastern Panhandle

Alaska Panhandle

The panhandle of the southeastern region of Alaska is world-renowned for steelhead. Steelheads are the sea-run form of the coastal rainbow trout. These fish live for two to three years in the ocean, before heading inland to their freshwater spawning grounds. Steelheads can put up an incredible fight and will present a challenge for even the most experienced angler.

The best time to pursue these enigmatic and beautiful fish is in the spring when the fish enter the river systems.

If fly fishing is your bag, the steelhead will indeed present you with a challenge. Steelheads make satisfying eating too, especially when cooked over your fire at the end of a memorable day spent waist-deep in one of the areas glacial streams.

Take time out to visit one of the many panhandle inlets, and you’re sure to find steelhead aplenty.


6. Wasilla Lake

Wasilla Lake

Wasilla lake is close to Palmer, Anchorage, and Wasilla. The lakes are stocked with many different species by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, including:

  • King salmon
  • Silver salmon
  • Rainbow trout
  • Arctic char
  • Arctic Grayling

A trip to this location offers much sport for the leisure fisherman. Of course, there are fish to be had here during the winter months too, and for a somewhat different experience, you might like to try your hand at ice fishing.

Once the winter ice forms, silver, and King salmon become landlocked, remaining active underneath the ice and just waiting to be caught! You’re pretty much guaranteed of catching something, making ice fishing the ideal winter adventure for the whole family.

The average fish size is 12 to 18 inches – not trophy-size, but tasty eating nonetheless. You may be lucky and land a 30-inch specimen, but be prepared for chaos and mayhem! The bigger fish will make strong runs underneath the ice, pulling line off the reel and potentially catching an exposed hook on the ice and getting free.

In addition to trout and salmon, the winter time is a good season for catching Arctic char. During the summer months, these chunky fish head for cooler water, placing them at depths where they’re out of the reach of anglers. Wintertime sees the char frequenting depths of less than 15 feet, leaving them vulnerable to the ice fisherman.

Ice fishing does require some knowledge and technique, as well as the right gear. You can either hire specialized equipment or book an ice fishing experience with a river guide who will provide the right kit and do everything for you.

The ice fishing season is dictated by the weather and by how quickly the lakes freeze over. Typically, conditions are right from late November or early December, through to the end of March.


7. Kenai River

Kenai River

The Kenai River is famous for its salmon, especially for King salmon, or Chinook as they’re known locally. Chinook is the biggest species of salmon, making it one of the reasons so many anglers have landing one firmly on their bucket list.

The fisheries that sit along the Kenai River have taken their toll on the Chinook population, but there is still plenty of fish here, and some beautiful specimens can always be found lurking in deep ponds and underwater caves. In addition to King salmon, you can encounter the following species here:

  • Silver salmon
  • Red salmon
  • Rainbow trout

Note that fishing opportunities on the Kenai River do change, depending on the season, from the runs of different salmon species to catch-and-release trophy char and rainbow trout. It’s advisable to arrange your trip with an experienced river guide to be assured of the best opportunities and sport.


8. Kodiak Island Archipelago

Kodiak Island Alaska

If you want to enjoy a truly remote fishing experience, head to the Kodiak Island Archipelago. The Archipelago is 177 miles long and has the large island of Kodiak at its center. To access the best remote fishing spots you’ll need to charter a boat or take a float plane to find the well-populated bays and streams on many of the smaller islets.

Your principal targets when fishing this area are salmon and halibut, and you’ll enjoy less competition in this serene wilderness environment than you would do in other more readily accessible resorts. Options for overnight accommodation include remote lodges and state park cabins that are available for rent.

Although you can camp out under the stars, remember that you are a guest in the wilderness here, and your vacation neighbors do include bears!


9. Cook Inlet

Cook Inlet

 

If you enjoy kayak fishing, you might want to consider a trip to the Cook Inlet.

The first thing to note about kayak fishing in the Cook Inlet is that it is NOT for beginners. The waters here have the second largest tidal exchange anywhere on the planet! From low to high water, the change can be over 30 feet vertically! The wind generally blows north or south, and the currents can run up to five knots. It’s therefore crucial that you plan your fishing excursion carefully around the tides.

It’s recommended that you fish for an hour or two before the tide turns. At this time, the current speed will be minimal, giving you a window of around four hours’ fishing time. Always try to stay up-current of the launch site to reduce the risk of drifting.

There are some good launch sites from the north to the south of the inlet, and each presents its own set of challenges.

Species you can expect to encounter when fishing the Cook Inlet include:

  • Halibut
  • King salmon
  • Cod

King salmon are usually found within 100 feet of the shoreline, and halibut can be caught here too, although it can be better out deeper.  You should make sure to bring a fish finder for better luck, and make sure you have the right rod and reel while you fish. Your best set up is a 6 to 10-ounce trolling sinker ahead of a flasher and herring. Be sure to keep your leader lengths shorter than you would do when fishing from a boat, or you’ll struggle to net the fish.

Paddle up-current to troll. The line angle and action of the bait are the most important thing here, not how much headway you make.


10. Homer

Homer Alaska

Homer is widely known as the “Halibut Fishing Capital of the World.” In fact, sports fishing, commercial fishing, and tourism are Homer’s leading industries. Although the area is known for its deep-sea fishing, it’s also very popular with kayakers on the hunt for rockfish and flounder. Depending on the time of the year, you can even land some big King salmon here.

The best way to kayak fish Homer’s waters is to book yourself onto a guided trip. All the necessary gear will be provided for you, and experienced local guides will make sure that you visit the most productive waters for the time of year.

While paddling between fishing locations, you can expect to encounter wildlife, including sea otters, porpoises, orca, and several species of eagle.


Parting Thoughts

Alaska is a land of spectacular wilderness scenery and is home to some of the most productive sport fishing locations in the US.

Regardless of whether you’re a fly fisherman casting for trout, a kayak angler up for the challenge of battling offshore currents and tides in search of halibut or flounder, or you want to sample the delights of drilling and fishing through an ice hole in the depths of winter, Alaska has it all.

Where to Fish in Georgia: Lakes, Rivers, Coastlines & More

The State of Georgia is located in the southeast of the US. Famous for hosting the Masters’ Golf Tournament, Georgia’s varied terrain includes coastal beaches, mountains, and vast expanses of farmland.

Georgia’s officially designated State fish is the largemouth bass. However, you’ll find a dizzying array of game fish here, including rainbow trout in crystal clear mountain streams, feisty hand-size bluegill, and even giant grouper off the coast.

If saltwater fishing is your thing, you’ll love the three dozen artificial reefs that are managed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Here you’ll see red snapper, grouper, bluefish, cobia, black sea bass, and amberjack.

Spotted sea trout and red drum abound in the many creeks and rivers that flow into the ocean. If you don’t want to hire a boat and head offshore, you’ll still find flounder, black drum, and sheepshead off docks and piers.

Fishing Licenses 

To fish legally in Georgia, if you’re over 16 years of age, you’ll need a valid fishing license.

Fishing licenses can be obtained from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division, from a local agent (call 800-366-2661), or from the Wildlife Resources Division website.

Also, you’ll need a free Saltwater Information Permit if you intend to fish in saltwater.

A separate trout license is required if you want to take a trip to the mountains in search of trout. However, you can opt for a day license instead if you want to. Note that trout season opens on the last Saturday in March and runs till October 31.

Our 10 Favorite Locations

There are so many fabulous fishing spots to choose from; it’s hard to know where to start!

And when you’re tired of fishing, you might want to take a trip to check out the marshlands of Camden, Chatham, Glynn, Liberty, or McIntosh counties.

All of these locations are designated as official shellfish harvest areas where you can pick yourself some fresh clams and oysters to go with the day’s catch.

So, in no particular order, here are our top 10 best fishing locations in Georgia.


1. The Chattahoochee River

Chattahoochee River

If you’re an enthusiast trout fisherman, you have to take a trip to the Chattahoochee River (located here), south of Georgia’s capital city, Atlanta.

Fish species you’ll find in these pristine waters include:

  • Rainbow trout
  • Striped bass
  • Catfish

The river here stays cool all year, never rising above 500F, making it perfect trout and bass territory.

The River within the park is open to fishermen from half an hour before sunrise till half an hour after sunset, so bring your sunglasses. Night fishing is not permitted within the park. Note that fishing or seining the river with live bait fish is not allowed.

The best spot for trout is the area below the dam, where the water temperature is coolest. Try fishing here with small worms, blue-winged olives, small jig lures, or nymphs for best results.

During the summer months, huge striped bass can be found migrating from the connected lakes to the cooler river waters. Look for these monsters in deep holes and creek mouths.

Although many anglers prefer to fish from a boat, the access to the river is pretty good for those who want to try their luck casting, and there’s plenty of fish for everyone!


2. Clarks Hill Lake

Clarks Hill Lake

Clarks Hill Lake (located here) is located on the Savannah River and enjoys over 1,200 miles of shoreline. With over 250 islands scattered over 71,000 acres, there are limitless fishing opportunities here, and the spot is understandably extremely popular with anglers.

The lake is a man-made reservoir that’s stocked with plenty of hybrid, largemouth, and striped bass. Fishing is good here all year round. Try drifting live bait such a blueback herring downriver for decent size hybrids and stripers. Local knowledge recommends jigging spoons for a decent strike rate.

As well as bass, there are crappie here, lurking under structures around the lake and its islands. Small minnows are very effective live bait, and small jigs work well too.

So vast is the lake and its environs, that hiring a fishing guide is probably the best way to maximize your chances.

There are camping areas around the lake and a few lakeside cabins too. Facilities are excellent here, with toilets, a boat ramp, a dock, picnic shelters, and fish cleaning stations.


3. Lake Oconee

Lake Oconee Georgia

Lake Oconee (found at this location) is vast! This enormous body of water in central Georgia covers almost 20,000 acres and has a shoreline of almost 400 miles. Lake Oconee is a reservoir located on the Oconee River near Greensboro and Eatonton.

Fishing in Lake Oconee is an experience not to be missed! Fish species you can expect to find in numbers here include:

  • Largemouth bass
  • Bluegill
  • Sunfish
  • Crappie
  • White bass
  • Hybrid striped bass
  • Channel catfish
  • White catfish
  • Blue catfish
  • Flathead catfish

If you’re looking for bass, focus on deeper rocky banks and boat docks during the winter. In spring, use spinnerbaits and jerkbaits in the shallower water around fallen trees, stumps, and boat docks. Summer calls for deep-diving crankbaits along the main lake points, deep ridges, and river channels. In fall, fish shallow running crankbaits and spinnerbaits, keying-in on the backs of creek arms.

For catfish, bluegill, live shad, worms, and cut bait are best for flatheads, especially on hot and humid summer nights and early in the mornings.

There are several campgrounds and RV parks around the lake, all of which have excellent facilities.


4. Simons Island

Simons Island Georgia

For anglers who want the best of both worlds, St. Simons Island is a coastal fishing paradise. The Island lies within the Golden Islands off the Georgia coast and is well-known for its sandy beaches and salt marshes.

From St. Simons Pier, you can take in the ocean air, cast a line, and enjoy the panoramic views of Jekyll Island while you’re waiting for a bite. If you’re lucky, you might even see pods of migrating whales cruising through the deeper water.

Offshore fishing

Off the coast of the Golden Isles, you’ll encounter two game fish that draw anglers from across the US: red snapper and tarpon.

