9 Best Labor Day Fishing Destinations for 2023

Oct 11, 2023 | 9 minute read
Reading Time: 9 minutes

We can’t think of a more suitable way to spend Labor Day than by going fishing. And if you’re reading this, there’s no doubt we think alike. A well-deserved break out on the water, quality time with loved ones, and trophy catches – what more could you wish for? 

A photo of three anglers standing on a Florida fishing charter and posing with a big Sailfish they caught during a deep sea fishing trip
Photo taken by All Good Charters

Since you know how you’ll spend your extended weekend, let’s see where the best angling action is. Read on and find out which nine Labor Day fishing destinations we’ve hand-picked for you. Be it freshwater or saltwater fishing, an inshore or offshore pursuit, a metropolis or remote corner… There’s something for every type of angler.

Bar Harbor, Maine

We’ll kick off our Labor Day fishing journey on the East Coast. Here, we recommend checking out Maine and its crown jewel – Bar Harbor. Its unique position has earned Bar Harbor a great-ranked place on both this and last year’s lists. And in case it sounds as though we play favorites, it’s because we are! Here’s why.

An aerial view of a bay dotted with charter fishing boats and marina, a town, its buildings, roads, cars, greenery, and several mountains in the background in Bar Harbor in Maine

Bar Harbor is cozily nestled right next to the Acadia National Park at the heart of coastal Maine. This means a quintessential Pine Tree State experience and superb angling opportunities are guaranteed. You can catch anything from Trout inland to Flounder, Striped Bass, Haddock, Pollock, and Atlantic Mackerel in the bay and ocean waters.

But fishing isn’t the only aquatic adventure you can have here. Summer is the ideal time to witness the whale migration. Again, thanks to its location and easy access to the Atlantic, Bar Harbor is the perfect site for whale watching. 

If you’re more into land-based attractions, you must check out the Acadia National Park. This Eden-like sanctuary will treat you to luscious forests, vibrant wildlife, a rich cultural heritage, and over 150 miles of hiking trails. So, if you don’t immediately fall head over heels for Bar Harbor, you most certainly will after trying out everything this town has to offer.

Miami, Florida

For another must-visit corner, we’ve chosen Florida’s fishing epicenter – Miami. No other city embodies leisure time as much as this sun-kissed heaven on earth. And that’s exactly what you need this September! Miami cemented itself as the ultimate vacation destination in the early 20th century and our Labor Day fishing list simply wouldn’t be complete without it. 

A photo of two proud anglers standing on a Miami fishing charter and holding a big Sailfish they caught on Labor Day weekend
Photo taken by All Good Charters

This coastal metropolis is overflowing with leisure options. Sunbathing, swimming, jet skiing, parasailing, car show watching, sightseeing, clubbing, golfing, and exploring wildlife are all in the cards. But fishing is by far the best way to see what “spoilt for choice” actually means. 

The inshore waters will bless you with world-renowned species such as Snook and Redfish. The nearshore reefs are brimming with Snapper and Grouper varieties. Meanwhile, the deep blue will give you a clash with titans like Mahi Mahi, Tuna, and Billfish

In addition to having multiple fish species at your disposal, you’ll also be able to choose how you want to explore these fisheries. Surf casting, pier fishing, kayak angling, party boat fishing, charter angling… You name it and Miami has it! Long story short, if you want a memorable Labor Day, go fishing in Miami.

Port Arthur, Texas

When it comes to fishing, Texas is an unsurpassed angling playground. Galveston, Corpus Christi, Rockport, Port Aransas, South Padre Island, Austin, Huston, San Antonio, Port O’Connor… The Lone Star State never ceases to amaze with its collection of prolific hotspots. Today, we’re adding another gem to this already inspiring assembly of headliners – Port Arthur.

A photo of a boy standing on a Texas charter fishing boat while smiling and posing with a Redfish caught in Sabine Lake near Port Arthur in late summer
Photo taken by Captain Steve Force

Situated on the coast at the border with Louisiana, Port Arthur fishing taps into the rivers, lakes, marshes, bays, inlets, and the Gulf of Mexico. So, if you can’t decide whether you want to go freshwater or saltwater fishing, come to Port Arthur and do both.

You’ll be welcomed by brag-worthy Redfish, Flounder, and Speckled Trout in Sabine Lake. That’s an Inshore Grand Slam right there! Venture into the Gulf, and you can test your skills against Mahi Mahi, King Mackerel, and Tuna. If you’d rather go on an inland expedition, late summer is prime time for Gar fishing in McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge. The list of targets is almost endless!

