It’s no secret that Memorial Day and fishing go like peas and carrots. Whether you’re an avid angler or someone looking to finally enjoy the great outdoors, the last Monday in May is the perfect opportunity to wet your line.
With the holiday weekend fast approaching, we decided to ask what are your favorite Memorial Day fishing spots. The responses are in, and boy, did we have fun going through them! We’ve now handpicked the best suggestions to compile a list of 10 can’t-miss locales for your angling vacation.
Each spot is a little different, but they all have one thing in common – spectacular late spring angling. On top of that, all these destinations offer a bundle of fun activities to enjoy, and heaps of charm to boot!
Kicking off our list is a place steeped in Memorial Day traditions and exciting angling opportunities. Perched on Virginia’s only resort island, Chincoteague offers a welcome break for city slickers and families looking for a relaxing getaway.
Bring the family and hike the serene nature trails. Even better, put your adventurer’s cap on and explore the pristine local waterways on a kayak. That may work up your appetite, but don’t worry, the local eateries are perfect for trying the fabulous coastal cuisine. If you’re in town on Sunday, make sure to check out the Blessing of the Fleet. The traditional event aimed to protect the watermen from harm and ensure a good fishing season.
If you’re here to catch fish yourself, the likes of Red Drum, Flounder, and Rockfish are bound to make your day. Want to slip away from the crowds? Get a permit to stay longer and surf fish overnight on the enchanting Assateague Island. And if you’re looking to reel in something for the bucket list, book a private charter and fish the day away!
Lums Pond State Park, Delaware
For those of you who like a mixed bag of activities to enjoy during Memorial Day weekend, Delaware’s Lums Pond State Park is just what the doctor ordered. The park spans 720 hectares, and as far as opportunities for outdoor fun and recreation go, this place punches way above its weight.
The meandering forest trails connect many of the park’s attractions. Hit the green and enjoy a round of golf or jump in a kayak and explore the waterways up close and personal. If you want to take things nice and slow, spend the night at the park’s campsite!
Did you know that Lums is the largest freshwater pond in the state of Delaware? It’s no surprise, then, that the place is home to everything from Crappie and Bluegill, to Perch, Largemouth, and even Striped Bass!
If you’re a freshwater angler, we’re willing to bet that “Walleye Capital of the World” is a moniker you’ve heard at least a few times in your life. We’re not here to declare any winners, but the fact that the southern shore of Lake Erie comes up almost every time the title is mentioned is good enough for us.
Now, if only there was a place that combined epic Walleye fishing with equal opportunities for outdoor fun and adventure… As it happens, Ashtabula County’s Geneva-on-the-Lake fits the description perfectly. Set up camp at Geneva State Park, and hit the trails for the perfect spots for Walleye, Perch, or Smallmouth.
With many of the local attractions opening just before Memorial Day, the town welcomes families with arms wide open. Get your pulse going in the local adventure park or let your inner kid take over and hit the buzzing arcade joints. If you’re up for a little dolce vita, relax and enjoy the local vintages at one of Ashtabula County’s renowned wineries.
Dunsmuir & McCloud, California
Siskiyou County’s quaint towns Dunsmuir and McCloud offer two world-class fisheries that happen to lie against one of California’s most beautiful backdrops. Nestled at the foot of the majestic Mount Shasta, the two towns have been drawing fly anglers to their scenic fisheries for generations.
Around 150 years ago, the McCloud River was the southernmost river where you could catch Bull Trout. Nowadays, these fish can be found all over the world. Still, the local campgrounds are full of anglers eager to wade these crisp waters and catch the Bull of a lifetime.
Rainbow and Brown Trout are also in the mix, and you can jump from the beautiful Lake Siskiyou to one of the many local streams to catch them. Stop by one of the gorgeous waterfalls while you’re at it! By late May, the streams are swarming with insects, and the fly fishing season is in full swing.
Lake Mead, Arizona/Nevada
If you have a heartbeat and happen to love the outdoors, few things will top spending Memorial Day on Lake Mead. There’s just something captivating about seeing a shimmering blue oasis shining against a rugged desert!
Truth be told, it’ll take you a lot more than a single weekend to explore everything the lake has to offer. Start your outings from one of the local marinas and hop on a canoe, kayak, or powerboat to explore the local waterways. This 290-square-mile playground will put you on anything from feisty Rainbow Trout and Sunfish to hard-fighting Stripers, Smallies, and Largemouths.
When it’s time to rest, spend the night under the stars at the Willow Beach Marina campgrounds. If you’d prefer something with more creature comforts, set up base in Boulder City. After a good night’s sleep, wet your line from the nearby Hemenway Pier or marina. If you want the full adventurer experience, an overnight fishing charter comes with gear, tents, and meals covered. All you have to do is reel ‘em in!