Tarpon have a fearsome reputation for being determined fighters, sometimes taking experienced anglers up to half an hour to land a 75-pound specimen. Deeper waters will see you battling red snapper that can be just as feisty, but their delicious flesh is well-worth the effort when cooked over open coals at the end of a successful fishing charter.

Tarpon frequent these waters throughout the summer. Red snapper are more commonly seen in July and August.

Surf fishing

Surf casting from the beautiful beaches of St. Simons Island is a favorite pastime with anglers chasing redfish (also known as red drum). Redfish in these waters commonly reach 40-inches long and over 30-pounds in weight, presenting you with an exciting and exhilarating challenge! The best time for redfish is late summer and fall, especially in October.

Fly fishing

Fly fisherman will enjoy casting from a kayak or flats boat in the tidal rivers and estuaries that surround St. Simons and Little St. Simons Island. These are somewhat forgotten fisheries that escape the crowds found at other East Coast locations, making them well worth a visit.

Here you’ll find plentiful stocks and varied species, including:

  • Redfish
  • Spanish mackerel
  • Trout
  • Cobia
  • Tripletail
  • Jack Crevalle
  • Tarpon

Fishing the estuaries is good all year round, but can be especially profitable during late summer and fall.

St. Simons Island has plenty of good hotels for those anglers wishing to extend their stay in this idyllic fisherman’s heaven.


5. Lake Allatoona

Lake Allatoona Georgia

Lake Allatoona is located here, 30 miles to the north of Atlanta, extending from southeastern Bartow County and southwestern Cherokee County. This US Army Corps of Engineers 11,860-acre reservoir sits on the Etowah River, surrounded by beautiful countryside.

Fish species that abound in the Lake include:

  • Largemouth bass
  • Catfish
  • Spotted bass
  • Hybrid bass
  • Striped bass
  • Crappie
  • The Common Carp
  • Gar
  • Bream
  • Bluegill
  • Redbreast sunfish
  • Redear sunfish

You may also come across a lake sturgeon. These ancient fish were reintroduced here in 2008 in an effort to reestablish this native species in this part of the Etowah River system. In the unlikely event that you catch one of these prehistoric relics, you must release it immediately.

If you’re hunting bass, use small-size jig-and-pig or a jighead worm, casting towards the lake banks. If you prefer live bait, use minnows. For the biggest largemouths, try fishing the shallow coves, and look out for logs or fallen trees in the water where lunkers often lurk.

Spotted bass prefer deeper water. Vertical jigging spoons and plastic worms are the bait of choice here. For hybrids, try 5-inch shad for live bait, or shad-patterned spinnerbait.

Lake Allatoona has good access, free boat ramps, and free parking. There are also plenty of camping opportunities and nearby lodgings for those who want to extend their stay in this idyllic and productive fishing spot.


6. Lake Seminole

Lake Seminole Georgia

Lake Seminole (found at this link) is a 37,500-acre US Army Corps reservoir that lies in southwest Georgia along the border with Florida.

The Lake is home to some monster largemouth bass and draws anglers from across the State. The lush aquatic vegetation and vast stands of timber provide the ideal habitat for big bass. In addition to the official State fish, you’ll also find:

  • Bluegill
  • Redear sunfish
  • Black crappie
  • Sunshine bass
  • Striped bass
  • Panfish

Note that the Lake springs are closed to fishing from May 1 through November 1. However, cool water creeks are open, and this is where you’ll find stripers and sunshine bass escaping the summer heat.

Near the dam where there’s some water flow, you’ll find small stripers and hybrids. Look flocks of birds working schools of shad, and try casting spoons or diving plugs to catch gamefish feeding beneath. Alternatively, try working poppers and surface plugs near to the bait.

The flats are an awesome spot for largemouth bass if you fish late or early, especially the Cornfield and the Man-Made-Island. Fish vertically along the channels to catch bass moving into deeper water during the hot weather.

Throughout the summer, shellcracker and bream continue to bed, especially around the full moon. Look out too for panfish as they head for deeper water in late summer. Fly-fish after dark along the banks for bream, using glow bugs. For the most action, choose dark nights or fish around the time of the new moon.

There are plenty of campsites around the Lake, together with lodgings. Access is good with boat ramps, a marina, and plenty of free parking.


7. Lake Lanier

Lake Lanier

Lake Lanier (located here) is a 38,000-acre reservoir that extends into the northern portion of the State. This extensive body of water was created in 1956 by the completion of the Buford Dam on the Chattahoochee River and is fed by the Chestatee River. Lanier is the largest of Georgia’s lakes, boasting a 700-mile shoreline.

The tremendous largemouth and spotted bass fishing here sees the Lake playing host to dozens of fishing tournaments and attracts hundreds of recreational anglers every year. Since its creation, the Georgia Game and Fishing Commission has stocked the Lake with many species, including:

  • Largemouth bass
  • Walleye
  • Bluegill
  • Rainbow trout
  • Striped bass
  • Crappie
  • Brown trout
  • Brook trout
  • Spotted bass
  • White bass
  • Several types of Catfish
  • Panfish
  • Gar
  • Carp

If you’re after live bait, the lake is home to thread-fin shad, blueback herring, larger gizzard shad, and spottail minnows.

There are over 45 parks and ten campgrounds around the shores of the Lake. You’ll find RV hook-ups, boat ramps, and picnic areas here too. The surrounding area offers a wide variety of restaurants and entertainment, and Atlanta city is only a 30-minute drive away.


8. Flint River

Flint River Georgia

The Flint River (located here) flows from the south into Lake Seminole. The clear, rippling water flows over purifying limestone shoals through glorious scenery. This popular fishing spot is famous among anglers across the State as the only location where you’ll find the shoal bass, a rare hybrid between the smallmouth  and largemouth bass.

Shoal bass can be found anywhere on the upper Flint River, but the stretch between Thomaston and Gay provides the best habitat for them. March through November is the best time to fish for shoal bass. Use topwater baits to plastic worms and fish the shoals by wading.

The Flint is not all about shoal bass. Other more abundant flat water species here include:

  • Largemouth bass
  • Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Shellcracker
  • Channel catfish
  • Flathead catfish

Look for 30-pound plus flatheads in the deepest water around the river bends.

Access to the Flint is pretty good. Away from the shoals, beware of rapids between Gay and Thomaston that can become dangerous at high water.


9. Big Lazer Creek

Big Lazer Creek Georgia

Big Lazer Creek is located here, in Talbotton, Talbot County. Facilities here are excellent. There’s a fishing pier, boat ramp, fish cleaning station, and canoe access. Restrooms and picnic areas are on hand for visitors, and there are campsites for those wishing to extend their stay.

This 195-acre body of water is teeming with bluegill, channel catfish, largemouth bass, and crappie. The Lake has roughly 15 acres of standing timber, and fish attractors are installed around the fishing pier, increasing your chances of landing a monster!

Fish in the early morning with top-water baits around the shoreline to fool hungry bass. Later in the day, try using swimming lures around the edges of dense timber or pitch weedless baits into thick cover.

From late April and early May, shellcracker and bluegill become the prey of choice for many anglers. Live crickets and worms will pay dividends for these species. Once the water temperatures warm up in May, bream can be found spawning on beds. Bobbers will tempt bream to bite as they aggressively defend their nests.

For the full low-down on how to fill your creel at this location, check out this excellent Big Lazer Creek Fishing Guide before you go for some excellent fishing tips!


10. Flat Creek

Flat Creek Georgia

For anglers seeking to land shellcracker or bluegill, a trip to Flat Creek (located here) is an absolute must! That said, you’ll also find channel catfish, largemouth bass, and black crappie thriving in these waters.

Flat Creek,
south of Perry, Houston County is home to 108-acre Lonice C. Barrett Lake and is managed to offer anglers some genuinely excellent bream fishing.

For bream, you’ll find the best bite is from March through June. Redear typically bite better in the early spring. The largemouth bass population is best hunted during the summer months in areas of cooler, deep water. For the best catfish bite, you need to visit from May through July.

For detailed information on how to maximize your fishing experience at Flat Creek, check out this fabulous fishing guide.

The facilities at Flat Creek are excellent and include:

  • Concrete boat ramp
  • Fish cleaning station
  • Picnic areas
  • Restrooms

Most of these amenities are disability adapted.


Final Thoughts

The laid-back, scenic State of Georgia offers some genuinely memorable fishing experiences all year round.

Choose from man-made, well-stocked lakes teeming with bass, crappie, and bream, or head to the beautiful Golden Islands in search of redfish and tarpon.

End the day with a glass of local wine, a delicious meal, and some fisherman’s tales at one of the State’s many restaurants, while you plan your return trip to this outstanding angler’s heaven.

Fishing in Colorado: 10 Awesome Locations For Your Next Fishing Trip

When you’re planning a fishing vacation, the State of Colorado has something to please everyone, from seasoned anglers to kids who are just learning the art.

No matter what time of the year you visit, Colorado’s 6,000-miles of fishable streams and rivers 2,000 reservoirs and lakes are teeming with fish.

There are rich Gold Medal waters here too, all of which are designated as the very best spots to land the most and the largest fish.

If you enjoy fishing species-rich habitats surrounded by towering mountains, dense pine forests, and miles of sparkling waterways, Colorado won’t disappoint.

Fishing Licenses

To fish legally in Colorado, you must have an annual license, which runs from April 1 through March 31.

For non-residents and vacationers, you can also buy daily licenses. Licenses can be obtained from license agents, online, from Colorado Parks and Wildlife offices, or by phoning 800-244-5613.

When it comes to choosing suitable places to fish, look out for signs indicating whether the property you’re entering is private or not. Public fishing areas generally have rules posted, indicating what type of fishing is permitted. Some locations only allow fly-fishing or specify that only live bait or artificial lures may be used.

Colorado Fishing 101

Colorado is world famous for its trout fishing, and fly-fishers come here for the hard-fighting trout that inhabit the waterways and lakes. With this in mind, it’s of little surprise that the official state fish of Colorado is the elusive greenback cutthroat trout.

The trout species that you can expect to land in Colorado include cutthroats, rainbows, brooks, lakes, and browns. Also, Kokanee salmon can be found in a few West Coast areas, and wiper fish, mountain whitefish, largemouth bass, and northern pike can be caught here too.

Ice fishing in Colorado is extremely popular with the hardy fisherman who doesn’t mind the dry cold of winter in this State. The primary ice fishing season runs from December through late February. For advice on what locations, bait, equipment and tackle will yield the best results, ask at one of the many local tackle shops.

On all lakes, you must beware of ice conditions, especially if you’re fishing in a location below 8,000-feet in elevation. Before you step out onto the ice, check that conditions are suitable and stay safe.

Our 10 Favorite Locations

There are probably over 200 different fishing locations in Colorado, so narrowing it down is no easy task.  With that being said, you also need to be able to maximize your efficiency while still enjoying your time outdoors.

So, here are ten of our favorite fishing spots in the State of Colorado. Whichever you choose, you’re sure to fill your quota and enjoy your time in the great outdoors!

1. Gore Creek

Gore Creek Colorado

Gore Creek (located here) is little more than a stream, but it’s still one of the most popular and best fishing spots in Colorado. Gore Creek runs right through busy Vail. Access points to this location are via public parks, and it’s not the quietest spot you’ll fish in Colorado.

