For this year’s list of spots, check out this article.
Fishing is the perfect way to spend quality time with your dad. Getting out on the water and away from the stress of day to day life. Sharing the excitement and relaxation of reeling in fish. It’s the stuff memories are made of! And with Father’s Day just around the corner, we asked you to suggest your favorite spots to go fishing with your old man.
There were a lot of great suggestions, so we narrowed it down to the best of the best. We drew up a list based on the quality and variety of fishing available, as well as what else you can do while you’re there. From remote lakes to downtown rivers, here are our picks for the best Father’s Day fishing spots in the U.S.
Chesapeake Beach, MD
If you’re from the East Coast, chances are some of your favorite childhood memories are of reeling in Striped Bass with your pop. And where better to do so than Chesapeake Beach? Nestled in the Upper Chesapeake Bay, on the mouth of the appropriately-named Fishing Creek, it’s an ideal spot for some family fun out on the water.
As a matter of fact, that’s exactly what Chesapeake Beach was built for. It was founded in 1891 as a resort town, a place where people could escape the noise and stress of nearby DC and Annapolis. It still fits the bill perfectly, with a harbor, hotel, restaurants, and of course, plenty of charter boats waiting to take you fishing.
So, what can you expect to catch? The main target is always going to be Striped Bass, or “Rockfish,” as they’re known in these parts. You can also hook some tasty Flounder, as well as the Chesapeake Bay’s signature delicacy: Crab. The best part? Because it’s so close to the city, you can do all this and still be home in time for lunch!
Douglas Lake, TN
With 500,000 acres of lakes and 50,000 miles of streams and rivers, you’re never far from great fishing in Tennessee. So, what makes Douglas Lake the spot you should visit? Put simply, it balances breathtaking scenery, easy access, and a variety of fun water activities – chief among them fishing!
Douglas Lake has been named a BASSMASTER Top 100 lake in recent years, and is considered one of the best Bass fishing spots in the entire country. It’s not just about lunker Largemouth, mind you. The lake holds everything from Musky and Pike to Sauger and Walleye, not to mention huge schools of Panfish. There’s something for every angler.
The variety doesn’t end with the fish, either. For starters, you can take your pick of how to fish the lake – on a boat, from shore, or even with a guide. You can also try other water sports, like jet-skiing and kayaking. Enjoy a busy day on the water, then head back to your cabin or campground to celebrate the day’s catch. It doesn’t get much better than that.
It’s easy to find fishing spots out in the middle of nowhere. But what if you want awesome angling and a fun city break, all in one? If you’re in the Northwest, one of your best options is Spokane, WA. Here, you can enjoy top-quality Trout fishing right in the city center, plus Walleye, Bass, and even Kokanee Salmon just a short hop downstream.
Finished fishing? Don’t leave the river just yet. The Spokane River is a great spot for white water rafting, with tours tailored for families and thrill-seekers alike. After that, drop off your rods and get your dose of culture at the renowned Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture. Or just unwind in one of the city’s many taprooms – up to you.
All in all, Spokane is the perfect spot for a Father’s Day fishing break. That should come as no surprise, considering this is actually the birthplace of the celebration! Local resident Sonora Smart Dodd campaigned for decades for a day honoring dads, until the first official Father’s Day in 1910.
St. Augustine, FL
You can’t make a list of fishing spots without tipping your hat to the Sunshine State. The fishing here is so good that people travel from all over the world to enjoy it. Competition is stiff in this sportfishing paradise, so you need to be something special to come out on top. And boy, is St. Augustine special!
Let’s start with the city itself. St. Augustine is the oldest city in the U.S., founded by the Spanish in 1565 and packed full of hundreds of years of history and culture. If your dad’s into architecture, this one’s a no-brainer. The same goes for golf. St. Augustine is home to the World Golf Hall of Fame, and the surrounding area boasts several tournaments and dozens of world-class courses.
But you’re not here to work on your handicap. You’re here to fish – and you’re in the right place. St. Augustine has a large charter fleet that can get you on anything from Kingfish and Cobia to Red Snapper, Black Drum, and even Tarpon. You can also venture offshore for big game fish like Wahoo and Sailfish, or just relax on the soft sandy beach for some surf fishing. It’s all good!
