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12 of the Best Fishing Destinations in the U.S.

12 of the Best Fishing Destinations in the U.S.

You’ve conquered the local fishing hole, and are ready to explore exciting destinations, try out some new bait and lure tactics, and catch fish you’ve never caught before. The only question is, where exactly should you go? First, you have to decide how far you’re willing to venture for your vacation. Next, you have to decide if you prefer freshwater or saltwater fishing. After that, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices. 

If you need some inspiration for your angling adventure, Boatline is sharing 12 incredible fishing destinations in the United States. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to your next great catch.

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1. Florida Keys, Florida

Also called “The Fisherman’s Paradise”, the Florida Keys are absolutely stunning. These tropical islands have beautiful beaches, aqua blue water, and a variety of saltwater fish to catch from your center console or other boat. If you plan on staying inshore, you can find trout, redfish, pompano, tarpon, and bonefish. Along the coral reefs, you can find snapper, grouper, and cobia. If you venture offshore, you might get lucky and catch mahi-mahi or tuna.

2. Lake Tahoe, California

This Northern California gem is the largest alpine lake in North America. Because the lake is so vast, there are several fishing charters led by experienced locals who are passionate about helping you explore the area. During the summer months, freshwater anglers who visit Lake Tahoe can catch salmon, rainbow trout, and mackinaw. The clear, crisp waters of Lake Tahoe are open for fishing all year long.

3. Lake Champlain, Vermont 

If you’re looking to plan a fishing trip in the Northeast, Lake Champlain is the place to go. It’s one of the biggest natural freshwater lakes in North America, and it contains an abundance of fish species. Trout, bass, catfish, sunfish, pike, and panfish can all be found in the depths of this lake from your bay boat. Late spring and early summer are ideal times to visit.

4. Outer Banks, North Carolina

The barrier islands of the Outer Banks contain ample opportunity for avid anglers to land their next memorable catch. If you remain in the shallow inshore waters in your walkaround or other boat, you might catch red drum, flounder, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, or cobia. If you navigate offshore, you might be able to catch tuna, mahi-mahi, wahoo, marlin, or sailfish. Headboat fishing is popular in the Outer Banks and is a great option for those who want the convenience of having all necessary fishing supplies provided for them on their nautical excursion.

5. Bristol Bay, Alaska 

Also referred to as “The Salmon Factory of the World”, Bristol Bay is an incredible spot to catch five different species of salmon: king, sockeye, chum, pink, and silver. You can also find rainbow trout, arctic char, northern pike, and more in this freshwater tributary. Bristol Bay contains rivers, lakes and streams that are perfect for fly fishing, boating, and admiring the diverse wildlife in Alaska. 

6. Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

This posh summer vacation destination is also a hotspot for some incredible saltwater fishing. Martha’s Vineyard is the third largest island on the East Coast of the U.S., and it contains several miles of beautiful coastline. The island’s open season is April through October, which is when you can catch bluefish, fluke, bonito, and rockfish. Fishing from the shoreline, otherwise known as surfcasting, is a popular method of fishing in this area. However, you can also take a charter to fish inshore or offshore.

7. Chesapeake Bay, Maryland & Virginia

If you’re looking for an excellent fishing spot in Maryland or Virginia, North America’s largest estuary, otherwise known as the Chesapeake Bay, is a great option. The bay’s brackish waters are perfect for Maryland crabs and a variety of diverse fish species. Rockfish, flounder, bluefish, croaker, and red drum are just a few that you might find.

8. Thousand Islands, New York

The Thousand Islands area of New York consists of almost 2,000 small islands within the Saint Lawrence River. This magical landscape is rich with bass, walleye, pike, panfish, perch, and more. Shore angling, ice fishing, and boat fishing are all popular ways to go fishing in Thousand Islands. Spring, summer, and fall are all great seasons to visit Thousand Islands for your fishing excursion. 

9. Kona, Hawaii

Known for its amazing deep sea fishing only a few miles from the harbor, Kona is a gorgeous location for anglers who want to catch marlin, mahi-mahi, tuna, and ono. The rugged coastline and lush scenery make a perfect backdrop for a pristine day on the water. Kona is also a perfect place to snorkel, surf, and cast your reel from the shore. The reefs around Kona are filled to the brim with tropical fish and other sea creatures.

10. Lake Fork, Texas

Sitting 90 miles east of Dallas, Lake Fork is a premier trophy largemouth bass lake. In fact, Lake fork has produced the top five largest bass ever caught in Texas. This deep reservoir can be visited year-round in your bass boat, but you’re more likely to catch a big fish during the colder months. You can also find crappie, catfish, bluegill, and sunfish here.

All of these destinations offer beautiful views, an abundance of saltwater and freshwater species, and the opportunity to make lifelong memories. And that’s really what fishing is all about – enjoying your time on the water, either solo or with loved ones, while eagerly anticipating what the day might bring.

11. Deschutes River, Oregon

This huge river in Central Oregon is known as “a fly fisherman’s paradise”, and for good reason. The Lower Deschutes, in particular, has been a sought after destination for anglers for generations. The towering canyon contains a variety of birds and wildlife, stunning scenery, and large numbers of rainbow trout and steelhead. The Lower Deschutes season begins at the end of April, but the rest of the river is open year-round.

12. Bighorn River, Montana 

Only a three hour drive from Bozeman, Bighorn River is a popular destination for fly fishing enthusiasts. This infamous river is dense with rainbow and brown trout, and it’s typically crowded with excited anglers who are eager to land their next catch. Summer is known as the best time of year to visit. Just keep in mind that much of the Bighorn River is located on private property and public access is very limited. 

If you’re in the market for a new or used boat for your summer fishing adventures, check out our nationwide inventory on


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Shelby Ballou
Shelby Ballou

Other Resources

Bass Angler Magazine Answers YOUR Fishing Questions

How Do I Get Started in Tournament Fishing?

Venice, Louisiana: A Bass Angler’s Paradise

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