Having said that, if you want to land some large trout, it’s worth heading for the Gold Medal section where Red Sandstone Creek enters the Gore, just west of Vail, and continues to Eagle River in the west at the Leadville exit off 1-70.

You’re only permitted to fish with artificial lures and flies here, and the minimum size for trout is 16-inches. The catch-and-keep limit is two, although anglers are encouraged to put all fish back to preserve stocks.

Species you can expect to find here include:

  • Cutthroat trout
  • Rainbow trout
  • Brook trout
  • Brown trout

In the winter, Vail is a popular ski resort so you’ll find plenty of hotel accommodation, restaurants, and bars.

2. Vrain State Park, Longmont

Vrain State Park Colorado

 If you’re vacationing with your family, St. Vrain State Park, Longmont (located here) is well-worth a visit. The park is close to both Denver and Fort Collins for those who prefer hotel accommodation, but you can camp in the park for more of an outdoor experience.

The park has no fewer than seven fishing ponds. The ponds at Mallard and Sandpiper are the best spots for families, thanks to their proximity to amenities and ample parking space. The Park’s ponds are very well-stocked with a variety of species including:

  • Rainbow trout
  • Channel catfish
  • Largemouth bass
  • Yellow perch
  • Bluegill
  • Sauger
  • Black crappie
  • Redear sunfish
  • Water Wolves aka Northern pike

Trout fishing is especially productive during the fall. Experienced anglers might want to check out Great Blue Heron Reservoir and Bald Eagle Pond (trophy bass ponds), although both these ponds operate a catch-and-release for all bass caught.

Bowfishing for suckers, pike, and common carp is allowed, provided you have a valid fishing license.

When the kids get bored with fishing, there are lots of easy hiking and biking trails, and kayak fishing is permitted on all the lakes. In winter, you can watch bald eagles, and all year round you’ll see blue herons, egrets, and many other feathered species.

The Park is open all year round, and you can come ice fishing here too during the winter season.

3. Chipeta Lake State Wildlife Area

Uncompahgre River

Chipeta Lake, which is located here, sits in the shadow of the spectacular San Juan Mountains in Montrose County. The location is ideal for families as you can drive right up to the Lake, the banks are shallow, and there’s plenty of casting room.

Also, the Lake is so well-stocked with fish that it’s almost impossible not to catch something here!  It’s not very deep at all, so you can leave your fish tracking equipment at home.

Species that you can expect to catch here include:

  • Smallies aka Smallmouth Bass
  • Largemouth bass
  • Rainbow trout

Note that there’s no camping allowed in the park, but the town of Montrose is located nearby for overnight accommodation if required.

4. Chambers Lake

Chambers Lake

 Chambers Lake is located close to the towns of Walden and Rustic. The lake is a 250-acre man-made body of water, situated about seven miles to the east of the top of Cameron Pass on Highway 14. There’s a boat ramp, water, restrooms, and a campground.

The most commonly landed species of fish are rainbow and cutthroat trout. However, other species include lake trout and the hard-fighting Kokanee salmon. Some lake trout can measure a rod-bending 16 to 18-inches. Fish the deeper areas of the lake for these monsters with the right reel and rod setup.

When fishing for lake trout, try jigging near steep drop-offs. Steep slopes on the east side of the lake are a good spot to try, especially early or late in the day when cruising fish make likely targets.

If you’re after rainbow trout, try the inlet bay. Kokanee salmon can be landed with medium sized spinners and spoons and by using small jigs when ice fishing. During the summer months, trolling from a boat is the most effective method. Note that snagging is not allowed.

For more information on ice conditions during ice fishing season and current fishing reports, contact the Fort Collins Department of Wildlife on 970-472-4300. For good bait shops where you’ll also get good fishing spot recommendations, take a trip to Walden.

5. Eleven Mile Reservoir

Eleven Mile Reservoir

Eleven Mile Reservoir is located close to the towns of Lake George, Hartsel, and Fairplay, where you’ll find some good bait shops and overnight accommodation if required.

The 3,400-acre reservoir is popular with anglers in search of large rainbow trout, which regularly reach the 14 to 20-inch range. Other species that you could catch here include:

  • Cutthroat trout
  • Brown trout
  • Northern pike
  • Kokanee salmon

If you’re in search of Kokanee salmon, focus your efforts in the area to the north side of the reservoir in the river current, known locally by anglers as the “Dream Stream.”

There are some fishing restrictions in place at this location. Only lure and fly-fishing are permitted, and a catch-and-release policy is in place within 100-feet of the mouth of the inlet. All areas within the reservoir where fishing is prohibited or restricted are marked with buoys. Also, fishing is prohibited from any dock or island.

Fish quotas

To preserve stocks in this popular location, the following bag limits are imposed:

  • If you fish for trout, you may catch up to four fish, of which only two can be longer than 16-inches.
  • There’s no bag or possession limit on Northern pike.
  • You may catch 10 Kokanee salmon daily, all year around.

Full fishing reports and ice conditions can be obtained from Eleven Mile State Park on 719-748-3401.

Note that although boating is allowed on the reservoir, no diesel, propane, gasoline, or electric motors are permitted. To preserve the water quality of the reservoir, swimming and other water-body contact activities are not allowed.

6. Upper Arkansas River

Arkansas River in Colorado

For over 102 miles from its confluence with the Lake Fork of the Arkansas River near Leadville to Canon City (located here), the Arkansas River falls almost 5,000-feet, passing through beautiful sub-alpine meadows, boulder-strewn canyons, and cultivated hayfields before dropping into Bighorn Sheep Canyon below Salida.

Here, the river meanders through the high-desert country where it is home to healthy populations of introduced rainbow trout and native browns. Bighorn Sheep Canyon enjoys a warm, dry climate all year round and almost 40-miles of access for public fishing. That makes this location the prime fly-fishing destination in the State. Try wade-fishing with floats or work the shoreline pockets where brown trout lurk.

Access to the best fishing spots on the river is good, but to get the most from your visit to the Arkansas River, it’s well worth hiring a local guide. An experienced guide will be able to give you advice on bait, tackle, and technique, as well as showing you the best spots for a truly memorable fishing experience.

7. Blue Mesa Reservoir

Blue Mesa Reservoir

 Blue Mesa Reservoir was created in 1965 by the damming of the Gunnison River and is the State’s second largest body of water. Fishing is available all year round, including ice fishing in the winter months.

Located just nine miles west of Gunnison, Blue Mesa has over 96 miles of shoreline and is a fly fisherman’s dream! Find a shady spot to cast a line, or take to the water in a boat if you prefer to explore the reservoir that way. Fish species that abound here include lake trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, and brook trout. Kokanee salmon and perch can be caught here too.

Fish the deeper water areas for brown and lake trout, and concentrate on the river and stream inlets for brook trout. The most abundant fish here are rainbows, which can be found anywhere in the reservoir.

There are plenty of accommodation options nearby, including camping, motels, lodges, and hotels.

8. North Delaney Lake

Delaney Lake Colorado

North Delaney Lake is one of the three high mountain lakes that can be found near
Walden in the Buttes State Wildlife Area
. The lake is pristine and is surrounded by breathtaking views in every direction.

The cold-water impoundment boasts a healthy trout population, making it popular with anglers. Fish species you can catch in this Gold Medal Lake include:

  • Brown trout
  • Rainbow trout
  • Cutthroat trout
  • Cutthroat/rainbow hybrid trout
  • Common Carp

The big, fat trout in North Delaney Lake feed on the abundance of damselflies, callibaetis, and midges that hatch here throughout the spring and summer months. Note that when the wind dies down, the mosquitoes can become a pain, so go equipped with plenty of repellants.

Fish for brown or cutthroat trout from the shoreline on the windward side of the lake, the late afternoon or early in the morning when the insect buffet is thickest on the water, and you can see mudlines developing. If you want to fish all day, try taking to the water in a no-wake boat during the middle of the day.

The most productive time to fish for trout at this location is from mid to late summer when the insect population peaks. Following egg laying patterns by fishing in the fall is almost as good, as many of the brown trout are gorging themselves before the cold winter weather arrives.

The best flies to use for North Delaney Lake are olive, blood red, and brown woolly buggers. Olive dragonfly larva an also be very useful. Mini-leeches in gray, black, olive, brown, and wine are also effective.

To be sure of a full creel, it’s worth checking out some of the local fly shops that publish fishing reports for North Delaney Lake.

Note that your bag limit is two trout per angler. There’s a catch-and-release policy in place for browns measuring 14-inches to 20-inches in length and 18-inches to 22-inches for rainbows and cutthroats.

9. Frying Pan River

Frying Pan River Colorado

 The Frying Pan River (located here) has an impressive international reputation for lure and fly-fishing. In this State managed location, rainbows of 10-pounds are regularly caught.

The best spot to fish this Gold Medal status river is between the confluence of Roaring Fork and Ruedi Reservoir. Here you’ll find clear water, plenty of fish, and spectacular views of the glorious mountain vistas that surround this part of the river.

The tailwaters down below the dam are a well-known hunting ground for anglers in search of giants. For this reason, this location can get crowded, with fishermen standing just a few feet from one another. Try fishing here using mysis shrimp flies that are loved by the very biggest fish.

For a more peaceful day’s sport, move downstream to the quieter areas or upstream for smaller stream fishing and fewer people.

Fish species that you’ll find here include:

  • Rainbow trout
  • Brown trout
  • Brook trout
  • Cutthroat trout

Access to the river is pretty good. The 14-miles between the dam and Basalt have 8.5-miles of public access for fisherman. However, much of the land around here is privately owned, and access is prohibited. To be sure that you don’t accidentally trespass, get yourself an online map, detailing permitted access areas.

The year-round hatches here mean that you can also fish during the winter, maybe breaking off for a day’s skiing in nearby Aspen!

10. McPhee Reservoir

McPhee Reservoir Colorado

Bass fishing devotees can find a great day’s sport at McPhee Reservoir which is located here. Located on the Dolores River, close to the town of Dolores, the reservoir has a surface area of around 4,470-acres and is home to some huge smallmouth bass. You can spend a day fishing here surrounded by stunning forests and gorgeous mountain scenery.

The man-made lake has more than 50-miles of shoreline and features several narrow, tree-lined canyons. The McPhee is one of the largest bodies of water in the State of Colorado and has a maximum water depth of close to 270-feet near the dam.

Due to its river canyon location, steep rocky banks and vegetation, McPhee’s best fishing locations are only accessible by boat. You’ll find wakeless boating zones in many of the side canyons to accommodate still-water fishing. There’s boat rental available, and note that if you bring your own craft, the hull must be inspected at the main boat ramp for invasive aquatic species, before launching.

Species you’ll find here include:

  • Largemouth bass
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Black crappie
  • Rainbow trout
  • Kokanee salmon
  • Yellow perch
  • Walleye
  • Northern pike

Fish the rocky shorelines up Plateau Creek, Beaver, and House for smallmouth bass in the late spring and early summer using crayfish imitations. Trout fishing is good all year round, and you’ll be successful with traditional baits or by trolling near the shoreline.

Walleye can be found near the rip-rap along the Great Cut-Dike Dam, and the best fishing time is probably in April. These fish were introduced illegally, so there’s no bag limit on them.

Fishing regulations

Note that McPhee operates an immediate catch-and-release policy for bass from 10-inches to 15-inches in length. Your bag limit for bass outside these limits is five. The bag limit for trout is four. The daily limit for Kokanee is 10, and no snagging is permitted until November 15.

