8 Great Destinations for your Next USA Fishing Trip
For people looking for an escape from the confines and hassles of city living, a step into nature’s arms always offers the best solution. While hiking and trail running have become the favorites for an environmentally-charged weekend getaway, there are other activities which are just as enjoyable and half as exhausting – fishing being a prime option. Cast a line, wait in silence, and take in the serene views – until the bait catches and then the excitement begins. If a fishing adventure sounds like a great addition to your bucket list, you should check out these eight great fishing destinations in the USA.
1. Lake St. Clair, Michigan
Starting off with a calm fishing spot, the large freshwater lake that is Lake St. Clair is a favorite destination in the USA for both recreational and professional anglers. The 430 square mile lake is quite well- known as a large body of water bordering Detroit, Michigan and Ontario in Canada.
Lake St. Clair is home to a variety of smallmouth bass, as well as walleye, perch, crappie, and the lake has an abundant supply of game fish which is one of the reasons fishers flock to these waters. For those looking for a bigger haul in less time, especially during summertime, the best option is to take a charter fishing boat. If you are not after the quantity and would rather enjoy the scenery offered by the surrounding Mt. Clemens or Harsens Island, take a camp without the boat and enjoy fishing from the quiet shores of the lake.
After the fishing trip, you can also sightsee and visit the sights surrounding the lake. For other activities for your weekend, visit the Lake St. Clair Metropark just a small distance from Mt. Clemens that runs along the shoreline of the lake. Another is the Brandenburg Park, a 17-acre waterfront park boasting a 500-foot pier that extends deep into the Lake St. Clair. Here you can find your charter boats as well as sports amenities, picnic areas, and hiking/ biking paths.
2. Chesapeake Bay, Maryland
The Chesapeake Bay is an estuary running through the states of Maryland and Virginia to the North Atlantic Ocean. That being said, the bay has parts containing fresh water, brackish water, and salt water – making it home to a variety of fishes, some 350 species including flounders, sea bass, tautog and the rockfish. Among these varied species of fish, the striped bass population, locally known as the rockfish, has made its mark for both locals and tourists. With about seventy percent of the striped bass in the Atlantic Coast born from the Chesapeake and its tributaries, it is basically the rockfish capital of the world and they even hold the Annual Mid-Atlantic Rockfish Shootout.
For visitors dropping lines or anglers looking for a good catch, the best choice is still getting on charter boats and just waiting for the haul. Others, however, prefer the solo kayaking trip. Paddling out to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and tossing their baits in the still waters. Tourists do not need to carry their own kayaks as travel outfitters are aplenty along the shores, available either for rent or for sale. Also, some anglers, professional or not, simply prefer to cast their line from the seashores. Shore fishing is also a good pick for fishers in the Chesapeake Bay area. Just make sure to keep your distance when casting your lines. Lastly, the Sea Gull Fishing Pier offers another distinct experience for you next fishing trip. Located just off of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, gets you a good spot above the still waters without having to set sail or to get wet.
3. Thousand Islands, New York
Located in upstate New York, the Thousand Islands is comprised of some 1,800 islands spanning the US- Canada border from Lake Ontario to the Saint Lawrence River. During the mild summers, a full day is equivalent to a bountiful haul of bass, walleye, salmon, northern pike, and the elusive muskellunge.
The Thousand Islands have become a staple in fishing circles and in fishing articles, mainly because it offers a treat for anglers of every skill level. Novice anglers can also have their fill of game fish, especially during the summer at any of the well- known guided tours through the river. However, for the more experienced fishers, the challenge presented by the muskellunge is worth the wait, with the freshwater fish growing up to five feet long.
One of the best spots to start this fishing trip is through the small town of Clayton. Starting over two centuries ago when their local fishing guides traversed the waters of St. Lawrence, carrying the more prominent members of society to the fishing grounds. Now, tourists can book a tour or rent a powerboat in the town, inclusive of fishing equipment and tackles, as well as communications and safety equipment.
4. Devils Lake, North Dakota
Throwing in a little bit of history as to how a magnificent body of water ended up with a name such as the Devils Lake; it goes back to the first people to settle in the area. The local Dakota people referred to the lake as sacred, being the home of an underwater serpent. Later, European settlers misconstrued the local name to mean “Bad Spirit Lake,” or Devils Lake. It was called bad, since the water was salty and was therefore unfit for human consumption.
However, this North Dakota natural spot has attracted tourists who are out for sightseeing and anglers eager for fishing. The lake has repeatedly earned the name “Perch Capital” of the United States and the world. A selection of game fishes ranging from white bass, crappies, walleyes, and northern pike awaits anglers for most of the year. Even in the winter, when parts of the lake freezes over, the lake offers the opportunity for ice fishing, marking it as one of the best ice fishing places in the US. After a day of fishing, tourists can take a session of rest and recreation or try out other fun activities at the Sullys Hill National Game Preserve and the Grahams Island State Park. Also, a rising attraction in the area is the Spirit Lake Casino for those wanting to try out their luck.