Tuolumne County, CA
Nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, within easy reach of Sacramento and the Bay Area, Tuolumne is a popular destination for outdoor adventures. The area’s mostly famous for Yosemite National Park, and that’s a great reason to visit. However, it’s just the start of what this stunning corner of California has to offer.
Tuolumne County is home to dozens of pristine lakes, from vast foothill reservoirs like New Melones and Don Pedro to mountain gems like Lyons, Pinecrest, and Beardsley. Depending on where you go, you can take on Trout, Salmon, Catfish, Crappie, Bass, and so much more.
Feeling more adventurous? Spots like Emigrant, Buck, and Huckleberry Lake are often used as base camps for high-country fishing expeditions. Then there’s the Tuolumne River, with an excellent Rainbow and Brown Trout bite, especially above Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. And if you get through all that, you can always hit up Yosemite!
Lake Champlain, NY
Looking for great fishing and a fun mix of activities in the Northeast? Look no further than Lake Champlain. Separating Vermont and New York with a maze of picturesque islands and crystal clear water, Lake Champlain is as scenic as it gets. And there’s tons to keep you and your father busy here.
Angling-wise, Lake Champlain is all about the Bass. It’s consistently ranked as one of the top Bass fisheries in the country, with Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass reaching impressive sizes here. Launch from the lake’s many boat ramps, hire a guide, or paddle out in a canoe or a kayak. Feeling competitive? Sign up for the Father’s Day Derby to take on other anglers as well as big fish. It’s the stuff great memories are made of!
The fishing here is legendary, but it’s not the only thing to do. Enjoy innovative storytelling, historic weapons demonstrations, and a fascinating look at the area’s colonial history at the nearby Fort Ticonderoga. Get out into the countryside with miles of carefully-maintained hiking trails. Otherwise, just relax on the beach and take in the view. You can be as busy or as lazy as you like.
Prince William County, VA
Virginia’s Prince William County has the largest amount of green space in the entire Washington DC metro area. At over 36 square miles, it’s 1.6 times larger than Manhattan and full to bursting with wholesome father-kid activities: boating, sailing, kayaking, camping – and of course, fishing!
There’s a smorgasbord of fishing spots to choose from here, depending on how you want to work the waters. Head out on a boat on Occoquan Reservoir or Silver Lake. Visit Leesylvania State Park for some excellent pier fishing on the Potomac River. Take your pick of small ponds for bank fishing. Depending on where you go, Catfish, Pike, Bass, Stripers, and more will give you hours of fun.
Did fighting all those fish tire you and your dad out? Take the action down a notch and enjoy some fun in the slow lane. Stroll around historic sites like the Manassas National Battlefield Parks to learn about the local history. Otherwise, soak up something much more tasty at one of several local wineries or breweries. After all that fishing, you’ll have earned it!
Kinkaid Lake, IL
When most people think of fishing in Illinois, Lake Michigan is the first thing that usually comes to mind. The Great Lakes are, well, great, but there’s so much more to the Prairie State than one body of water. Kinkaid Lake is a prime example of this. Sitting right at the other end of the state, it’s got everything you need for a perfect Father’s Day fishing trip, with none of the crowds you’d expect up north.
Kinkaid Lake is located in Jackson County, around five miles northwest of Murphysboro and 100 miles southeast of St. Louis. The Lake covers 2,750 acres, with three public boat launches and 82 miles of shoreline. Kinkaid Marina will take care of all your needs, from gas and bait to kayak and boat rentals, not to mention food and drink at the aptly-named Moody Muskie Boat Bar and Grill.
Most importantly, the lake holds loads of big, hard-fighting fish. The state Crappie record was set here. Muskies can top 40 inches, and the Bass get big enough to put a serious smile on your father’s face. Then there are Bluegill, Catfish, Walleye – the list goes on. Fill the cooler and grill up a fishy feast, then bed down in a spacious houseboat. Forget Father’s Day, you could spend the whole summer here!
These are our picks for fishing this Father’s Day, but there are a lot more out there. Every state – heck, every county – is home to some productive waters. And let’s be honest, even if the fish aren’t biting, spending quality time with your dad is what it’s really about. That’s what makes fishing the ideal activity for Father’s Day.
Are you taking your pop fishing this Father’s Day? Where are you going, and what are you hoping to catch? Share your spots and stories in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!