Can’t decide where to go for your next fishing adventure? Are you looking for something a little different this year? Maybe the family has vetoed your remote angling escape? Don’t worry, we’ve searched from coast to coast and border to border to bring you a list of the best fishing cities in the US.
Why fish in a city? That’s simple. Small towns and remote waters have that “untouched” charm we all love, but there’s never much to do once the trip is over. Head to any one of these cities, though, and you’ll find awesome angling right alongside an amazing city break. Each city has its own special something. So in no particular order, here are our picks for the best fishing cities to visit in the US this coming year.
1. Boston, MA
Where better to kick off the list than one of the nation’s oldest and largest port cities? From huge Striped Bass in Boston Harbor to Quincy Bay’s famous Flounder fishery, Boston has great angling right on its doorstep. Head out a little farther, and you can also catch delicious groundfish like Pollock and Haddock. Up for a real challenge? Venture offshore for a chance of hooking giant Bluefin Tuna and Sharks weighing well over 500 pounds!
With so many fish to choose from, it may be hard to tear yourself away from the water. “The Athens of America” is well worth exploring, though. Walk the Freedom Trail to soak up the cobblestone streets and revolutionary history. See a show or catch a gig any night of the week. Wash it all down with a drink in one of the endless trendy bars. Boston has it all.
Charleston is, in many ways, the perfect city break destination. South Carolina’s oldest city is repeatedly voted America’s friendliest, making its historic streets all the more enjoyable to explore. Once you’ve had your fill of Greek and Gothic Revival architecture, you can check out Charleston’s famous music scene and maybe even try out the dance the city gave its name to.
Of course, you can easily spend a week in town without doing any of that. Instead, you can comb the Lowcountry marshes in search of monster Redfish and Flounder. Test your strength against Tarpon and Bull Sharks or fish the reefs for tasty Snappers and Groupers. You can even head offshore to target Sailfish, Marlin, and Yellowfin Tuna. Charleston isn’t the largest city on our list, but it sure has a lot to offer.
It takes a lot to earn the nickname “Everybody’s Favorite City” but if anywhere can pull it off, it’s San Francisco. Whether you’re taking a stroll along Fisherman’s Wharf or taking a vintage streetcar up Market Street, “the City” has an offbeat charm you can’t help but fall in love with. San Francisco’s cultural scene is just as impressive, with every genre of music and every school of art at your fingertips.
You’re spoiled for choice on the water, too. The San Francisco Bay is home to anything from Lingcod and Halibut to Salmon, Sturgeon, and Striped Bass. On the other side of town, the Pacific Ocean holds monster pelagic Sharks and delicious Albacore Tuna. You’ve also got freshwater lakes full of Largemouth Bass and Rainbow Trout. If variety is the spice of life, San Francisco is pure hot sauce.
You can’t talk about fishing in the US without tipping your hat to the Gulf of Mexico. Back bays, grass flats, reefs, and the bluewater – there’s something for everyone. Corpus Christi is a prime example of this. Catch Redfish and Seatrout right in the middle of town. Head out through Aransas Pass to haul in Red Snapper. Feeling more ambitious? Book an overnight charter and head out in search of Marlin and Tuna.
And when you finish with all that, you still have plenty more to see! Take a tour of the USS Lexington aircraft carrier or see even more sea life at the Texas State Aquarium. Hit the beach to relax and cool off or hop over to the stunning Mustang Island. Corpus Christi is perfect for a family vacation.
Minneapolis has long been known as “the City of Lakes” – and with good reason. There are over a dozen large lakes within city limits and countless smaller ponds. On top of all that, you have the Mississippi River, which divides the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. All this water means a lot of fish: Musky, Walleye, Bass, Crappie, and even Pike. Cast a line on a summer’s day or drill through the ice in winter. Whenever you visit, you’re in for a lot of fun.
And the fun doesn’t stop once you’re off the water. If the weather’s fine, take a cycle along the Chain of Lakes. If it’s cold, duck into a cafe for a hearty brunch or head to America’s largest mall to shop to your heart’s content. In the evening, visit the Guthrie Theatre for a slice of high culture, then grab a delicious meal at any of the Twin Cities’ many eateries. You won’t get bored, that’s for sure.
6. Portland, OR
If Minneapolis is known for its lakes, Portland should be famous for its rivers. “The City of Roses” is surrounded by rivers and they’re all full of big, tasty fish. The Columbia and Willamette Rivers both run through town and are great for Salmon, Steelhead, and Sturgeon. And that’s just within the city itself. You can find dozens of streams and creeks in the surrounding countryside if you’re looking for some peace and quiet.
