The Best Fishing Spot in Every State

Plan a fishing trip throughout the U.S. and make sure to hit these top spots in each state.

 man on a motor boat fishing
Updated July 9, 2024
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As you’re planning for retirement, perhaps you're dreaming of long weekends away at a quiet place or that fishing trip you’ve always wanted to take with your child. Well, there’s good news.

The U.S. has some of the best fishing spots in each state — those worthy of early summer mornings in the tranquility of nature.

If you’re thinking about fishing, whether in your home state or on your next trip, you’ll appreciate a list of the best fishing spots in every state.

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Alabama: Meaher State Park (Mobile)

Aliaksandr Marko/Adobe man holding a fishing rod

The Meaher State Park is an excellent choice for fishing, especially if you are after the area’s most prized catch: the redfish.

The Mobile-Tensaw River Delta area is an excellent choice for anglers looking for this fish. You’ll also find a good amount of speckled trout in the region.

The 300-foot-long fishing pier at the park is the perfect spot to start your adventure.

Alaska: Kenai River (Kenai Peninsula)

Bob/Adobe man fly fishing

For those after the prized king salmon, the Kenai River is by far one of the best destinations. King salmon, also known as chinook salmon, love to call this river home.

If you’re lucky enough, you could catch some pretty impressively sized fish, too.

Arizona: Lake Havasu (Lake Havasu City)

REDPIXEL/Adobe fishing concept

You’ll find bass as large as 6 pounds and carp that can reach over 20 pounds in Lake Havasu. The lake is a 19,000-acre impoundment from the Colorado River, and that creates superabundance here.

You’ll find striped, smallmouth, and large-mouth bass, along with the prized Havasu catfish (locals suggest using anchovies as bait to lure them in).

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Arkansas: White River (Batesville)

Dudarev Mikhail/Adobe fishing

The White River spans 722 miles, and much of it is perfect for anglers who want some of the best catfish, walleye, and bass in the region.

You can also get creative and fish the way you desire. That could be fly fishing (which is quite popular), spearfishing, or fishing from a johnboat if you like.

California: The San Joaquin Delta (Northern California)

smiltena/Adobe summer fishing on the river

The San Joaquin River Delta won’t let you down when it comes to fishing. Specifically, it’s perfect for big bass fishing, stripers, sturgeons, and catfish.

The Delta is a popular location for those who want adventure-style fishing with something different every time they pull up their line.

Colorado: Roaring Fork Valley (Glenwood Springs)

battler/Adobe bass fish in the hand

For the best fly fishing in the state, Glenwood Springs consistently wins. The Roaring Fork River is the ideal location for fish, making them abundant.

There’s year-round activity here, and as some of the most pristine waters in the state, it’s the perfect place to reach a relaxing state (though some streams are challenging to wade against).

Connecticut: Caloosahatchee River (Cape Coral)

Lusia/Adobe fisherman with a catching fish

All of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caloosahatchee River are prime fishing spots, with options for those who want freshwater and saltwater options.

The ideal location is in the river, which provides opportunities for excellent bass fishing. With over 400 miles of canals, you’ll also find ample fish here, too.

Delaware: Moore’s Lake (Dover)

rh2010/Adobe friends fishing together

Dover’s remote, beautiful Moore’s Lake is an excellent choice for those looking for the very best fishing for bluegill and perch.

It’s a secluded, 27-acre freshwater lake perfect for a lazy summer day. You’ll also find largemouth bass, crappie, and yellow perch ready to come home with you.

Florida: Islamorada (Florida Keys)

Maridav/Adobe shark fishing

Islamorada offers some fantastic fishing options, which is why it is considered one of the best sports fishing destinations in the world.

Offshore fishing is popular here, but so is reef and wreck fishing, which is perfect for grouper and mutton snapper, which are excellent here.

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Georgia: Clarks Hill Lake (Lincolnton)

Serhii/Adobe fishing rod

Clarks Hill Lake boasts 400 miles of shoreline in what locals call the Georgia freshwater coast. Fishing here is a popular experience.

Numerous bass tournaments take place here, but there are plenty of other options, including bluegill and catfish.

Hawaii: Lahaina Harbor (Maui)

Mat Hayward/Adobe deep sea fishing reel

Start in Lahaina Harbor to board a charter for some deep-sea fishing while you’re in Hawaii. There’s nothing quite like the experience.

Within a few minutes, you’ll be in one of the best locations for capturing marlin, mahimahi, and tuna.

Idaho: Lake Pend Oreille (Bonner County)

Kadmy/Adobe fisher fishing on foggy sunrise

Lake Pend Oreille is the largest lake in the state. It offers 111 miles of shoreline and plenty of small spots perfect for fishing.

A huge kokanee population exists in this area, but you’ll also find rainbow trout, lake trout, and bull trout (and they get pretty large as well).

Illinois: Banner Marsh State Fish & Wildlife Area (Canton)

popovatetiana/Adobe fisherman in a boat

The Banner Marsh State Fish & Wildlife Area is not only fantastic for fishing but also for birding. The marshes are packed with waterfowl, which are after what you are as well: the fish.