The location has campgrounds, RV hookups, lodgings, bait and tackle shop, and there’s a nearby restaurant too.

Final Thoughts

The Centennial State of Colorado boasts an irresistible combination of fantastic scenery and year-round fishing opportunities.

If you’re a dedicated trout or bass fisherman, you must seriously consider taking a vacation here. There are opportunities for kids too, with bird and wildlife watching, hiking, and biking as alternatives to fishing.

Where to Fish in California: Our 10 Favorite Lakes, Rivers and Bays

The Golden State of California is the most populous of the United States. With a landscape comprising mountains, lakes, rivers, a desert, and a Pacific coastline, there’s an almost endless list of outdoor activities to enjoy here. Whether you enjoy climbing, mountain biking, hiking, or fishing, you’ll find plenty to fill your vacation here.

There are plenty of lively coastal cities and beach resorts to explore too, including Malibu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego.

The fishing in California is as diverse and exciting as the State itself. Whether you’re into freshwater species such and bass, trout, and catfish, or you prefer saltwater fishing for species such as halibut, surfperch, and smelt, you’ll find great sport here. If pursuing ocean dwellers is more your bag, take a charter out to deeper waters with your favorite depth measuring equipment in search of barracuda, ling cod, and even salmon during the season.

The golden trout was designated as the official State fish of California in 1947. These fish are somewhat elusive and are only found in high country locations.

Licenses

Wherever you plan to fish in California, if you’re aged over 16, you will need to have a current, relevant license.

Similar to other states, the licensing regulations vary between different parks and counties, and there are different rules for ocean sports fishing, freshwater fishing, and shoreline fishing. In some cases, you will need to have a special license to fish for particular ocean species.

Check out this link to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website’s fishing information page. Here you will find detailed information about licenses, quotas, etc.

Top Fishing Locations

California has a wide variety of different places you can fish.  There’s plenty of different spots that you can take a boat out and fish in the ocean, but that’s not going to be our focus here today.  We want to walk through the best places you can go and fish without venturing into the deep blue ocean.

While this list doesn’t cover everything, it’s sure to be a great start for anyone venturing out looking to catch a few of their favorite fish on a lazy afternoon.

Let’s take a look at our favorites.  Each one of these fishing spots are renowned for the sport they offer the leisure angler, including good access, amenities, and of course, plentiful fish!


1. The San Joaquin Delta

San Joaquin Delta

 The San Joaquin Delta (located here) runs throughout California, and a visit to this fishing hotspot should be on every vacationing angler’s list.

Among the many species you can expect to land here include:

If you’re after stripers, the best time to catch them is during the spring and fall spawning runs up into the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers from September through June. Resident stripers can also be caught during the summer.

Sturgeon are best pursued from the beginning of the winter right through to early summer.

Among the best boat fishing areas on the Delta for most species are Sherman Lake where the water is less than five feet deep, Threemile Slough where the Delta empties into the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers, and the power lines on the Sacramento River within two hours of high or low tide (fish the incoming tide).


2. Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park Fishing

World famous Yosemite National Park is not the first place you’d think of to go fishing. Yosemite is probably best-known for its wildlife, waterfalls, and glorious mountain scenery. Visitors flock to enjoy hiking and river rafting, but there are some excellent fishing spots located within the park boundaries.

There are many different types of fish that you can find in Yosemite, including:

  • Rainbow Trout
  • Bullgill
  • Brown Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Crappie
  • Sunfish
  • Black Bass

The season for river and stream fishing in Yosemite commences on the last Saturday in April through to November 15. Fishing here doesn’t open until June 15 to give protection to spawning rainbow trout. Also, Mirror Lake (considered a stream) is only open during stream fishing season.

All other reservoirs and lakes are open to fishing all year round.

There are some local fishing regulations in place in Yosemite:

  • you may only use artificial flies or lures with barbless hooks
  • you may not use live or dead minnows
  • amphibians, roe, and non-preserved fish eggs may not be used or possessed
  • fishing is not prohibited from docks or bridges
  • From Happy Isles to Foresta Bridge, rainbow trout may only be fished on a catch-and-release basis

All around the park, there are plenty of facilities for visitors, including camping and RV parking.


3. McCloud River

McCloud River California

The McCloud River is one of California’s best trout fisheries and is arguably one of the best trout fishing spots in the whole country. The McCloud runs off the famous Mount Shasta. Nearby you’ll find Burney Falls and Hat Creek, where native bows, brook trout, and brown trout all swim.

The McCloud starts high up in the glaciers of Mount Shasta. The high mineral content in the glacial water is what gives the McCloud River its turquoise color, unique in California. The Lower McCloud River below the dam offers many miles of accessible trout water. Here you’ll find rainbows and browns, averaging 14-inches and weighing in at up to 10-pounds.

The River is open for fishing from the last Saturday in April through November 15. The River flow is highest in spring, and fishable conditions usually set-in from mid-May. The summer months from late July through to mid-September are hot, sunny and bright (bring your shades). In October, the river sees a mega caddis hatch, bringing in big browns in search of the feast.

To find the best spots on the McCloud, we recommend that you hire the services of a local guide. They’ll advise you on which flies to use too.


4. Lake Cuyamaca

Lake Cuyamaca

Lake Cuyamaca is a small, 110-acre reservoir that you’ll find about an hour east of San Diego in the Cuyamaca Mountains. It’s a charming, scenic location that offers much more varied fishing than at any of the other local reservoirs.

Lake Cuyamaca is stocked with up to 45,000 of rainbow trout annually, and the consistent temperatures enjoyed in San Diego County mean that you can fish here all year round.

You’ll also find lots of 7-pound to 11-pound bass swimming here too. Thanks to the cooler temperatures in the Lake, largemouth bass don’t reach the monster, trophy size that other lakes see. Because of this, the Lake Cuyamaca tends to be much quieter and less hectic than other locations.

Cuyamaca is home to the only legitimate population of sturgeon and smallmouth bass in San Diego County. Since being introduced to the Lake in 1995 and 1996, smallmouth hasn’t thrived as well as sturgeon, but the occasional specimen is still caught here.

Other species you’ll find in these waters include:

The Lake offers lakefront camping. Tent camping is available on the north shore of the Lake, and there are a few lake view condos available here too. A short drive away in Cuyamaca State Park there’s a larger campground, offering RV hookups.

There’s a good restaurant on the western shore overlooking the Lake, a small but well-provisioned tackle store, and a mini-mart offering drinks and snacks.

Shoreline access is very good here with gently sloping banks and several access points. There are also several jetties, fishing docks, and fishing floats stationed around the lake. There’s a paved launch ramp for private boaters, and you can also hire boats from the marina.

The Lake is open all year round from 6 am to sunset.


5. Clear Lake

Clear Lake California

If you’re a bass specialist, you’ll want to pay a visit to Clear Lake, voted third-best bass lake in the US in 2016. The Lake offers just under 44,000 acres of water and is the largest freshwater lake in California.

Clear Lake is located in the north-central part of the State in Lake County. The area around the Lake boasts 10,000 acres of vineyards and no fewer than 35 wineries, so when you’ve finished fishing, a glass or two of the local vino might be in order!

In addition to bass, you’ll find the following species here:

  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Carp
  • Crappie

Shoreline tules provide good shelter for the bass, making these spots popular for fishing. In the early season, check out the Lakeport area, along with the shoreline to Berger Bay. In the summer heat, bass head for the shade around the docks and close to shoreline trees. The mouth of Kelsey Creek, Point Lakeview, Baylis Point, Jago Bay, and out Luebow Point are all good spots too.

Anglers often get good results when drifting around Rattlesnake Island and Shag Rock. You could also be successful at some of the public areas around the lake, including Library Park and Redbud Park.


6. Lake Shasta

Lake Shasta California

Lake Shasta is a two-story impoundment that provides habitat for warm-water and cold-water fish. The habitat provides good conditions for many species, including:

  • White sturgeon
  • White catfish
  • Threadfin shad
  • Spotted bass
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Sacramento squawfish
  • Riffle sculpin
  • Rainbow trout
  • Largemouth bass
  • Hardhead minnow
  • Green sunfish
  • Golden shiner
  • Chinook salmon
  • Channel squawfish
  • Carp
  • Brown trout
  • Brown bullhead
  • Bluegill
  • Blackfish
  • Black crappie

Trolling from Turntable Bay to Hirz Bay is a good spot for brown trout. Dry Fork, Little Squaw Creek, and Big Backbone Creek usually produce some rainbows, as does fishing at Shasta Dam when the releases are high. However, do remember that tying to the buoy line is not permitted.

Before the temperatures warm up, rainbows, Chinook salmon, and browns can be caught from the banks. As temperatures rise, the trout move to deeper water. Try fishing with live minnows from the shore or a boat, 2-feet to 3-feet below a bobber in spring or 50-feet to 100-feet deep in summer.

Bass fishing here is good year round. Rubber worms and live bait will give success with the right rod and reel setup, depending on the time of the year.

Summertime is best for catfish, especially after sunset when channel catfish, white catfish, and bullheads can all be found here.

For more information about what fish are biting and where ask in one of the local bait shops.


7. Smith River

Smith River CA Fishing

Smith River is located in the northwest of the State and is renowned as California’s premier salmon and steelhead river, holding the State record for steelhead at 27-pounds. Salmon in the 50-pound to 60-pound range are not uncommon here! In fact, the record here is an incredible 86-pounds.

The Smith River is known as California’s last wild river. Enjoy a day surrounded by towering redwoods, deep clear pools, and sheer rock walls.

Salmon fishing commences in September, where anglers target big king salmon close to the mouth, adjacent to the famous Ship Ashore. October sees salmon gathering in the Sand Hole, but you’ll need to hire a licensed guide to fish here. Trolling anchovies here can see powerful kings grab baits and take off on long runs after they’re hooked. It all makes for an exhilarating and challenging day’s fishing.

Drift boat action for kings is best in November. After this, it’s time for steelheads to take center stage. Steelhead fishing continues right through winter into April.

When you’re not fishing, the small local town provides enough entertainment to keep you entertained with a pub and small casino.


8. San Francisco Bay

San Francisco Bay Fishing

San Francisco Bay is located next to the city that bears the same name. The lively city provides plenty of lodging, eating, and entertainment just a stone’s throw from the fishing area.

At a depth between 10-feet and 35-feet with a muddy bottom, the Bay is perfect halibut territory! The best time for halibut is late May through summer, coinciding with the arrival of anchovies and the beginning of a feeding frenzy. Look out for the “halibut tide,” when the incoming tide is smaller, moving the bait but not muddying the water.

If halibut isn’t your cup of tea, there are other species you could encounter here, including:

  • Ling cod
  • Salmon
  • Striped bass
  • Sturgeon
  • Tuna

Salmon are usually found within San Francisco Bay during the late summer weeks. Trolling is the preferred method used by local fishermen. Striped bass frequent the saltwater close to the shorelines where the salt is diluted by fresh water from local streams and rivers that run into the Pacific Ocean.

Look for sturgeon after the first hard rains of November, through to the first signs of the warm, spring weather. Usually, fishing enthusiasts are permitted to catch one fish measuring between 46 and 66-inches in length each year.

