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Fishing in United States
Some of the best fishing in the world can be found in the United States. No matter your age, sex, or race, fishing in USA waters will provide a memorable trip for all. The locales, species, and skills needed to land your dream fish are as varied as the people who call this country home.
US Fishing Spots
What fish you’re after will heavily influence where you decide to go. The US is surrounded by the North Pacific Ocean, the North Atlantic Ocean, and the Gulf of Mexico, each creating the perfect conditions for a variety of species offshore. Inland, lakes, rivers, bay, estuaries, and more make freshwater fishing some of the best in the world. Below are some of the top spots you should add to your American fishing dream!
The East Coast looks out onto the North Atlantic, and benefits from the warmer waters coming up from the Gulf Stream. Along the coast are popular cities, and even inshore you’ll find tourist destinations that still have excellent river and lake fishing. When you’re not taking in a show on Broadway or visiting the Statue of Liberty, head to the Salmon River in NY for some incredible fly fishing.
Chesapeake Bay in Maryland is America’s largest estuary, with 46 principal rivers and streams. These brackish waters are perfect for Striped Bass (aka Rockfish in the Northeast). Try the Crab, and fish from Annapolis for Bluefish, Mackerel, and Striped Bass.
The warm protected waters of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is where you’ll want to go to catch your fill of Bluefin Tuna. Head out of Stellwagen Bank, north of the cape, for your best chance of reeling in this fish – only a few miles out and you can begin your fishing adventure. Use trolling and jigging techniques for best effect. Striped Bass fishing is also very popular here, as well as Bluefish and Black Seabass.
These barrier islands are found along the coast of North Carolina and are the closest landmass to the continental shelf in North America. Top catches here include Blue Marlin, White Marlin, Striped Bass, Yellowfin Tuna, Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, and more. The ride to the Gulf Stream can be as little as 15 minutes! If inshore fishing is more your speed, you can target Trout, Seabass, Flounder, and more.
The West Coast looks out onto the North Pacific Ocean. The fishing changes dramatically from north to south, due to the influence of the surrounding waters, such as the California Current running from British Columbia down to the Baja California Peninsula.
The Columbia River winds its way through Oregon and Washington State. This is the largest river in the Pacific Northwest. Head out of Tillamook, Astoria, or Coos Bay to find huge Smallmouth Bass, Rainbow Trout, and Sturgeon, as well as King and Coho Salmon. In August, head to the Buoy 10 fishery in Astoria for excellent Salmon and Steelhead fishing.
In Washington, head to the Strait of San Juan de Fuca for some huge Halibut. With over 3,000 miles of shoreline, you’ll be able to get your lines in the water pronto! Puget Sound and Lake Sammamish are other top locales to target Pink Salmon, King Salmon, Dolly Varden, Brown Trout, Lingcod. On the Pacific Coast, you can also target Albacore Tuna in the summer.
When not visiting Disneyland or the Universal Studios, try fishing in these great waters both inshore and offshore. Southern California offers Striped Marlin, Bluefin Tuna, Yellowfin Tuna, Mahi Mahi, Thresher Shark, and more, much like the species found in the Gulf of Mexico. Inshore fishing includes Halibut, as well as Lingcod, Pacific Barracuda, California Sheephead, and Yellowtail Amberjack. Halfway up the coast, the fishing changes dramatically – in Northern California, cooler waters offer fishing very similar to that of Oregon and Washington.
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico offers fantastic deep sea fishing. You’ll head out into these warm waters and fish around the oil rigs offshore. Top oil rigs you’ll be fishing around include Thunderhorse, Mars, Elf, and Ursa.
Texas is known for excellent offshore fishing, accessible from Corpus Christi, Galveston, Freeport, Rockport, and Port Aransas. Red Snapper is your primary target, here. Further inland, you’ll be reeling in Speckled Trout and Redfish. Try your hand at gigging for Flounder here too.
Redfish can be caught in New Orleans year-round, and boy do they get big! Sight fish for them, or try fly fishing. When freshwater fishing, you’ll be catching Perch, Largemouth Bass, Catfish, and more in the lagoons. Top spots to head to include Lake Borgne, Black Bay, Lake Pontchartrain, and the City Park.