Lake Murray, South Carolina
We all like to spend our holidays in different ways. But if there’s a place where you can take the whole family, your mother-in-law and all her pets, it’s got to be South Carolina’s Lake Murray. The scenic lake spans four Palmetto State counties, and boasts oodles of opportunities for outdoor family fun.
Start your adventure in the scenic Dreher Island State Park. Here, you can explore the woodland hiking trails or unwind in one of the cozy picnic shelters. Kids will enjoy the nature playgrounds while you sip a cold one in the late spring breeze. For the ultimate Memorial Day weekend experience, book one of the lakeside villas and enjoy the famed Lake Murray sunset in style.
When the time comes to cast your line, the 140,000-acre lake has a multitude of boat ramps and access points to choose from. These waters are home to a number of fishing tournaments throughout the year. You won’t need to worry about tangling lines with any pro anglers around Memorial Day, but you can bet that the fish are biting! Test your skills against Largemouth Bass, or catch a feast of Bluegill, Crappie, and Trout.
Hamilton County, Indiana
If there was an award for “most family-friendly Memorial Day fishing destination,” we’re pretty sure that Hamilton County would take the crown. Just 30 minutes north of Indianapolis, Hamilton County encompasses a cluster of iconic communities including Noblesville, Fishers, Carmel, and Westfield.
Take a scenic bike ride along the Monon Trail. This former railroad turned 25-mile bike route runs through the many charming towns of Hamilton County. Providing fun for the whole family, this trail has plenty of shops, art, and food stops along the way.
But that’s not even the best part. Hamilton County boasts a wide variety of fishing spots to enjoy. Oh, and did we say that they happen to lie in some of the most picture-perfect settings you’ve ever seen? Places like the White River Campground, Porter’s Bridge, and River Road Park all offer first-class angling in locales so perfect you’ll never want to leave. But be careful – enjoy the scenery too much and you’ll lose those fish straight off your line!
There’s a saying that goes “only in Casper is tradition this untamed.” Contrasting the hustle and bustle of some other Memorial Day locations, the “Oil City” packs boatloads of oldie western charm in the most unapologetic way possible.
Take a stroll through the historic downtown area and admire its early 1900s architecture. To crank the time machine even further back, visit the Tate Geological Museum and learn about the area’s fascinating past (spoiler: the place has a 11,000 year-old mammoth!). Memorial Day is also the perfect opportunity to pay tribute to local heroes at the Wyoming Veterans Memorial Museum.
Half an hour from Casper lie the beautiful reservoirs of Alcova and Pathfinder. Rent your vessel of choice at the local facilities and hit the waters for an epic day of fishing. Brown, Rainbow, and Cutthroat Trout are in the mix, as well as Walleye and Kokanee Salmon. If you’d like to do things the old way, put your waders on and cast a fly rod in the famed North Platte River.
Panama City, Florida
You can’t have a list of Memorial Day fishing locales without Florida. Sitting on the legendary Panhandle is the famed fishery of Panama City. Deeply woven in angling heritage, this is a can’t-miss destination no matter when you’re wetting your line. Those who plan an outing for this holiday weekend will have an extra special time to look forward to.
The sheltered waters of Saint Andrew Bay boast an ample offering. And with the holiday weekend marking the unofficial start of summer, the inshore bite is nothing short of spectacular. Expect good battles with Redfish and Speckled Trout, as well as a variety of Groupers and Snappers on the line.
If you’d prefer something more brawny, hop on an offshore charter to battle Wahoo, Kingfish, or Mahi Mahi. To round off the day like a pro, bring your catch to one of the local restaurants and have it cooked for dinner. There’s nothing like a fresh seafood meal in the sunset!
Beech Mountain, North Carolina
The last spot on our list is for those of you looking for a truly off-the-beaten-track locale to enjoy this Memorial Day. Beech Mountain, the highest town in Eastern America, is a 5,506-foot-high mountain hideaway offering a naturally awe-inspiring place to unplug, unwind, and reconnect.
As you’d expect, a fishing destination this elevated means one thing – fantastic Trout angling. Just drop a line in the gin-clear waters of Buckeye and Pond creeks, and watch the magic happen. From native Brookies to beautiful Rainbows and Browns, Trout anglers will have their work cut out for them!
For the ultimate exploit, take a hike along the area’s spectacular nature trails. With a 1,000’ elevation change, these routes offer views of majestic wildlife, waterfalls, picturesque lakes, and panoramas showcasing the breathtaking beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The Perfect Time to Get Away
Memorial Day is a time to honor our heroes and to celebrate the freedom they fought for. It’s also an ideal opportunity to share an angling adventure with the ones we love. Thankfully, our country has lifetime’s worth of fishing destinations we can explore. This list was just a taste of that.
These were our picks for the best Memorial Day fishing spots, but what are yours? Do you have any plans for the upcoming holiday weekend? Let us know in the comments below!
If you want some more inspiration, read about our picks for the best Memorial Day fishing destinations for 2019.