If you fancy hiring a charter, you could go in search of Albacore tuna, about 30-miles out into the deep water beyond the Bay itself. The best time for tuna is between June and December.


9. Klamath River

Klamath River

The Klamath River runs for over 260 miles from the high deserts of Oregon, through the Klamath Mountains, before entering the Pacific Ocean.

For keen anglers in search of salmon, the Klamath is a must-see destination. The Klamath is renowned for its salmon runs. In an average year, you can expect between 100,000 and 200,000 Chinook salmon to run the river. Half of this number will arrive in early September, heading for the Trinity River to spawn. The mid-August summer run sees fish making for the Middle Klamath.

As well as Chinooks, you’ll find steelheads here too. The average steelhead can range from 7 to 15-pounds. After the Chinook runs, the larger steelheads come up river to feed. Specimens from 12 to 16-inches are not uncommon here.

Successful fly fishing techniques employed here are swinging flies and nymphing. Swinging flies works best on the lower to mid-sections of the River during the early season from August through September when the water is warmer. In the cooler months of November through February, dead-drifting nymphs under indicators in the upper sections of the River is the best strategy.

The Klamath River flows through the Six Rivers National Park, where you’ll find lots of cabin lodging and camping. Alternatively, Crescent City is only a short drive away.


10. Lake Berryessa

Lake Berryessa

Lake Berryessa, just west of Sacramento, is ranked at number seven in Bassmaster Magazine’s Top 10 Bass Lakes of 2016 and is the largest lake in Napa County.

The lake is a man-made reservoir, and because of this, the water levels tend to fluctuate. Despite this, the lake is home to several species popular with anglers, including:

  • Spotted bass
  • Largemouth bass
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Catfish
  • Rainbow trout
  • Brown trout
  • Bluegill
  • Kokanee salmon

Although the summer season sees the Lake popular with boaters, kayak anglers and water skiers, there are quiet areas where there is plenty of fish to catch. The southern end of the Lake, close to the dam in Markley Cove is a really good fishing spot. Other good areas include Portuguese Point, Big Island, and Putah Creek Inlet, particularly for catfish.

To get the most from this location, we recommend that you hire a guide.


Parting Thoughts

California offers a stunning array of species for the leisure angler to pursue. The State is especially good for dedicated trout and bass fishermen, but also offers plenty of opportunities for those in search of steelheads, king salmon, and sturgeon.

A fishing vacation in California has to be at the top of your list if you want a memorable trip with plenty of great sport, fabulous weather, and stunning scenery. If you want to vary things, take a trip into one of the big cities for a shopping trip, eat at one of the many top-class restaurants or lively beach bars, or try your luck in a casino.

Fishing in Idaho: Big Wood River, Silver Creek, Swan Falls & More Great Spots

Beautiful Idaho is well-known for its vast swathes of protected wilderness, spectacular mountains, and outdoor recreation areas. Idaho is a landlocked State in the northwest of the US that offers anglers a unique array of fishing waters with mostly sunny days. So bring your favorite eyewear if you plan to hit the lake.

You can fish large natural lakes, man-made reservoirs, and crystal clear winding rivers and creeks in pursuit of many different fish species.

The Gem State of Idaho makes a fabulous vacation destination for those who enjoy spending time in the Great Outdoors. If you want to take a break from fishing, you can revel in the peace and tranquility of the countryside, hike through the unspoiled wilderness, spotting wildlife, and just re-connect with nature.

That said, for those who find themselves missing the hustle and bustle of urban life, Idaho’s cities offer visitors the chance to take in some local history and enjoy the local culture. The State capital, Boise is world renowned for its jazz, indie music, and theater, as well as boasting some top-class restaurants and lively bars.

Idaho surely gives its visitors the very best of both worlds!  Let’s look at why we love Idaho for fishing!

Licenses

To fish legally in Idaho, anyone over the age of 14 needs a fishing license.

Idaho fishing licenses can be obtained online through the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at this link or from one of their regional offices. Fishing licenses can also be bought from some outdoors stores.

Note that you’ll need a separate permit if you plan to fish for steelhead or Chinook salmon, or if you intend on fishing with two poles.

Top Fishing Locations

There are so many fabulous fishing locations to choose from in this beautiful State that visiting anglers are spoilt for choice.

We’ve drawn together a wide variety of fishing experiences that should appeal to experienced leisure fishermen, fly fishing experts, beginners, and families too, whatever time of the year you plan to vacation in Idaho.

So, here are our top 10 fishing locations in spectacular and diverse Idaho.


1. C.J. Strike Reservoir

CJ Strike Reservoir

C.J. Strike reservoir located here, is a 6,759-acre man-made body of water that is located in the southwestern corner of the State, just to the south of Boise. The reservoir is an impoundment of the Bruneau and Snake Rivers and is home to a wide variety of fish species, including:

  • Lunkers (Largemouth Bass)
  • Smallies (Smallmouth Bass)
  • White Catfish
  • Brown trout
  • Brook trout
  • Rainbow trout
  • Salmon
  • Sturgeon
  • Steelhead
  • Yellow perch

There are limits imposed on fishing some of the species that can be found here. To ensure you stay within the legal fishing regulations’ limitations, check out this link to the IDFG website before heading to this spot.

Facilities at the C.J. Strike Reservoir are excellent, including restrooms, boat dock, boat ramp, and ADA access to most areas. For those wishing to enjoy the outdoor experience, there are several campgrounds nearby, making this location perfect for families.

Fishing the main reservoir, close to the dam, allows easy access for boat and bank angling. You can catch perch, bullheads, and trout from the bank, using worms, marshmallows, and eggs. Marshmallows will float the bait off the bottom and into the view of the fish. Boaters who are after trout should try trolling with rooster tail, rapalas, or flies along the front face of the dam, in the narrows, or along the south shore.

Visiting during the spring and early summer months will see excellent smallmouth bass fishing along the dam and in the numerous shallow coves and rocky areas around the shoreline. Use plastic grubs, lures, jigs and keep your bait moving for best success.

If you fancy a battle, visit C.J. Strike during the fall and spring and fish from the bank or a boat for sturgeon. You’ll need a sturdy rod and reel and a test line of at least 30-pounds to land an 8-foot monster. Use 6 to 9-ounce weights and some large, barbless hooks to fish waters of 20-feet or deeper.


2. Brownlee Reservoir

Brownlee Reservoir

Brownlee Reservoir can be found at this location on the Oregon border to the western part of the State of Idaho. This impoundment was created by the damming of part of the Snake River and extends for 50 miles over 15,000 acres.

The Reservoir is very popular with anglers, and species you’ll find in good numbers here include:

The Reservoir has no motor HP restrictions, making it a great destination for pleasure and fishing boaters, canoes, and different types of boats for anglers.

There are lots of good access points via various parks along the reservoir, and you’ll find some well-maintained campgrounds too with restrooms, fresh water, picnic areas, RV hook-up points, and hosts on-site.


3. Big Wood River

Big Wood River

Big Wood River (located here) is a 137-mile long waterway that branches off from the Snake and Columbia Rivers to flow through the central part of the State. The breathtaking scenery and utter serenity you’ll find here is unequaled.

The summer months see anglers flock to Big Wood River to cast and fly-fish for brook, brown, and rainbow trout. Fishing is open here all year round, but please consult the IDFG online information page at this link for full information regarding limitations, bag limits, etc.

There are several well-equipped campgrounds nearby, offering picnic tables, restrooms, water, and ample parking.


4. Silver Creek

Silver Creek Idaho

You’ll find the idyllic fishing spot of Silver Creek (here) just outside of Garden Valley in the west-central part of the State. Hiking and birding are extremely popular pastimes in the tranquil beauty of Peace Valley, as the area surrounding the Creek is known.

The fly-fishing at this high-desert, spring-fed creek is legendary, drawing anglers from far and wide. Brown and brook trout are always abundant here, thanks to the constant insect life that offers such good feeding opportunities for the fish.

As well as the opportunity to fill your creel, you and your family will enjoy spotting the many species of wildlife that live here. Waterfowl, eagles, and songbirds share this land with deer, elk, mountain lions, bobcats, and coyotes, all contributing to the ecosystem and abundant insect life that fuels this blue-ribbon fishery.

For those looking to extend their visit to this lovely place, there are several well-equipped campgrounds nearby, sited beneath the partial shade of a mixed-wood and lodgepole pine forest and within easy hiking distance of the Creek and its numerous fishing spots.


5. Lake Cascade

Cascade Lake Idaho

Lake Cascade (located here) is found on the western side of Idaho to the north of Boise. Cascade is one of the largest bodies of water in the State at over 27,000-acres and is a brilliant location for family vacations. Boating, swimming, jet-skiing, and water-skiing are all enjoyed on the Lake, as well as hiking, birding, and wildlife watching in the surrounding scenic countryside.

The fishing is profitable here too. Popular species that draw anglers from across the State include:

The Lake boasts almost 50-miles of easily accessible, clean, sandy beaches that are ideal for bank fishing, and there are boat ramps too. There are several campgrounds equipped with restrooms. Be sure to check the Lake Cascade Park website for campsite availability, especially during the busy summer months.

If you plan to take your vacation during the winter, you’ll be interested to hear that ice fishing is popular on Lake Cascade, where anglers can enjoy an abundance of monster perch. As with any ice fishing adventure, always be sure to check on ice conditions by calling the IDFG for current information.


6. Priest Lake

Priest Lake Idaho

Priest Lake (located here) is found in the northernmost part of the Idaho panhandle, 80 miles to the northeast of Spokane, Washington. The northern end of the Lake extends to within 15 miles of the US-Canada border.

Angling opportunities are wide and varied at Priest Lake. Fish for trophy-size Mackinaw (lake trout) in the Lake, or try fishing for cutthroat in one of the nearby alpine lakes. If fly-fishing is your thing, you’ll enjoy hiking to one of the numerous streams in the Priest basin in search of brook trout. In the winter months, there’s great ice fishing to be enjoyed out on Cavanaugh Bay.

During the summer months, Mackinaw seek cooler waters at the bottom of the Lake. Try downriggers, wire line, lead line, and jigging to present lures near the lake bottom; many trophy-size fish have been landed this way, including the current State record holder, a 571/2-pounder that was landed way back in 1971!

When the weather is cooler in the spring and fall, Mackinaw can be seen swimming near to the surface of the Lake and in relatively shallow water. For the best experience at this location, it’s recommended to hire a good local guide who will also be up-to-speed with local fishing restrictions and regulations.

Note that the year-round bag limit for trout per person is six. Also, there’s a strict catch-and-release policy in force for bull trout and the native Westslope cutthroat.


7. Clearwater River

Clearwater River Idaho

Clearwater River is located (here) in north-central Idaho and is famous for its large “B-Run” steelhead that return to the area’s spawning grounds following two years growing and maturing in the open ocean.

The Clearwater is around 75 miles long, flowing westward from the Bitterroot Mountains along the Montana-Idaho border. The River has gentle rapids that are easily navigable, allowing time for boaters to take in the tranquil beauty of the wilderness through which you’ll pass while waiting for the fish to bite.

Other species that draw anglers to the Clearwater are Chinook salmon and native cutthroat trout.

Come to fish the Clearwater River during the summer months for cutthroat. For steelhead, you need to visit in the fall when the season kicks in. September sees catch-and-release fishing, but from October through to the end of April it’s catch-and-keep. B-run steelhead in this location average between 12 and 14-pounds, but it’s common to catch 20-pounders too.

