For the latest suggestions, check out the 2023 summer fishing destinations guide.
Is there anything more soul-invigorating than spending your summer vacation out on the water? Be it surfing, swimming, sailing, or fishing, the hottest season of the year and water activities simply go hand in hand.
Something tells us you’ll be displaying a “gone fishing” sign for your vacation soon. To help you choose your next adventure, we compiled a list of the ideal summer fishing destinations in the US. And don’t worry, there’s a corner for every fellow angler.
Not only have we included world-renowned locations for adrenaline seekers, but we also found tucked-away spots perfect for those looking for some peace and quiet. Are you ready to pick your summer fishing destination? Read on and find out where you should wet your line this year.
Indian River County, Florida
Let’s start with the east coast of Florida and Indian River County. The aptly-named Treasure Coast stretches from Sebastian to Vero Beach and is famous for its excellent freshwater and saltwater fisheries. As if this isn’t spectacular enough on its own, Indian River County is also home to some of the most sought-after game fish in the world. But why come here in summer? Let’s see.
While you can cast your line in these waters year-round, summer marks the beginning of superb fishing opportunities. Moving from Blue Cypress Lake toward the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll cross paths with both inland and bluewater headliners. Bass, Snook, Tarpon, Redfish, Flounder, Snappers, Groupers, Sharks, Mahi Mahi, Tuna, and Marlin are all waiting for you.
Come June and an angling adventure turns into a fishing frenzy. Tournaments light up the entire area and, as of this year, the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office is joining the hype with the First Annual Inshore Fishing Tournament. For fish enthusiasts, there’s also the Sebastian Fishing Museum and a unique dining experience with restaurants you can boat to.
With pristine beaches, crystal clear waters, and an amazing underwater world, Indian River County will have you spoilt for choice. That’s exactly what you’ve been looking for, right?
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Another must-fish destination this summer is South Carolina’s superstar – Hilton Head Island. Surrounded by creeks, a sound, and the ocean, this place revolves around the water. It comes as no surprise that the island is a true angling epicenter. Whether you want to explore the shallows or head offshore to test your skills, Hilton Head Island has a tailor-made trip for every passionate fisherman.
Summertime means multiple options. The backwaters guard Cobia, while reefs hide Snappers and Groupers. Tarpon and Redfish dominate the area closer to shore, while Mahi Mahi, Tuna, and Sailfish are out in the Gulf Stream. However, the ultimate local attraction is Shark fishing. With over 50 Shark species, there’s a catch for professionals and novices alike. Sound insane? Well, it’s insanely fun, that’s for sure. Give it a try!
Hilton Head Island isn’t all about fishing, though. A favorite pastime for both residents and visitors is golf. With more than 30 golf courses that range from prestigious pro ranges to family-oriented greens, there’s a match for everyone. So, when on Hilton Head Island, do as the locals do – hit the bluewaters for a Shark duel and then get on the green for a round of golf.
Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey
We’ll continue our journey up the East Coast with a Jersey Shore celebrity – Point Pleasant Beach. White sand beaches, vibrant downtown life, a rich history, and premier fishing spots make this an exemplary resort town. Add local hospitality and a friendly atmosphere on top of all that, and it becomes clear why we included it in our list.
By far the most convenient area to fish in Point Pleasant Beach is Manasquan Inlet. It connects the Manasquan River to the Atlantic Ocean and is an excellent starting point for deciding what to explore. You can surf fish or team up with a charter operator in pursuit of big game fish offshore. Either way, a fun day on the water is guaranteed with species like Fluke, Striped Bass, Tuna, and Marlin all on offer.
Late summer brings joy to all seafood lovers out there. September is when the Annual Festival of the Sea takes place. It’s the 4th of July for your palate! After treating yourself to some fine dishes, hit the mile-long boardwalk for first-class entertainment. Cool off at the aquarium or visit the amusement park to create long-lasting memories with the family. Whatever you choose, Point Pleasant Beach won’t disappoint!
The Northeast is studded with gorgeous coastal towns, and the state of Maine is crowned with such jewels. At the heart of Midcoast Maine, lies our next fishing hotspot – Rockland. While fishing is its forte, Rockland is so much more than its main attraction. This thriving little place is deeply rooted in history and is fueled by unique festivals, cultural outlets, delicious food, and boating experiences.
While always popular among the angling community, this town has a lot to offer in summer. Chickawaukie Pond can cater to your Trout needs and Penobscot Bay is there to get you on Striped Bass and Bluefish action. For reel-screaming action, hire a guide and go further offshore to battle Bluefin Tuna. Rather fish from a pier? Rockland Harbor comes to the rescue.
Remember what we said about festivals? Rockland’s pride and joy is the Maine Lobster Festival, taking place in August. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to try their finger-licking specialty! You shouldn’t skip on the town’s main landmark either – Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse. And to top off a real summer escapade, embark on a sailing journey aboard one of those vintage windjammers. Thank us later!
Our next fishing stop hides in the American South. Cozily nestled between Dallas and Fort Worth, Grapevine is the hidden gem of Texas. As the oldest settlement in Tarrant County, Grapevine has a small-town charm that steals your heart. So, if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city but still be at the heart of a prolific fishery, Grapevine Lake is your next summer fishing destination.
Thanks to its solid structure, Grapevine Lake has an enviable population of Bass, Crappie, and Catfish. You can find White, Largemouth, and Smallmouth Bass near the rocky shorelines. If you prefer going after Crappie, they’re fans of flooded timber and the Twin Coves area. But the stars of the show are Catfish. And the higher temperatures in summer mean you’re in luck. They bring impressive specimens and incredible bragging stories.
