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10 Best Freshwater Fishing Destinations in the U.S.

Written by David Jones on May 23, 2017

Fishing is a great American pastime with a lot of benefits. Whether you fish to eat or you always release your prey, it’s a great stress reliever. It can also keep you physically fit, provide a great source of nutrition, help you unplug, and improve your mood.

Fishing can be fun even when you don’t get a nibble, but it’s more fulfilling if you’re able to catch something once in awhile. A successful fishing trip can depend on a variety of factors, including the climate, the noise level, the season, the number of people there, and the type of fish you’re trying to catch. Do a little research before you go; consider what environments attract fish and what spots will benefit your trip.

Finding a great fishing spot requires visiting the right places. In case you haven’t heard, here are some of the top fishing destinations across the country.

1. McCloud River

Head to Northern California for some excellent fishing at McCloud River. This gently flowing river is near Mt. Shasta of the Cascade Mountains. There are more fish and fewer people at the lower part of this river.

2. Mille Lacs Lake

Minnesota, the land of a thousand lakes, is home to some of the best freshwater fishing in the country. Mille Lacs, located about an hour north of Minnesota, is perfect for boat fishing in the summer and ice fishing in the winter. The lake is also surrounded by beautiful vacation resorts if you need to get away.

3. Kodiak Island

Alaska is also one of the best places in the world for fishing, making it a must-visit for any avid fisherman. The fishing in the freshwater rivers and ponds of Kodiak Island is incredible. There’s salmon everywhere—just watch out for bears!

4. Montana

If you’re looking for trout, stop in Montana. There are excellent freshwater destinations all over the state, and experts say Montana is the best place in the lower 48 to go for trout. There are the Firehole and Gibbon Rivers at West Yellowstone, streams and rivers near Missoula, the Gallatin River, and more.

5. Lake Charlevoix

Michigan’s Lake Charlevoix is breathtaking in the morning when the sun is just rising over the lake and surrounding greenery. The lake is also loaded with freshwater bass who are always looking for an easy meal. You’re sure to catch a whopper on this lake.

6. Lake Saint Clair

Lake Saint Clair is also in Michigan, though it’s the smallest of the lakes located there, just northeast of Detroit. The lake is filled to the brim with muskie, smallmouth bass, walleye, and a variety of other freshwater fish, though smallmouth bass are among the most prevalent catches there.

7. Lake Coeur d’Alene

While the Snake River flows through the lower half of Idaho, there’s a gorgeous, still lake in its panhandle loaded with Chinook Salmon. All year-round you can catch these fish as well as bass in the spring and summer. You’ll also enjoy the incredible green scenery and charming town that surrounds this gorgeous mountainous area.

8. Kobuk River

Alaska’s Kobuk River offers unique fish you’ll have a hard time finding in the warmer climate of the lower 48 states. There are sheefish, chum salmon, lake trout, northern pike, arctic char, arctic grayling, and more.

Once you arrive, catching something will be easy, but it will be difficult to get there. The only access to this destination is by air, so you’ll have to book a special trip to get there.

9. Lake Okeechobee

Florida’s largest freshwater lake, Lake Okeechobee, has plenty of bass. In fact, it’s some of the best bass you can find in the nation. There’s are also a lot of black crappie and catfish to be had in this massive body of freshwater.

10. Falcon Lake

Anglers from Texas and beyond will travel far, just for brief access to the reservoir on the Rio Grande known as Falcon Lake. The largemouth bass that populate these waters are enormous and not too difficult to catch. You’ll also have an assortment of channel catfish at your disposal.

Now that you know some of the best places in the United States for fishing, what are you waiting for? Book your summer fishing trip before word gets out and prices skyrocket.