Top 7 US Summer Fishing Destinations for 2021

Oct 11, 2023 | 7 minute read
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Is there a better time to get out on the water than summertime? Having in mind how we spent 2020, it’s no surprise that we’ve started appreciating the great outdoors even more than before.

That’s why we decided to create this list of top summer fishing destinations in the US, just for you and your summer plans! Lucky for you, the whole country has amazing fishing spots around every corner!

To compile this list, we took a look at destinations with great fishing conditions during summer, as well as plenty more you can do after getting back to the dock. So without any further ado, let’s get into it!

For 2022 summer fishing hotspots, check out this blog.

Martin County, Florida

Along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean between Orlando and Miami, you’ll come across Martin County. Nestled along the Treasure Coast of South Florida, the county is home to a slice of paradise.

A sunset shot from a fishing pier on Hutchinson Island, one of the best summer fishing destinations in Martin County, Florida, with a refuge house at the end of the pier
Credit: Martin County Office of Tourism & Marketing

Now, you’re probably wondering what’s so special about casting a line here? Martin County is home to world-class fishing, thanks to one of the most bio-diverse lagoon ecosystems in the United States, and it marks the start of the Florida Coral Reef Tract.

Thanks to these conditions, more than 800 different species can be found in the waters around Martin County. With the Gulf Stream just 10 miles from shore, you’ll quickly come across Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, and Sailfish. In fact, fishing in one of the county’s towns, Stuart, is so good that it was nicknamed the “Sailfish Capital of the World.” If you set out on a longer trip and go past the stream, you’ll find Tuna and Marlin, as well.

A Sailfish in the water next to a Key West fishing charter

What about fishing for some delicious dinner? Nearshore waters are home to a variety of reefs, and you’ll be able to reel in Snapper, Grouper, Amberjack, and King Mackerel.

Those who are looking for some inshore action can head to the St. Lucie River and the Indian River Lagoon for some Snook, Redfish, Speckled Trout, Permit, Flounder, Sheepshead, Black Drum, Bonefish, and Tarpon.

And some other activities in and around Martin County? Well, there’s 22 miles of uncrowded beaches and more than 100,000 acres of sprawling parks and conservation lands. You could spend days exploring these without getting bored!

Port Clinton, Ohio

There’s no better place for a relaxing Great Lakes getaway than Port Clinton. Amazing fishing conditions and a certain local charm have earned the town the nickname of the “Walleye Capital of the World.” Those might be big words, but they are well earned!

A white lighthouse in Port Clinton, one of the best summer fishing destinations on the Great Lakes, with the blue sky behind and green grass beneath it

Port Clinton is just a short drive west of Cleveland, and it straddles the open expanse of Lake Erie and the sheltered waters of the Sandusky Bay. The town’s waterfront is dotted with charter fishing boats and pleasure cruisers.

Hop on a fishing charter, and you’ll reel in more fish than you’ll know what to do with. Start your adventure off with some local Yellow Perch and Smallmouth Bass, and then move on to the star of the lake – Walleye.

A young man standing in the corner of a boat, holding a big Walleye, with water in the background

It’s not all about fishing, though! Port Clinton also has amazing water parks, tasty eateries, and even an African wildlife safari once you get bored of reeling in fish.

Iberia Parish, Louisiana

Did you know that water makes up nearly half of Iberia Parish? Around here, there are 24 lakes, and many of them have amazing fishing. Come to this part of Louisiana, and you’ll have the chance to fish Oyster Lake and Tigre Lagoon, among more.

A woman wearing a sun hat holds a large Speckled Trout on board a boat on a sunny day

Those who hop on a boat in summer will come across Red Snapper, Mangrove Snapper, Cobia, Amberjack, and Yellowfin Tuna – just to name a few. It really is an offshore buffet!

However, that’s not all you can catch in Iberia Parish. You can also explore inshore fisheries, and fight with Speckled Trout, Redfish, and Flounder. If you’d prefer to explore some of the lakes, you’ll be rewarded with Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Bluegill, Sunfish, White and Black Crappie, White Bass, Striped Bass, and Catfish.

Once you get tired of reeling in fish, you can fill your itinerary with unique Louisiana experiences, exciting tours around bayous, and trips to exotic islands. You can explore lush tropical gardens, Avery Island, art galleries, museums, live theatre, shopping, and much more.