While angling is superb, it isn’t the only thing the city is famous for. Port Arthur is known as the Cajun Capital of Texas and the birthplace of Janis Joplin. So, besides fishing, we recommend diving into the town’s history and culture at the Museum of the Gulf Coast for an all-around Port Arthur experience.

Morgan City, Louisiana

If you liked Port Arthur’s inviting atmosphere, you’ll love Morgan City‘s Southern hospitality. But that’s not all! This Louisiana beauty is renowned for its shrimp industry, fishing, and stellar Cajun cuisine. So, if you’re up for an authentic Louisiana experience, team up with a local guide and go fishing, and then enjoy some palate-rewarding food at the Shrimp Festival. 

An aerial view of the trees in the water on the Atchafalaya River near Morgan City in Louisiana taken on a bright and sunny summer day

When in Morgan City, do as the locals do and hit the Oyster Bayou for Reds, Specs, and Flounder. They come in all shapes and sizes here. The same goes for Bass, Catfish, and Bream in the Atchafalaya Basin. If Sac-a-Lait is on your list, you’ll want to remember the name Lake Palourde for Crappie angling! All in all, tight lines and screaming reels are guaranteed.

Once you fish your heart out, treat yourself to delicious home-cooked meals and fresh seafood dishes prepared in a traditional way. And as if fishing and eating aren’t enough, you can enhance your Labor Day in Morgan City at the annual Shrimp and Petroleum Festival.

Last but not least, Morgan City is the king of wetlands. This means that you aren’t to miss out on some spectacular swamp tours either.

Great Western Catskills, New York

After several amazing coastal destinations, we’re finally taking you inland. So, if you’re a freshwater fishing fan, brace yourself for some real gems. First in line to leave you speechless is a remote fly fishing paradise – the Great Western Catskills. Surrounded by greenery, this New York sweetheart is tailor-made for an unplugged vacation.

A photo of a roofed wooden bridge on the West Branch of the Delaware River near Hamden in the Great Western Catskills in New York State on a fall day

Allow yourself to be enchanted by the Great Western Catskills’ rivers and streams and their rich Trout populations. The West Branch of the Delaware River is a go-to site for fly fishing and trophy catches. Be it Brown, Rainbow, or Brook Trout, you’ll be in for a treat. But Trout aren’t the only VIPs here. Come Labor Day, you’ll meet celebrities like Smallmouth Bass, Catfish, and Walleye, too.

Besides angling, you’ll have a whole specter of outdoor activities to make your Labor Day. You can do anything from hiking, biking, horseback riding, and paddling to golfing and simple nature soaking. 

Alternatively, you can start your Labor Day listening to free music on the Belle, then go fly fishing on the Delaware River. You’ll then be able to end the weekend hayriding with your kids on the Bovina Farm. In case you have more time to spare, extend your vacation and stay for a vintage baseball game. Whatever you choose, you won’t be disappointed.

Gunnison, Colorado

Next up, we bring you Gunnison, an elevated oasis hidden in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Thanks to its enviable location, Gunnison has established itself as a true recreation hub. While fishing is its forté, this city offers an array of nature-inspired pastimes and provides a unique rural vibe. So, without further ado, let’s see what awaits you here.

A view of the Blue Mesa Reservoir in Colorado near Gunnison as seen in the distance between a meadow in the front and the Dillon Pinnacles in the back

With the Blue Mesa Reservoir – the largest body of water in the state – at its doorstep, Gunnison is a mecca for Kokanee Salmon lovers. The intertwined network of rivers, streams, and creeks around the city confirms the obvious that Gunnison is a fly fishing heaven for Trout. Brook, Brown, Rainbow, and Cutthroat Trout are all waiting for you here.

When you aren’t landing Trout on the fly, you must try rock climbing. Adrenaline-seekers and seasoned climbers can attempt conquering one of the many rocks Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park has.

Those looking for a more relaxed day after casting their line can always roam the city and explore its history. Once a mining and ranching epicenter, the town now echoes this Western identity through its food, buildings, and people. So, what better way to honor Labor Day than to spend it in Gunnison?

Rapid City, South Dakota

Any place neighboring the Black Hills National Forest is bound to be monumental. And that’s exactly what Rapid City is! From magnificent nature to massive memorials, Rapid City will bring a whole new meaning to celebrating Labor Day. 