Camping in this idyllic location is a must for visiting anglers, and there are several well-provisioned campgrounds along the River.


8. Swan Falls Dam

Swan Falls Dam Fishing

Swan Falls Dam (located here) near the town of Murphy was built in 1901 and is the oldest hydroelectric dam on the Snake River. The Dam is also a very popular fishing destination, offering a surprisingly wide variety of fish species and some great sport for the leisure angler.

Below the Dam, you can catch smallmouth bass and channel catfish. For best success, use crayfish imitations, crankbaits, live worms, and cut bait. You’ll also catch giant sturgeon here; six-footers are regularly caught, and bigger ones have been reported too! Be sure to abide by local regulations when targeting, handling, and releasing sturgeon.

The reservoir above the Dam is also a popular fishing spot, especially with boaters who come for the abundant smallmouth bass. There are also largemouth bass, channel catfish, bullheads, perch, and crappie. For success here you’ll need a variety of lures, including jigs, crankbaits, jerk baits, grubs, and plastic worms.

Access to the Dam and the park area just above it is by well-maintained roads. There’s also some ADA accessible, well-equipped camping here with all the facilities you’ll need for a short stay.


9. Snake River

Snake River Idaho

If you’re into dry fly-fishing, you must take a trip to the South Fork of the Snake River. This location is considered to be the best cutthroat stream in the west of Idaho. The South Fork is a tailwater fishery that flows from the Palisades Dam on the border between Idaho and Wyoming.

Thanks to well-preserved wild populations of native Yellowstone cutthroat and Snake River fine-spotted cutthroat, there’s dry fly-fishing action here all year round. Other species of trout found here include browns and rainbows. There really is something at this spot to satisfy every angling preference, from dry fly-fishing, dry dropper setups, nymphing, or streamer fishing.

In early June, stoneflies hatch by the thousands along the river’s edge, drawing astounding numbers of fish during this four week period. After this, many diverse fly hatches continue right through until the end of October, keeping the angling action coming.

Although there are lots of easily accessible points for bank fishing, navigating the South Fork of the Snake River by boat is easy; you’ll only encounter riffles and small waves here.

There are numerous campgrounds close to the South Fork of the Snake for those who wish to stay longer than a day.


10. Bruneau Dunes State Park

Bruneau Dunes State Park

Bruneau Dunes State Park (located here), located just south of Mountain Home, outside the community of Bruneau is well worth a visit during your fishing trip to Idaho. The park has several large dunes, as well as several small fishing ponds.

The Park makes the ideal family fishing vacation destination, offering plenty to do when you’re tired of fishing. Bruneau Dunes is home to Idaho’s largest observatory, which is open to the public for tours from April through to mid-October. Stargazing, hiking, sandboarding or surfing the family-friendly sandy waves of the dunes are all popular activities. There’s also an equestrian facility on-site, where visitors can stable their horses.

The Park offers several campgrounds with good facilities, and there are a few cabins too for those who prefer not to sleep under canvas.

The fishing ponds in the Park offer some enjoyable fishing for bluegill and largemouth bass from May throughout the summer months; try fishing around the shoreline on foot or from a raft, canoe, or float tube. Note that only craft with electric motors are permitted on the ponds.

Largemouth bass will readily take soft plastics, flies, spinnerbaits, and top-water lures. Bluegill respond most favorably to small flies, live worms, crickets, or panfish jigs. Be sure to check the local fishing regulations before you cast a line here. For largemouth, your limit is two and none under 20-inches in length, pretty much making this a catch-and-release fishery.


Wrapping it up:

Idaho is a wilderness paradise that offers a memorable experience of the Great Outdoors for all the family, including dedicated leisure anglers.

Here, you can enjoy fishing healthy, abundantly stocked waters, including man-made lakes, crystal clear rivers, streams, and natural ponds. Bear in mind that local legislation around fishing is strictly enforced to keep fish stocks healthy, so be sure to check the current bag limits and rules on bait before setting off on your adventure.

As well as fishing, you and your family can enjoy hiking, wildlife watching, swimming, boating, and even stargazing surrounded by the stunning scenery that is the trademark of this idyllic and diverse location.

Best Places to Fish in Florida: 10 Lakes, Rivers & Shorelines to Cast Your Line

Florida is a very popular vacation destination for visitors from all over the world who come for the year-round sunshine, the theme parks, and the fabulous beaches.

Bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico and the east by the Atlantic Ocean, Florida is also extremely popular with anglers. Whether you enjoy fly–fishing for freshwater species, beach fishing, pier fishing, or heading out to deep water in search of ocean-dwelling giants, Florida has it all.

Florida has two official State fish; the Florida largemouth bass (freshwater) and the Atlantic sailfish (saltwater).

Florida has many great shore fishing spots, which can be perfect locations for family days out. As well as fishing, diving, snorkeling, and surfing can all provide entertainment for your kids. And when you’re tired of all that, you might want to just catch a few rays while beachcombing with the whole family.

Fishing Licenses

Nonresidents who are 16 years of age or above must hold a valid Florida freshwater or saltwater fishing license and permit, as applicable.

You must have a valid saltwater fishing license to legally cast your line or catch-and-release. You also need a license to take or attempt to take any marine organism, including fish, lobsters, clams, crabs, and marine plants. Note that snook and spiny lobster permits, and tarpon tags are also required if you want to fish these species.

More information on the permit and licensing system for fishing can be found at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website. You can obtain a permit from the FFWCC via this link or from local sporting and hunting retailers.

Top Fishing Locations

Florida’s beautiful public beaches are usually open from sunrise to sunset (make sure to bring a pair of sunglasses) and have convenient metered parking. Many have picnic areas, tidal pools, and barrier islands to fish, as well as the open water surf. If you have a boat, you can reach outlying beach areas and mangrove islands too.

Most public beaches in Florida allow fishing, but some don’t. Always check for fishing signs, which will be posted at the beach entrance. You should also know that State and County-run beaches do insist on a fishing license for shore fishing.

If you’re considering taking a family vacation in Florida and you want to take full advantage of the many and varied fishing opportunities that the State has to offer, check out our 10 favorite fishing destinations.


1. Blackwater River

Blackwater River Florida

Blackwater River is located in Florida’s panhandle. The 58-mile long waterway emerges in the Conecuh National Forest in Southern Alabama, entering Florida in Okaloosa County. The Blackwater flows on through Santa Rosa County to Blackwater Bay.

The Blackwater has white beaches and a sandy bottom with large sandbars in stark contrast to the tannic water from which the Blackwater gets its name. There are three public boat ramps at Blackwater River State Park (off Deaton Bridge Road), on Bryant Bridge (three miles west of Holt), and north of Bryant Bridge in the Blackwater River State Forest.

The main drawback to fishing this spot is that it can become very busy during the height of canoeing season. However, farther up river you’ll find quieter spots and other landings that are suitable for light johnboats and canoes.

Fish species that are common in these waters include:

  • Striped bass
  • Largemouth bass
  • Spotted bass
  • Bluegill
  • Redear sunfish
  • Sunshine bass
  • Channel catfish
  • Spotted sea trout

Use spinnerbaits and plastic worms for stripers and largemouth bass, and look for bluegill and largemouth near the tidal section of the River. The lower part of the Blackwater is where you’ll find spotted sea trout and redear sunfish. Target these species with live bait and the right fishing equipment during the winter months for best results.

There are plenty of year-round camping opportunities nearby in a beautiful forest setting.


2. Dog Island Reef

Dog Island Reef Fishing

The white sandy beaches of Dog Island Reef draw many vacationers and anglers every year. You’ll find the Dog Island Reef in northwest Florida, about four miles on from Dog Island itself in Franklin County.

Species you can expect to encounter in the shallows here include:

Try using live shrimp bait here or a pompano jig to make the most of this sweet spot. If you’re using artificial bait, try Gulp Shrimp in various colors; pink, green, and white work well. Bass Assassins are also effective in the same color patterns, either with a popping cork or straight jigging. Spanish mackerel go for the olive green XRap suspending plug.

Dog Island Reef is also renowned for sharks. If you’re a bold fisherman, you might want to try using cut-bait to go after these abundant fighting fish. Early spring through to the end of summer is the best time to fish here around the fringes of the reef.


3. Apalachicola River

Apalachicola River

The Apalachicola River (located here) is often referred to as Florida’s “forgotten coast,” and is one of bass fishing’s secret hot spots.

The Apalachicola flows from Lake Seminole, 106-miles south through the Panhandle to the Gulf of Mexico at the town of Apalachicola. It’s Florida’s largest river and has many good fishing areas, the best being the Upper River and Lower River.

Fish species you can find here include:

  • Striped bass
  • Hybrid bass
  • White bass
  • Black bass
  • Largemouth bass
  • Spotted bass
  • Shoal bass
  • Bluegill
  • Redear sunfish
  • Sunshine bass
  • Panfish
  • Speckled sea trout

There is good shore access to both the Upper and Lower river, including boat land
ings.

Smaller stripers and hybrids will continue schooling throughout the summer. However, bass fishing in the Upper River tapers off during the heat of summer as the larger fish seek cooler waters. Head to the deeper waters for more success with bass and panfish. Hotspots on the lower river include St. Marks, Little St. Marks when the outgoing tides and slack tides will yield the best results.

Black or blue-colored lures are best in the tannic waters. In summer, try crankbaits, spoons, and flipping worms. Spring fishing is best with topwater plugs and spinnerbaits. Winter fishing is most productive with crankbaits, plastic worms, and jigs. In the fall, use spinnerbaits and crankbaits.

You’ll find comfortable and well-equipped campgrounds with the Apalachicola National Forest.


4. Lake Tohopekaliga

Lake Tohopekaliga

This idyllic fishing is located close to Orlando boasts around 23,000-acres of sparkling blue water. The Lake is divided into two sections; West Lake Toho and East Lake Toho, forming part of the Kissimmee chain of lakes. Toho is a great spot for family vacations, as you’re within striking distance of Orlando with its theme parks and other entertainments.

Fish species here include trophy-size bass and black crappie. Lake bass take well to golden shiners, spinnerbaits, Texas-rigged plastic worms, and topwater plugs. Black crappie prefer live minnows, but you can use yellow and green spinnerbaits around brush and lily pads to provoke crappie into striking.

If you’re after largemouth bass (not smallies), head to the mouth of Shingle Creek and the shorelines west and east of South Port Park, Goblets Cove, and Lanier Point.

From April to June you’ll find lots of spawning bluegill activity in Lake Tohopekaliga, especially around the new and full moon phases. Focus on areas of the Lake where the bottom is sandy, and there’s lots of vegetation such as Brown’s Point and North Steer Beach, using crickets and red wrigglers or small artificial jigs or beetle spins.

The Lake has several boat ramps, and there’s a popular floating courtesy dock on Lakeshore Boulevard. Pier and bank fishing is also permitted here.

If you don’t fancy staying in Orlando, there are campgrounds and RV parks close by.


5. Disney World

Disney World Fishing

Although Disney World (located here) is undoubtedly one of the most popular attractions in Florida, few people know it for its fishing. In fact, Disney World is something of a bass fisherman’s paradise!

While the rest of the family are enjoying the theme parks and other attractions, check out fishing charters and guides that are available for Seven Seas Lagoon, and Bay Lake where large trophy-size largemouth bass thrive. The best time to visit this location for bass fishing is in February.

