Fishing can be both a relaxing pastime and an exciting sporting adventure enjoyed by beginners and experts alike. Some fishermen specialize in trying to hook specific species of fish, whereas others just cast a line and see what they can catch. There are far too many rivers, lakes and streams in the United States to possibly name all of the top spots; however, below is a list of a few fishing locations that are diverse in species and unique in environment. These places offer a variety of options for ice, fly and spin fishing along with beautiful surrounding landscapes.
Bozeman, Montana and the immediate vicinity is filled with picturesque lakes and rivers that are welcoming to both expert and beginner anglers. This area is the hot spot in the state for fly fishing. The Yellowstone, Jefferson, Gallatin, Big Hole and Madison rivers are consistently noted as being some of the top fly fishing destinations in the country. There are plenty of guided fishing tours available that can take you to private ranches, canyon rivers and wade fishing locations. Common species of fish in these waters are Arctic Graylings and rainbow, brown, golden, bull lake brook and cutthroat trout. Fishermen also flock to the area in winter to enjoy great ice fishing at Ennis and Glen Lake as well as the Bozeman Ponds and the Canyon Ferry Reservoir. Besides great fishing the Bozeman area is known for its beautiful mountain ranges that jut into the Montana skies.
Vilas County, Wisconsin
This county alone is home to 1,318 freshwater lakes that reside mainly in beautiful national and state forests. Lakes range from small specs on the map to as large as the 3,816 acre Trout Lake. Fish that can be found in this region include white, rock, large and smallmouth bass, crappie, bluegill, musky, sturgeon, northern pike, walleye, bullhead, salmon and trout. The muskellunge, or musky fish, is the Wisconsin state fish and considered to be the trophy fish of the region. More world record musky are caught in this part of the country than anywhere else on the planet. In fact, Boulder Junction, WI is officially trademarked as “The Musky Captial of the World.” Also in Vilas County, the City of Eagle River hosts the world’s largest musky fishing tournament each year.
Known as the “Salmon Capital of the World,” Ketchikan, Alaska has an economy that is based mainly on fishing and tourism alone. Spin and fly fishing are both popular methods of catching fish in the many streams, rivers and lakes in the area. Types of fish common to the Ketchikan region are Dolly Varden and cutthroat trout as well as steelheads, halibut, ling cod, red snapper and rock cod. There are also popular types of salmon to fish for, which include: pink, chum , king, sockeye and coho. The coho salmon, also known as the silver salmon, is widely considered to be the most sought after sport fish in these waters due to their rich flavor. There are plenty of easily accessible fishing areas, however, some people will choose to take chartered plane rides into more remote parts of Ketchikan in order to enjoy a more private trip further into the wilderness.
Brainerd Lakes Area, Minnesota
Fishing does not always have to take place in the warmer months. Brainer, Minnesota plays host to the world’s largest ice fishing tournament every January on Gull Lake. The contest draws in over 10,000 people each year and gives the local economy an approximate $1 million boost. The amount of prizes that can be won annually total over $150,000 and all of the proceeds go to charities. Additionally, there are over 460 lakes in the area that provide ample fishing opportunities year-round. Commonly caught fish consist of northern pike, sunfish, perch, musky, large and small mouth bass, walleye and crappie. Many fishermen focus on walleye fishing in the Brainerd Lakes Area as this species of fish is regarded as being very good for eating.
Coeur D’Alene, Idaho
This city and the surrounding area in Northern Idaho are full of lakes, rivers and streams for both fly and spin fishing. Put on your waders, jump in a boat or stand on the shore and cast a line. In Coeur D’Alene Lake many anglers enjoy trolling for Chinook and Kokanee salmon. This lake is full of a variety of fish, such as yellow perch, longnose suckers, various trout, tiger musky, bass, tench and crappie. Rivers and streams around Coeur D’Alene are known for their rainbow, bull, brown and cutthroat trout populations which remain active throughout most of the long fishing season. Some of the most popular waters to fish in around here besides Coeur D’Alene Lake are the St. Joe River and the North Fork of Clearwater River.
Rapid City, South Dakota
Known as the gateway city to fishing in the Black Hills National Park, Rapid City, South Dakota has lakes and streams that are full of northern pike, bass, walleye and panfish as well as brown, brook and rainbow trout. Fishing season is open year round here and the top spots to hit are Deerfield Reservoir, Stockade Lake, Sheridan Lake, French Creek, Spring Creek, Rapid Creek and Castle Creek. The peak fishing months are from March through the middle of November, although there are still great opportunities throughout the year which include some good ice fishing prospects. Even if fishing is your main goal for your trip, be sure to take a few hours out of one of your days to visit nearby Mount Rushmore.