A view of Mount Rushmore as seen in the distance from below in Rapid City, South Dakota on a bright and sunny summer day

September is the prime time for soaking up the scenery and fly fishing in Rapid City’s outdoor realm. Rapid Creek, in particular, will captivate you with its beauty and healthy Brown Trout population. But this is just one of several top-notch fisheries around Rapid City. In other words, a Labor Day fishing getaway will be epic!

If the landscape is what you crave, then Needles Highway in the Custer State Park must find room on your Labor Day list of things to do in Rapid City. Few places are as stunning as this scenic route.

And speaking of spectacular views, did you know that Rapid City is the portal to Mount Rushmore? And that Labor Day is the perfect time of the year to witness the Mount Rushmore Evening Lighting Ceremony? Without a doubt, Rapid City will make you remember this Labor Day forever.

Swan Valley, Idaho

As we’re getting closer to the end of this year’s Labor Day fishing list, we’re slowly but surely introducing some off-the-beaten-path spots. Next up is Idaho’s hidden treasure – Swan Valley. And yes, it looks exactly as it sounds – magical!

A stunning aerial view of the meandering Snake River in front of gorgeous mountains in the distance in Swan Valley, Idaho as seen on a bright and sunny day with cloud-dotted skies

Tucked away in the mountains – on the banks of the South Fork of the Snake River – Swan Valley is the ultimate fly fishing retreat. So, allow yourself to get lost in its rivers and streams while casting for Trout varieties. And when we say varieties, we mean it. Brook, Brown, Cutthroat, and Rainbow Trout – Swan Valley has them all!

Besides being a fly fishing getaway, the area is a safe haven for several celebrities, too. They frequent the area to recharge, while Jimmy Kimmel (who’s also an avid fisherman) even bought the South Fork Lodge! Who knows, you might succumb to Swan Valley’s charm the same way he has…

On your way back home from Swan Valley, stop in the nearby town of Jackson, Wyoming for the Jackson Hole One Fly. This is the event where the celebration of fly fishing collides with the humanitarian cause. There isn’t a better way to wrap up your fly fishing adventure than by witnessing the Jackson Hole One Fly.

Siskiyou, California

We’ve reached the end of our Labor Day fishing list – but we saved the best for last. With powerful bodies of water such as the Klamath River, the Sacramento River, Lake Siskiyou, and Lake Shastina under its umbrella, Siskiyou is a dream come true for every freshwater angler. While these names speak for themselves, let’s obsess about Siskiyou a bit more.

A view of Lake Siskiyou in California in the foreground and Mount Shasta and a Suspension Bridge in the distance taken on a sunny and bright day

First of all, we can’t help but worship Siskiyou’s unspoiled and intact nature. This California beloved is synonymous with breathtaking forests, mighty mountains, pristine lakes, and starry nights. It can’t get more idyllic than that, right? Except it can. Just imagine fishing amid all this!

Angling spots are scattered all over the region and you won’t make a mistake wherever you wet your line. What’s more, the chances of you returning empty-handed are almost non-existent with species like Rainbow, Brown, Brook, Cutthroat, Steelhead, Bass, Catfish, Crappie, and Salmon swimming around.

Labor Day weekend is also blessed with activities other than angling. If you’re traveling with your family, don’t miss out on the opportunity to enjoy the 35th Annual ​Mt. Shasta Blackberry Music Festival. Festive tunes, games for the little ones, and lots of pies – thank us later!

Labor Day: Fishing at Its Best

A photo of two females and one male angler posing on a charter boat with a Grouper caught while bottom fishing nearshore
Photo taken by Pelagic Pirate Charters

September and fishing are a match made in heaven and Labor Day is the gateway to that experience. Opt for any destination from this line-up and you won’t regret it.

Should you still crave more ideas on where to wet your line this Labor Day, last year’s list will come to the rescue. Now, go ahead and book your ideal fishing trip and have a blast. Happy Labor Day!

Did we hit the right spot with our Labor Day fishing destination list? What location did you choose? Are there any other corners you’d recommend? Hit the comment button below and let us know.

Author profile picture

Tanya is a Content Creator at FishingBooker and a secret admirer of all things weird and wonderful beneath the waves. The waves, however, are her archnemeses (#seasickness). But she got hooked on angling in 2016 and there was simply no way back. Fishing became her reel passion, and she hasn't stopped casting lines and spinning tales about it ever since.

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