It’s also highly recommended that you take advantage of one of the many fishing excursion packages that are on offer. Local knowledge is key to finding the biggest and best fish in the park!


6. Lake Okeechobee

Lake Okeechobee

Lake Okeechobee (located here) is probably best known as the premier bass fishing lake in the whole of Florida. Because of this, Florida’s largest lake is often home to some of the biggest bass fishing tournament series in North America, including the Bassmaster Elite and FLW Tour. If you want to catch enormous largemouth bass, this is a must-visit spot!

For hotel accommodation, bait shops, and local fishing guides, check out the many resorts dotted right around the Lake. Boat rental is available if you prefer to go it alone. There are also plenty of campgrounds and RV parks close-by where you can stay.

Fish species you can catch here include:

  • Largemouth bass
  • Bluegill
  • Black crappie
  • Redear sunfish

Lake Okeechobee is nationally renowned as a largemouth bass and black crappie fishery. The Lake also supports a commercial catfish fishery. Small bream, shiners, and minnows abound here in the dense submerged vegetation.

Look for bass around the Lake edges where the vegetation ends. Bass lurk here, hunting for prey in the shadows. Fishing is best in the early morning around the dense vegetation on the shoreline and in deeper waters as the day gets warmer. Golden shiners, crankbaits, spinner baits, and topwater plugs are best for largemouth bass.

For black crappie, concentrate your efforts near the edges of stands of vegetation, being aware of fast currents during the high-water season in the spring. As summer temperatures rise, fishing will be most productive in the early morning and late in the day. Minnows and jig fishing work best for
crappie.

Bluegill and redear are best hunted during the summer months around the sandy-bottom areas in the marshy areas of the Lake. Live worms are most tempting for redear, while grass shrimp, red worms, crickets, and beetle-spins work best for bluegill.


7. Sanibel Island

Sanibel Island

For a delightful family day out, head to Lighthouse Beach on Sanibel Island (located here) to take in breathtaking panoramic views of Estero Bay and the Gulf of Mexico from the iconic Sanibel lighthouse.

There’s plenty of accommodation on the island for those who want to extend their stay.

Offshore fishing

Most of the offshore fishing happens in State waters that are within sight of land. Here you can expect to encounter:

  • Tarpon
  • Snook
  • Redfish
  • Snapper
  • Shark
  • Tripletail
  • Florida Pompano
  • Grunts
  • Small grouper

Head out to deeper blue water with a charter, and you can tackle:

  • Grouper
  • Snapper
  • Hogfish
  • African pompano
  • Cobia
  • Goliath grouper
  • Amberjack
  • King mackerel
  • Shark

Inshore fishing

Inshore fishing around the many inlet river mouths, mangrove shorelines, and oyster bars can be profitable fun. Species living here include:

  • Snook
  • Redfish
  • Sea trout
  • Tarpon

Tarpon begin their annual migration in mid-April, continuing through into July. To make the best of this bonanza, use a local professional fishing guide to find them.

Saltwater fly-fishing

Experienced fly-fishers can enjoy unsurpassed casting opportunities here all year round. Species you can expect to hook include:

  • Spanish mackerel
  • Snappers
  • Shark
  • Pompano
  • Permit
  • Ladyfish
  • Kingfish
  • Jack Crevalle
  • Flounder
  • Cobia
  • Barracuda

If you fancy offshore fishing of your own, check out some of the marinas around the island where watercraft can be rented.


8. Marco Island

Marco Island

Marco Island (located here) boasts the widest, biggest, southern-most beach in the county. This glorious spot is perfect for a day’s fishing with the family. When not enjoying the sport, catch a few rays, admire the panoramic views, and dream of landing a monster shark right from the beach!

Access to this barrier island’s beaches is limited to two points at the south and north ends. There are also several public walkway access points for those who don’t mind a stroll. There’s plenty of hotel accommodation on offer, and lots of bars and restaurants to try when you’re not at the beach.

The crystal clear waters here are a mecca for those who enjoy cast netting and surf fishing, and the sport continues all year round. Species found in the waters off Marco Island’s beaches include:

  • Cobia
  • Flounder
  • Jack Crevalle
  • Kingfish
  • Ladyfish
  • Permit
  • Pompano
  • Snapper

Snook, Spanish mackerel, and sea trout can also be caught from the beach, and the occasional shark has been landed too.


9. Mangrove Islands

Mangrove Islands

If you love beach fishing, you must spend some time angling on mangrove island (located here). This is a popular activity for tourists and locals alike. Beach your boat on a mangrove island and fish from the beach or stay on the water, whichever you prefer.

In Collier County, many of these mangrove islands can be found south of the Gordon River, as you travel along the Intracoastal Waterway and enter Rookery Bay and the 10,000 islands. Travel to Fort Myers and check out the islands that surround Sanibel and the Captiva Islands, together with the islets of Pine Island.

Fish species that you can expect to find living in this habitat include snook and mangrove snapper. Snapper are usually found schooling in large shoals. Stick to using small hooks; snapper are wary of bait with a large hook protruding from it. Once you’ve snagged a couple of nice snapper for dinner, go in search of snook in the surf at sunrise and sunset.

Look out for local wildlife, including fiddler crabs, turtles, and bald eagles.


10. Mosquito Lagoon

Mosquito Lagoon

Mosquito Lagoon is located north of the northern Indian River Lagoon, forming part of the Indian River Lagoon system and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. The area is an inshore angler’s delight, made up of deep basins, grassy flats, islands, mangrove shorelines, and sandbars, extending for about 20 miles to the south. To the north lies the open water of the lagoon, giving way to a maze of backcountry waterways that extends for 10 miles to the north of New Smyrna Beach and the Ponce de Leon Inlet.

Mosquito Lagoon is the “redfish capital of the world”! The year-round population of redfish and their tremendous size draws anglers here for a unique angling experience. It’s not unusual to find adult redfish in the 30 to 50-inch range here!

There’s also a speckled trout fishery, and black drum are caught seasonally on the flats too. Venture into the backcountry, and you could land tarpon, snook, sheepshead, flounder, Jack Crevalle, ladyfish, and bluefish.

Final Thoughts

The State of Florida is a fisherman’s paradise!

Take a vacation in this perennially sunny State, and you can enjoy freshwater river and lake fishing, fishing the surf from pristine white sandy beaches, or head out into the deep blue with a professional charter in search of giant grouper, sharks, and tarpon.

Accommodations vary from waterfront cabins and well-equipped campgrounds to swanky hotels in the heart of Orlando.

A vacation in Florida is an absolute must-do for anyone who enjoys their fishing. Period!

Trout Fishing Tips: How to Catch Rainbow & Brown Trout

A wise man once said, “In order to do something, we must first understand what it is we are doing.” This certainly is true for trout fishing. After all, anyone can walk up to a trout stream, impale an insect on a hook, chuck it into the water, and wait for a fish to bite. But this is obviously not the most productive method for catching trout.

There is an art to angling for trout, regardless of whether you use conventional fishing equipment or fly fishing gear. To become a great, both knowledge and skill are required. You must understand the environment that trout live in, so you also learn to see it from their point of view.

In fact, the most important piece of advice an experienced trout fisherman could pass along to a novice is, “If you want to catch a fish, then you have to learn to think like a fish.” Having an intimate view of a trout’s environment will provide you with invaluable insights into their mentality, which will enable you to catch your share.  Location also plays a part, and there are many great areas to fish for trout in Minnesota, Michigan, or across the country in states like Colorado and especially Alaska.

Understanding Trout Environments

Trout Environments

How do you understand the environment that trout inhabit? First, from the day a trout is born as an egg to the day it dies, there are aquatic, terrestrial and avian predators who want to make a meal of it. So, if a trout is to survive, it must be paranoid by necessity.

As a result, all trout seem to adopt an attitude of, “If it moves, run – and if it doesn’t move, run anyway.” If a trout sees any movement whatsoever within its cone of vision, its first instinct is to dart into the nearest shelter and stay there the threat has passed.

So, as a fisherman, it is imperative that you learn to become stealthy in your approach to a prospective trout lie. In fact, when fishing for trout, it is helpful to adopt the attitude of a hunter rather than that of the average fisherman. This could mean moving along the bank where you can hide by the trees instead of wading up the center of the stream. You can also hide behind boulders or crouch down close to the surface of the water so that you’re below the trout’s cone of vision.


How a Trout Sees The World

Trout Vision Graphic

Although understanding how a fish thinks is paramount to catching fish, it is also important to understand how they see their world. Although the following description applies to all fish species,  this section will focus specifically on trout.

If you were a trout lying on the bottom of a stream, you would see a huge mirror overhead if you were to look up. That mirror would reflect an exact replica of the streambed and anything else located beneath the surface of the water. You would also see a round hole in this mirror located directly above you. This would provide you with a limited window through which to view the world above the surface of the water.

The cause of this phenomenon is a law of physics called Snell’s Law that states, “Any light waves striking the surface of water at an angle that is greater than 45° will enter the water whereas, any light waves striking the surface of water at an angle that is less than 45° will be reflected.”

But, unless you were holding in perfectly still water, your surface view through this window would be distorted by the current and any ripples it causes. So, if you were holding in whitewater as rainbow trout often do, instead of seeing a clear image of the surface world, you would see a white froth of air bubbles and distortions due to the current.

1. Vertical Vision

Keep in mind that the size of your viewing hole for the surface world depends on the depth at which you are holding. This is because Snell’s Law also dictates that the diameter of the hole is two-and-one-quarter times the depth at which you are holding. So, if you are holding at a depth of two feet, you would have a round window over your head approximately four and a half feet in diameter to see the surface world.

The shape of the hole extends at a 45-degree angle from either side with the apex at the trout’s eye, giving trout 90 degrees of vertical vision under the water’s surface. However, once the edge of this angle reaches the water’s surface, it descends at a 10-degree angle. Consequently, trout have 160 degrees of vertical vision shaped like a cone extending upward from their eyes.

2. An Angler’s Angle

This cone of vision is what you need to consider when approaching a potential trout lie. Remember, you will only have a 10-degree angle from the surface of the water to approach the trout unseen. Keep in mind that since this is an angle, it widens the further the apex is from the water’s surface. It also narrows accordingly the closer the apex is to the water’s surface.

Therefore, the closer to the surface a trout is holding, the smaller his cone of vision will be and the deeper he is holding, the wider his cone of vision will be. Also, the farther away you are from where a trout is holding, the less likely it will see you. And the closer you get, the more likely it is that the fish will see you.

The trout’s vision means fly fisherman of average height wading in water approximately waist-deep will only be able to approach a potential trout lie within about 15 feet without being seen. This is even less if you walk along the bank even with or above the water’s surface.

So, if you need to approach the trout’s lie any closer than 15 feet, you need to crouch closer to the water’s surface. You can also use any available cover such as rocks or boulders to hide your approach.

Keep in mind that trout have 330 degrees of horizontal vision beneath the surface of the water, which leaves a 30-degree blind spot directly behind them. Thus, since trout are anatomically designed to face upstream into the current, approach a potential trout lie from downstream. That way, you can approach them within their blind spot.

3. The Lateral Line: Yes, Trout Can Hear

Trout have rudimentary ears, so they can hear some sound beneath the water’s surface. They also have a far more sensitive organ, the Lateral Line, which extends the length of their body. It consists of a group of highly sensitive nerves that enable them to feel pressure waves in the water.