After a successful day out on the water, it’s time for celebration. Can you think of a more suitable way to honor your catch than to pair it up with wine? Luckily, the lifeblood of the area is exquisite wine. So, don’t forget to visit one of several wineries in Grapevine or wait for mid-September to enjoy the GrapeFest to its fullest!
Moving inland to the “Sunflower State,” you’ll come across the largest city in Kansas – Wichita. World-class museums, admirable art galleries, numerous outdoor activities, endless recreational possibilities, astonishing wildlife, unique nature, diverse dining scene… all this puts Wichita on tourist maps. But, did you know you can also fish here?
While fishing isn’t listed as Wichita’s number one thing to do, ponds and streams scattered all around the place imply otherwise. You can cast your line anywhere from Blackbird and Sunflower Ponds to Sedgwick and Emery Park Ponds. Chances are that Catfish and Bass will grace the end of it.
As if summer fishing isn’t hot enough on its own, there’s the Great Kansas Fishing Derby to spice things up. East and West KDOT are Wichita’s hotspots during the derby and we have a hunch you’ll want to check them out. Should you find yourself in Wichita in early June, the first weekend will welcome you with free fishing days and the city’s longest-running tradition, its Riverfest!
Fish Lake, Utah
If you want to clear your head and recharge your batteries, there’s an alpine oasis custom-made for this. Tucked in the forests of central Utah, Fish Lake is a freshwater paradise. A spring-like breeze, birdsong, and calm waters grace the largest natural mountain lake in Utah. Now, imagine the only disturbance being the sound of you reeling in fish, and it becomes obvious that Fish Lake is the perfect summer fishing getaway!
As a bearer of a Blue Ribbon, Fish Lake is truly a top-notch fishery. Not only is the water quality at an enviable level, but there are also numerous fish species in the lake. The most popularly-targeted fish are Trout. Rainbow, Lake, Splake, Brown, and Tiger Trout – Fish Lake has them all! Yellow Perch and Kokanee Salmon aren’t lagging too far behind either.
Angling from shore is possible, but a summer pursuit is more convenient by boat as some species head for the depths. You can also explore the lake while kayaking or biking around it. But, sleeping under the stars is probably the best way of experiencing what Fish Lake is about. Luckily, campgrounds are plentiful here. So, how about a camping and fishing combo on Fish Lake this summer?
Three Forks, Montana
Have you always wanted to visit Montana, but weren’t sure when’s the best time to come? Wonder no more – summer is your season! The climate is consistent from June to September and fishing conditions are in your favor. Plus, it goes without saying that the mighty four – the Madison, Jefferson, Gallatin, and Missouri Rivers – are a dream come true for every avid angler. So, gear up and hit the Three Forks area for some serious fly fishing action.
The Three Forks region offers miles of accessible and high-quality Trout fisheries. Be it ponds within the city or majestic rivers nearby, Three Forks will take good care of you and your family. The little ones will be thrilled to practice fishing in the ponds. Meanwhile, those keen on sight and fly fishing should check out the headwaters of the Missouri River. After all, this is the river’s “birthplace”!
Speaking of headwaters, Missouri Headwaters State Park is a must-see landmark. The park is a historical, geographical, and natural wonder. Home to the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin Rivers’ confluence, Headwaters State Park was a Lewis and Clark’s campsite in 1805, too. How cool would it be to fish in such a legendary area?
It’s high time we told you about the West Coast’s treasure – Westport! Situated between Grays Harbor on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other, Westport has established itself as a big name in the fishing circles. While not as roaring as its metropolitan neighbors, this coastal city could easily win the best summer fishing destination award.
The sunny season announces the beginning of the Halibut and Salmon hunt in the Pacific Ocean. At the same time, summertime unlocks an Albacore Tuna bonanza. During the month of August, Westport transforms into a competitive tournament hotspot. The Washington Tuna Classic gathers Albacore Tuna lovers in support of veteran heroes. Are you up for some Tuna hype this summer?
That Westport honors its people is a great testament to how community-oriented this place is. The fact that they have summer events for the youngsters further confirms this. The Rusty Scupper’s Pirate Daze is there to lift the spirits of the little ones. An added bonus for families is the opportunity for surfing, basking, and picnicking all around the city. All in all, a well-deserved place on this list.
Does anything scream summer more than a tropical destination? If you ever dreamt of clashing with deep sea titans and then cooling off on white-sand beaches, then Haleiwa is your next vacation stop. This beauty of Oahu is the embodiment of the local lifestyle. Be it fishing, surfing, art, history, or everyday charm – Haleiwa has it all!
While summer in Hawaii doesn’t necessarily mean an abundance of giants, it most certainly means record-breaking specimens. Quality and size are synonymous with fishing in Haleiwa. Monsters like Sailfish, Spearfish, Marlin, and Yellowfin Tuna are all waiting for you. All you need is stamina and local charter operators will help you land that dream catch of yours.
After a long day of battling with worthy opponents, you deserve a break. Try some traditional food and don’t forget to grab the local dessert – shave ice. Then, relax at one of the picture-perfect beaches and absorb the tropical vibe of this place. Don’t forget to give it a go with surfing lessons while you’re here. Surfing is Haleiwa’s most cherished water sport after all!
The Perfect Summer Fishing Destination Exists
It all comes down to what makes you tick. Is it the thrill of the open ocean or the raw beauty of inland fisheries? Or perhaps both? And, what about the last year’s summer hotspots? Truth be told, whatever you choose, you won’t go wrong. Each of the mentioned locations is bound to give you the time of your life this summer. All you have to do is gear up, have fun, and then tell us all about it. Tight lines!
What summer fishing destination would you recommend to your fellow anglers? Have you ever fished in any of the spots we talked about? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!