However, with its salty waters and steadily rising water levels, the population of the common carp has dramatically increased over the years. While this means a steadily rising supply of carp for game or fishing, it spells trouble for the rest of the marine ecosystem as it competes for food supply of other fish species as well as turning the water murkier, affecting marine life in the process.
5. Kona, Hawaii
Centuries of harmony between man and nature has kept the pristine beauty that is Hawaii. Moreover, with fishing as a way of life and part of their culture and traditions, get ready to learn a thing or two about casting lines and nets. The coastline of Kona is an ideal spot for shore fishing with its calm waters teeming with its own selection of fish. However, the real gem in its waters is its deep sea fishing going as deep as 6,000 feet below sea level. The bounty in Kona includes ono, mahi mahi, and tuna – readily available for visitors joining in any of the local daily charter boats. Other guided tours even haul in sharks and bottom fishes. These charters are available just north of another historic spot, Kailua Village, at the Honokohau Harbor.
Tourists looking for the thrill of angling with their feet planted on the Hawaii sands can cast baits along the coasts of Kona and Kohala. The reefs surrounding these coasts are brimming with tropical fish, giving amateur and professional anglers a chance at a catch of angelfish, giant trevally and snappers. The best spots for fishing off the shore include the Kailua- Kona Fishing Pier and the Keauhou Bay. Gears and equipment are available at any of the local outfitters.
6. Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
For anglers having a preference for bluefish and striped bass, the general opinion is that Martha’s Vineyard is still one of the best spots in the world. For those unfamiliar, Martha’s Vineyard is an island south of Cape Cod in the US state of Massachusetts. Also, its fame is partly due to the island hosting the oldest fishing tournament in the States – the Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby. An event which traces its roots back to 1946, five weeks of tournaments across multiple divisions and participants reaching thousands gets both locals and tourists lost in the festivities.
Aside from the prized and historical striped bass and bluefish, fishers can also reel in other species of fish such as false albacore, bunkers, bonito, and with luck, even mackerel, depending on where you set up shop. The southwestern tip of the island, the Point, is a famous spot for fishing although local and experienced fishermen cast their lines after dark. Tourists should be careful at this spot since its stretching cobblestone beach is slippery and treacherous. Another point ideal for fishing is the Devil’s Bridge, a long shoal running northwest from Gay Head to the neighboring island of Cuttyhunk. The spot, which is also deceptively dangerous on bad weather, is a favorite for anglers looking for striped bass.
For boaters or visiting fishermen aboard chartered boats, the best place of a variety of experience and hauls is the Vineyard Sound. This narrow stretch of the Atlantic between Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod contains several shoals, which serves as a home and a constant bounty of sea bass, scup, and fluke. At certain times of the year, schools of bass, bonito, and false albacore are also available for bottom fishers in the area.
7. California Delta, California
Not all fishing enthusiasts are interested in braving challenging weather conditions, or joining chartered boats. For anglers who would rather cast a line and wait at piers and river banks, the area around the California Delta is the place to go. The region offers a comforting warm and mild climate, perfect for practicing anglers at any time of the year. As a leading candidate for being United States’ fisherman’s paradise, there are a lot of competitive fishing derbies available for participants and spectators all year round.
The delta houses a thriving population of striped bass, black bass, catfish, and sturgeons. For those who are beginning this craft, check out Sherman Lake and Broad Slough for your first line casting. These places are usually packed with fellow beginners and experienced anglers focused on catching striped bass. As the sun moves in the sky, the water also gets warmer and draws out these striped bass. Moreover, there are also several spots available, and a wider range of game, if you head up the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers.
The openness of the environment around the delta makes your protective equipment such as sunscreen, fisherman’s hat, and sunglasses imperative. Don’t worry though, as outfitters are also ready to provide everything you need, from fishing to safety to communications.
8. Kobuk River, Alaska
This one is for experienced anglers looking to reel in something different from their run of the mill hauls. Kobuk River extends almost 300 miles in the Arctic region of Alaska and is home to arctic char, chum salmon, lake trout, arctic grayling, and northern pike. Earning its prestige as for those who are brave and experienced enough, grip- type fishing has become the preferred method in these parts.
However, the real challenge and prize of the Kobuk River is its sheefish, also known as nelma, inconnu, or connie. This specie of freshwater whitefish, a cousin to the better- known salmon, can grow up to more than a yard long. These fish are strong and agile, posing the threat of snapping lines and ripping rods even from experienced anglers. They only swim around the river to feed and lay eggs. The biggest of them reside deep within the Arctic Circle and often requires an experienced guide to get to the fishing spots.
An added incentive is that, while waiting to reel in their catch, fishers are treated to a calming expanse of forests and tundra, depending on where you are located. Moreover, local wildlife such as moose, red foxes, beavers, and even black and grizzly bears can be seen prowling the landscape.