When you’re wading in the water and approaching a potential trout lie, do so as stealthily and slowly as possible to minimize the pressure waves your body creates moving through the water. Otherwise, the trout will sense you coming and refuse to feed. Approaching a wild trout in its natural environment without them seeing or feeling you is a daunting task. It even takes some experienced anglers practice to perfect.

Anyone who can approach a wild trout, cast their fly or lure precisely within the trout’s cone of vision, and make that fly or lure drift naturally to entice the trout has accomplished a phenomenal feat of planning and stealthy execution. If you can catch a trout, you should be proud, regardless of the size of the trout you catch.


Trout Feeding & Food vs. Energy

Trout Feeding

Trout are born as eggs and as they mature, they grow through different stages according to size. They classify these stages as alevin, fry, fingerlings, parr and juveniles. When the trout become sexually mature it is an adult.

As they grow, a trout must become adept at discriminating what is edible from what is not edible. Trout learn to discriminate by memorizing the size, shape and color of available insect species in their stream. In addition, they look for signs of movement, such as gills along the abdomen of aquatic insect species as an indicator of life.  Trout also spend that time swimming in the current to capture food expending energy.

In addition to the various species of aquatic and terrestrial insects drifting the current, there are also numerous species of small fish inhabiting the stream along with adult trout, depending on geographical location. These include dace, chubs, sculpins, and crayfish, along with trout in the various stages of maturity. And all of them are fair game as far as adult trout are concerned.

To catch trout, look at baitfish species in the following manner: If someone were to offer you your choice between a free McDonald’s cheeseburger and a free 20 oz. steak dinner, which one would you choose? You’d go for the steak dinner, right? And most adult trout feel the same way. Trout will almost always consume the largest meal available if it provides them with more energy than they expend capturing that meal. As a rule, larger flies and lures tend to catch larger trout.


The Three Types of Trout Lies

Trout Lies

Trout in streams live in a constantly moving environment unlike other types of fish, so to conserve energy, they look for places that provide them with shelter from the current, as well as from predators. These places are called “trout lies.”

As a fisherman, it is important to understand there are three different types of trout lies. Each one serves a different purpose for the trout. Read on to learn more.

1. Sheltering Lies

If a trout sees any movement through that magical hole in the mirror above them that may represent danger, it automatically triggers an unconscious reaction. So, trout will dart for the nearest cover and stay there until they are certain the danger has passed. This type of trout lie is a “sheltering lie.”

It is a place that provides shelter from predators but does not offer access to food. Sheltering lies are under or between large rocks, deep inside dark caves under overhanging ledges or beneath undercut stream banks. This is similar to other types of fish such as big and small bass.

2. Feeding Lies

There are other places in the stream that provide trout with access to food. However, they don’t offer any protection from predators. For this reason, trout only gather in these locations when there is an overabundance of food drifting in the current. One example is when aquatic insects are hatching.

During that time, trout will gather in a feeding lie. Trout often choose a certain feeding lie because it requires the trout to expend little to no energy to maintain their position in the current.  The position in the current also concentrates the stream of hatching insects so the trout can eat more while expending less energy.

Feeding lies often occur in calm pools and glides where the water is crystal clear. This way, trout can suspend above the streambed or in the shallow tail of a pool.

3. Prime Lies

A prime lie is the ultimate location for a trout to hold because it offers shelter from predators and easy access to food. No matter what stream, creek, or river you fish, you will always find the largest fish in the prime lies. This is because prime lies are the best real estate available in a section of current. For that reason, the largest, most aggressive trout will always displace the smaller trout in any prime lie.

One way to identify a prime lie is to look for places that would offer a trout shelter. This could be an eddy behind a large rock, behind a log protruding into the stream or on the streambed. It could also be a ledge with a deep cave facing upstream, so trout can see food drifting toward it safely. The key is to look for a strong current that delivers food directly to that lie.

The eddies on the edges of riffles and runs are also prime lies. This is because the turbulent surface of the water makes it impossible for predators to see the trout when they are holding in shallow water. These eddies also provide easy access to food, making them ideal for trout.

In addition, the small pockets found in “pocket water” are also excellent prime lies, as is water deeper than four feet. Even if it is crystal clear, this deeper water usually causes trout to feel reasonably safe. Therefore, they will often cruise there while rooting for nymphs or plucking periwinkles.

Approaching a Trout Lie

Approaching a Fishing Lie

Once you have learned to identify feeding and prime lies within a trout stream, you will need to learn how to approach the lie without spooking the fish. At this point, it’s helpful to learn to adopt the attitude of a hunter rather than that of a fisherman.

Trout grow up paranoid because so many predators like to eat them. Consequently, when spotting an enemy, the trout’s mentality is to get out of there. Although not likely trout can recognize humans, they have thousands of years of genetic memory that tells them what a bear looks like. Since humans look vaguely like bears standing on their hind legs, the sight of one automatically triggers a trout’s flight response.

So, when approaching trout in either feeding lies or prime lies, stop and closely examine the lie you intend to fish and its surrounding area. Then create a plan of approach to account for the type of terrain and water flow you have to wade through to reach a viable casting position.

Take advantage of any cover you can use to conceal your approach. Because trout have 160 degrees of vertical vision, it leaves a mere 10 degrees above the water’s surface to hide. So, whenever you can’t conceal yourself with cover, crouch as low as possible. This way, the trout won’t see you when you move into your chosen casting position.

Once you’re where you want to be, remain as low to the water’s surface as possible. Before your trout fishing trip, practice casting while kneeling and sitting, so you can learn to cast from a low perspective.


How to Read a Trout Stream

Trout Stream

Understanding a trout’s environment and where to look for them in a stream is not enough to make you a successful trout fisherman. You also need to understand how to identify the various parts of a trout stream. This is because different species of trout have distinctly different habitat preferences. So, they inhabit different parts of the same stream.

It is important for anyone who loves to trout fish to be able to identify each water type. Success means knowing where the trout are holding in each type, as well as how to present a fly or lure to them. In addition, it is vital that anglers identify barren water versus productive water. That way, you won’t waste your time fishing water where trout are not holding.

1. Barren vs. Productive Water

To find trout faster, you need to be able to identify barren water from productive water. Heres how:

  • Barren water is too shallow to offer protection from avian predators.
  • Barren water has a bright, sandy bottom that negates trout camouflage. In fact, it makes trout more visible to their predators.
  • Productive water is at least 12 feet deep or more.
  • Productive water has a dark bottom and is directly in or adjacent to the main current, too.

Avid anglers have names for the different types of water in a trout stream. Under natural circumstances, the laws of stream hydraulics dictate these sections occur in this order: riffles, runs, pools and glides.

2. Fishing Riffles

A riffle is a section of the stream where the current is fairly swift, but the water level is fairly shallow. Also, a riffle flows over a bed of small, round rocks or pebbles. So, the entire surface of a riffle consists of small wavelets and mild whitewater.

Consequently, riffles are the aerators of the trout stream. Because they hold the most dissolved oxygen of any section in the stream and offer easy access to food, the entire riffle becomes a prime lie if it is deep enough. There is a method to fishing a riffle. Just follow these simple steps:

  • Station yourself either downstream or adjacent while facing the riffle.
  • Then mentally divide the riffle into lanes about a foot wide.
  • Next, cast your fly or lure to the top of the first lane closest to you.
  • Let it drift for the entire length of the riffle or as far as you can.
  • Then, pick it up and recast it at the next lane over and let it drift the length of that lane.
  • Repeat this process until you have covered the entire riffle from side to side.

It may sometimes be necessary to wade into the riffle to reach the next lane. When holding in swift current against a flat bottom, all trout need to do is place their lower jaw against the stream bed. The current pushes them down and holds them there just like the wing on the rear end of a race car. To obtain food, trout slightly tilt their pectoral fins and the current causes them to rise or descend through the water column.

3. Fishing Runs

A run is a section of the stream where the current becomes narrow, swift and is usually quite deep. Because the current is much swifter in a run than in a riffle, the prime lies in a run are adjacent to the current, rather than directly in it.

Therefore, to find the prime lies, look for large rocks either above or below the surface of the water. Also look for undercut ledges that create eddies. Eddies provide trout with shelter from the current, while also providing access to aquatic insects drifting in the current.

To fish a run, drift your fly or lure in the current as close to those prime lies as possible. This way, the trout has the least amount of distance to cover to seize your fly or lure. In addition, runs often extend into a pool below them. In this case, you will often see a tongue of swift water extending into a body of calmer water.

When fishing runs in pools, cast your fly or lure to the top of the current tongue along the edge of the seam between the swift water and the calm water. Then, let it drift or retrieve from it the entire length of the current tongue.

4. Fishing Pools

A pool is a small to large section of stream with a flat, calm surface. Pools can be shallow, deep or anywhere in-between. But they all have a relatively calm, smooth surface. This makes it much easier for predators to spot trout in pools. So, trout have evolved super-effective camouflage to prevent predators from detecting them when holding in calm water.

When you take a dark-colored object and place it on a light-colored background, the dark object is obvious because the light background outlines it. And the same thing happens to trout when they swim over a bright, sandy pool bottom.

Therefore, the prime lies in a pool are at the head of the pool where aquatic insects drift with the current to enter the pool. They will also be along the edges of the current tongue that extends into the pool from a run or waterfall above it.

However, if it is a large pool, there are other places where the trout will hold, such as:

  • Any area with a dark bottom or a shadow from an overhanging tree, especially if it is strewn with various-sized rocks.
  • Behind or beneath logs that extend into the stream from the bank or are submerged and lying on the streambed.
  • Along the banks under overhanging trees if there is enough current to deliver a steady flow of aquatic insects.

5. Fishing Glides

A glide is a large pool that is too long to be a pool. In a glide, even though the current is steady, the surface is calm. For instance, picture your average backyard swimming pool. Then, picture that same pool 10 or 12 times longer and you will have a good idea of the difference between a pool and a glide.

Consequently, glides are the most difficult of all trout waters to fish because the surface is calm. Also, the water is deep enough that the trout have a wide cone of vision. Thus, they can easily see any angler coming from a long way off.

Due to the calm current in glides, trout cruise rather than hold in a particular position. Anglers often have to search for trout when fishing a glide. To fish a glide, plan on making long casts that will gently land on the water’s surface. That will help you can stay out of the trout’s cone of vision.

Also, rather than fish the entire glide blind, stay on the bank and use the intervening foliage to hide your presence. Slowly sneak upstream while looking for cruising trout. When you spot a trout, move back downstream beyond its cone of vision before casting your fly or lure.

All novice trout fishermen can become adept at reading a trout stream and differentiating between barren water and productive water. Also, determining where the prime lies are and how to present lures effectively in them will make you a successful trout fisherman.

Successful Trout Fishing

To catch more trout, understand the environment where trout live and feed. It helps to envision things from their point of view. Factors such as living in a viscous, constantly moving environment affects both trout mentality and their actions.

Always keep in mind that the surface world is foreign to trout. Even though they occasionally feed on the surface film, trout prefer to feed subsurface where they can use all their senses. And lastly, keep the food versus energy equation in mind, because it governs all fish species in all types of aquatic environments. This equation dictates their actions, as well.

With this newfound knowledge on trout fishing, you’ll soon be out on the waters achieving an awesome catch.

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