Portland has a reputation as the hipster capital of America – so revel in it! Start the day with a freshly-roasted artisan coffee, then rent a bike to explore the arty streets and boutique shops of the Mississippi Neighborhood. Eat something strange and delicious from a colorful food cart and wash it down with a craft beer from the city’s famous microbreweries. Oh, and make sure to take advantage of the complete lack of sales tax while you’re in town!
7. Miami, FL
Miami is one of those places that really lives up to the hype. If you want beaches, bars, glitz, and glamor, this is the town for you. You could happily spend your whole trip lounging on the beach or drinking cocktails on rooftops, but save some time for the art deco architecture and Cuban heritage. And don’t forget to check out the garish mansions along South Beach.
As well as being a socialite’s circus, Miami is hands down one of the best fishing cities in the US, if not the world. The flats are full of Bonefish, Tarpon, Permit, and Snook – one through four on most fly fishing bucket lists. As soon as you leave the shallows, you hit deep reefs full of Groupers, Snappers, Tilefish, and more. Sailfish show up a stone’s throw from the shore, and even Swordfish aren’t far away. The hardest part is choosing what to target.
Virginia Beach is perfectly summed up by its popular nickname, “the Resort City.” It has the world’s longest pleasure beach and an amazing climate to go with it. When you’re done with the sands, you can take a trip up the Chesapeake Bay for even more coastal beauty. The city has “Wish you were here” written all over it.
Get a rod in your hand and Virginia Beach really comes into its own. The city is the meeting point of the East Coast’s top fish species: Redfish, Trout, Cobia, Striped Bass, Tautog, Black Seabass – you can catch them all! And that’s just the local waters. Head offshore, and you find deep canyons full of Blue and White Marlin, Sailfish, Bigeye, Yellowfin, and Bluefin Tuna. It’s not just people who love to vacation in Virginia Beach.
Baltimore may not be the first town that comes to mind when you’re planning a fun city break. It has a lot to offer if you give it a chance, though. It has a great jazz scene, an awesome aquarium, and some of the best seafood in the country (crab cakes, anyone?). We can see how it became known as “Charm City.”
Hidden deep in the Chesapeake Bay, Baltimore also has access to some of the best fishing in the country. Explore the Middle and Upper Chesapeake Bay in search of Stripers, Bluefish, Seabass, Flounder, Tautog, and delicious Blue Crab. Otherwise, hit the Patapsco River to bring in Perch, Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Carp, and of course, more tasty Crab.
10. Chicago, IL
Chicago needs no introduction when it comes to culture. America’s third-biggest city is famous for its theatres, festivals, and genre-defining musical heritage. Everything from jazz and blues to hip-hop and house music was been shaped at least partly in “the Windy City.” It’s a city that really respects its music and its art. It’s also the birthplace of deep dish pizza if all the galleries and gigs get your stomach rumbling.
Fishing in Chicago comes down to a simple choice: lake or river? Lake Michigan’s vast waters hold Chinook and Coho Salmon, Rainbow, Lake, and Brown Trout, Perch, Walleye, and more. If you want to keep your feet on dry land, the Chicago River is home to enough Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass to keep even the most sporting angler happy.
“The Metroplex” has a lot more going for it than sharing a name with a Transformer. It’s the largest metropolitan area in the South, one of the biggest business hubs in the country, and home to over seven million people. No surprise, then, that you can find just about anything here. Museums, galleries, bars, restaurants, theme parks, sports stadiums, rodeos, cattle drives – the list attractions is endless!
With so much urban sprawl, the one thing you might not expect is great fishing. But you would be wrong! The DFW area is riddled with lakes full of every kind of Bass imaginable, from Striped Bass to White Bass to Largemouths and more. You can also find some giant Catfish and if you really want a challenge, the prehistoric monster known as Alligator Gar.
Last but definitely not least on our list of the best fishing cities in the US is New York. The Big Apple is already on pretty much everyone’s top 10 travel destinations without even thinking about fishing. It’s one of the world’s most important metropolises and a seriously cool place to explore. And what better way to see the city than from the water?
Take a boat onto the East River to battle Stripers in downtown Manhattan. Explore Jamaica Bay in search of Flounder and Bluefish. Head out into the New York Bight and things really get kicked up a gear, with monster Mako Sharks and delicious Bluefin Tuna. Even the ponds in Central Park are full of Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass – and you’re allowed to fish for them. It must have been an angler who dubbed New York “the Capital of the World.”
These are our picks for the best fishing cities in the US this year. Do you agree with our choices? Which city do you most want to fish in? Which cities did we miss? Let us know in the comments below, we’re packing our bags already!