Norfolk, Virginia

The next spot on our list of top summer fishing destinations is Norfolk, VA. Aside from being home to the largest naval base in the world, Norfolk also hosts an incredible variety of fishing opportunities. The biggest dilemma you’ll have here is which type of fishing to partake in. 

A view over the sand dunes covered in grass, and the ocean and beach in the back of the image in Norfolk, one of the best summer fishing destinations

You can spend your day in the calm, shallow waters of the Indian or James Rivers for some inshore game. Here, you’ll come across Seabass, Trout, Tautog, Flounder, Drum, and a lot more.

Those who decide to head a little further out will be rewarded with the Chesapeake Bay’s legendary Rockfish. Next to these beauties, you’ll also find Cobia and Amberjack in the nearshore waters.

For anglers who want to get their pulses racing, however, offshore trips are the best choice out there. If you opt for one of these, you can expect some serious heavy lifting as you’ll go after monsters such as Marlin, Tuna, Mahi Mahi, and Sailfish. If you’re lucky enough, you might even land the catch of a lifetime.

A man crouches on a boat with the water behind him holding a large Striped Bass

When you finally decide to get off the water, there’s a lot more you can do around town. From intriguing historical attractions and unique shops to delicious restaurants and world-class museums – whatever you choose, you’re in for some fun activities!

Olympia, Washington

The South Puget Sound is well-known for its amazing year-round Salmon fishing. But the waters south of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge are the only place where it’s legal to catch Salmon year-round.

The waterfront in Olympia, Washington, one of the best summer fishing destinations in the US, with buildings by the water and a snowy mountain in the distance

With July also comes the start of the Chinook Salmon season in Puget Sound, making summer the perfect time to reel in the “King.” While Salmon is the most iconic fish in these waters, it’s not the only creature you can come across in Olympia. These waters are actually an amazing hunting ground for Flounder and native Cutthroat Trout.

There are countless creeks, rivers, ponds, and estuaries to explore, so you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to fishing around Olympia.

A man holds a large spring Chinook Salmon on a sunny day with the river behind him

Even though Olympia is the capital of Washington state, it still retains a small-town charm. It’s surrounded by stunning natural beauty, making it a great starting point for numerous outdoor adventures.

Dana Point, California

Dana Point is set around a huge harbor, with the rest of the waterfront remained preserved for either beautiful sandy beaches or high cliffs that offer mesmerizing views. The town is located between L.A. and San Diego, making it the perfect spot for a weekend getaway.

A view across the bay of Dana Point, one of the best summer fishing destinations in the US, at sunset

To experience the fishing magic of Dana Point, hop aboard a fishing charter. Within minutes, you’ll be on your way to bays, reefs, and offshore waters.

Anglers who choose to stay inshore will have their hands full with Calico Bass, Rockfish, White Bass, and California Halibut. If you decide to head further out, you’ll find Yellowtail, Barracuda, and Sharks.

A man holding a large Yellowfin Tuna caught while fishing in Southern California

Head even further out to the islands and there’s Albacore, Yellowfin, Marlin, and Bluefin Tuna! No matter what kind of fishing you like, you’ll find something for yourself in Dana Point.

Dana Point Harbor is a great place to find a fishing charter. Besides that, you’ll also find plenty of shops and dining options around here. Back in town, you can join a surfing class or spend a couple of hours on the beach.

Lake Havasu, Arizona

Located on the California-Arizona border, Lake Havasu is one of the best summer fishing destinations in the country. The lake is easily accessible from both states, but Lake Havasu City is where most visitors decide to set up camp.

A view of Lake Havasu London Bridge with hot air balloons in the air above

When it comes to fishing, the lake offers all the bounty you could think of. Starting from Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, to Bluegill, Catfish, and Stripers, this spot has fish for every type of angler. The lake offers multiple public docks and piers, as well as many boats for hire.

A Largemouth Bass swimming next to a sunken log

Once you get bored of fishing (if that could ever happen!), the fun starts on the beaches. You can relax, go swimming, or try out some watersports. Outside of the beach, the town has many attractions you can explore on your evening strolls.

Finding the Perfect Summer Fishing Destination

Each one of these summer fishing destinations will give you a great angling experience. All of them have great opportunities and plenty of things to do away from the water. Now, it all comes down to your preferences. Whatever you’re looking for, you can always find a charter near you and have a fun fishing getaway!

What is your favorite summer fishing destination? Have you visited some of the places on our list, and what did you catch? Let us know in the comments below!

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