And Let’s Not Forget Florida!
The most southern point of the East Coast is this fishing Mecca! Florida is the place for sportfishing in the US. Leaving from Destin, you can target Amberjack and Grouper, or head further out for Blue Marlin, Sailfish, and Yellowfin Tuna. You have many locales to choose from, inshore and offshore, such as the Panhandle, the Everglades, the Florida Keys, Lake Okeechobee, Lake Kissimmee, and many more.
Freshwater fishing can be done all around the US, but for the best fishing, you’ll want to head to the Great Lakes in the north. Lake Superior is the largest of the lakes – try ice fishing here during winter. Lake Huron has the longest coastline, and Steelhead, Chinook Salmon, Carp, and Walleye can be caught in various places along it. Lake Michigan is popular and great for Coho Salmon. Lake Ontario is the smallest of the Great Lakes, but great for Chinook Salmon, Lake Trout, and Steelhead. In Lake Erie, it’s all about the Walleye. This is where you’ll most likely catch the biggest fish!
Off The Mainland
If you're fishing in Alaska, odds are you’ll be fishing the Kenai River, from Cooper Landing to Cook Inlet. This top fishery produces gigantic King Salmon, as well as Humpback Salmon, Sockeye Salmon, Coho Salmon, Rainbow Trout, and Dolly Varden.
Aloha amazing fishing! At the opposite end of the map, Hawaii offers completely opposite fishing opportunities to Alaska. It’s hard to not catch a Blue Marlin, Striped Marlin, or Yellowfin Tuna here. Other species that regularly inhabit these waters include Albacore Tuna, Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, Amberjack, Trevally, Snapper, and Barracuda.
Fishing is a pastime as old as time itself, so of course there are a few legends attached to it. Keep your bananas at home when on a fishing trip – it’s a widely held belief that bananas are unlucky and will prevent you from catching fish!
Fishing with a guide will help you get the most out of your trip, and give you the best chance of landing your dream catch. They know the top spots and how to navigate even the trickiest of waters.
These waters all hold a variety of species. Keep a mix of lures and baits in your tackle box – you’ll be able to swiftly change tactics and target a different fish if needed.
Need to Know
There’s something to fish for year round in America, you just need to know where to go, and be up for fishing on the ice in winter!
Regulations across the USA vary from state to state. You may need to buy a license before your trip, or your captain will have one for you already. Always check the latest information for each state. In federal waters, you'll usually need an additional license.
If fishing out of Southern California: Deep sea trips out of San Diego often require a passport and Mexican fishing permit (some captains cover the permit).
For world-class fishing and endless opportunities to catch your trophy fish, you have to go fishing in US waters. Each location offers you different species, with a special technique to catch them. There is so much to discover when fishing here!
United States Fishing Seasons
In New York State, join in the Winter Classic Fishing Tournament – open on all types of water, enter your catch into seven categories to win big!
Sailfishing is great in Florida now. On the West Coast, Largemouth Bass and Walleye are biting.
In New Orleans, don’t miss out on the Big Bass Fishing Rodeo! Join in the Billfish Tournament in Miami – will you catch the biggest Marlin?
All over the US the fisheries are heating up. Inshore or offshore, you’ll find lots of action out on the water
The Florida Keys Dolphin Tournament is a highlight this month – don’t worry, Dolphin fish is the other name for Mahi Mahi.
In Vermont, join in the Lake Champlain International Fishing Derby – the largest fishing derby in America.
Are you a fly fishing aficionado? Then the Del Brown Permit Tournament in Florida is for you!
August is a great month for fishing across the US. Spend the week at White Marlin Open in Maryland –the largest pro tournament in the world!
Lake Kenai is great this month for Coho Salmon and Steelhead. You can also catch Halibut and Lingcod offshore.
October is all about the Destin Fishing Rodeo. Put this on your calendar and join in the fun down in Florida.
The Salmon River in NY offers good fishing for Coho and Chinook this month, and excellent fishing for Rainbow Trout.
You’ll find plenty of ice fishing this month. Head to Lake Ontario’s Lake Simcoe, or Winnebago lake in Wisconsin. Or warm up in Hawaii!