The water is packed with largemouth bass, northern pike, crappie, channel catfish, and numerous others.

Indiana: Brookville Lake (Brookville)

Kadmy/Adobe sunset fishing

Brookville is a small town home to a lake by the same name. It’s a quiet spot, perfect for small boats or pier fishing.

You’ll find smallmouth bass, striped bass, and walleye here. Bring your boat and explore this 17-mile-long lake.

Iowa: Lake Rathbun (Moravia)

pershing/Adobe father and son catch fish

For those who truly enjoy bass fishing, Lake Rathbun is the prime spot. It’s also well known for its large crappie population.

This location is known to produce up to 12-inch crappies during the late spring months. It’s a welcoming, relaxing place to spend time with the whole family.

Kansas: Lake Meade State Park (Meade)

Aliaksandr Marko/Adobe man holding a fishing rod

Lake Meade State Park is just west of Red Hills and provides an 80-acre lake. It’s home to largemouth bass, channel cat, and bluegill.

Bring your boat with you (pleasure boating is not allowed). The Meade Fish Hatchery is located on the western side of the lake and can be toured by appointment only.

Kentucky: Lake Cumberland (Clinton)

pressmaster/Adobe father and son fishing

Lake Cumberland is known as the houseboat capital of the world and is one of the largest manmade lakes in the country.

The fishing is top-notch, with five types of bass, walleye, bream, crappie, and trout stocked.

Louisiana: Lake Des Allemands (St. Charles Parish)

digidreamgrafix/Adobe fishing on a lake before sunset

Its location makes Louisiana a hot spot for fishing, with both freshwater and saltwater options. However, in Lake Des Allemands, you’ll find an excellent location for freshwater fish, including both bass and crappie.

If you want a more hidden fishing spot, head down one of the tributaries just off the river. The quiet mornings are ideal for catching the big ones.

Maine: Sebago Lake Region (East Sebago)

goodluz/Adobe catching rainbow trout

Sebago Lake Region is a diverse fishing location, with both warm water and cold water fish present.

You’ll find lots of trout (brown, rainbow, and lake) as well as landlocked salmon, perch, and chain pickerel.

It’s close enough to Portland in the southernmost part of the state to make this a nice weekend trip.

Maryland: Piney Run Reservoir (Carroll County)

kemal yamak/Adobe fishing at sunset

The Piney Run Reservoir is perfect for redear sunfish, yellow perch, and black crappie, but you’ll also find some striped bass if you’re lucky.

The lake has several fishing piers and floating piers, but boating is limited due to the significant amount of vegetation growth.

Massachusetts: East Brimfield Lake (Fiskdale)

Serhii/Adobe spinning fishing reel

East Brimfield Lake is perfect for a weekend fishing trip. Many come for the deer and hunting, but it’s also an excellent choice for fishing the stocked trout.

It’s also an excellent location for ice fishing once the lake freezes. You’ll find northern pike and bass during the winter months.

Michigan: Murphy Lake (Tuscola County)

Kmatta/Adobe fisherman and trophy Pike

When variety is in order on your next fishing trip, make plans to visit Murphy Lake in Tuscola County. A larger lake with 209 acres, you’ll find anglers love this hidden gem.

It’s the perfect place to catch channel catfish, black crappie, and northern pike, among others.

Minnesota: Rum River (Anoka)

megaflopp/Adobe woman holding fishing rod

Rum River is an excellent choice for fishing in a beautiful area. There are various small sites along the river’s path worthy of a few hours of quiet fishing.

Rum River is also home to a good variety of fish, including crappies, bluegill, smallmouth bass, walleye, and northern pike.

Mississippi: Calling Panther Lake (Crystal Springs)

Ljupco Smokovski/Adobe man fishing on sunset

Located in the central portion of the state, Calling Panther Lake is about 512 acres in size and perfect for bass fishing lovers.

For anglers looking for trophy-sized bass, this is where to go.

Missouri: Lake Jacomo (Blue Springs)

Serhii/Adobe spinning reel on the river bank

Lake Jacomo is a 970-acre freshwater reservoir in Jackson County that is perfect for those who enjoy fishing, pontoons, and lots of fishing.

The lake limits the types of boats allowed (sailboats are limited to 40 HP), but you’ll find it worth the experience. There are bluegill, crappie, carp, hybrid striped bass, and others waiting for you.

Montana: Gallatin River (Bozeman)

henrik/Adobe flyfishing

Locals will tell you that the Gallatin River is prime fishing for those anglers who prefer fly fishing. If you’re looking for a very specific hot spot, check under the Cameron Bridge.

That’s where you’ll find some outstanding wild trout. It’s only a few minutes outside of town and offers lots of wade-worthy spots to enjoy.

Nebraska: Lake McConaughy (Ogallala)

Dudarev Mikhail/Adobe  amateur angler holds zander fish

Such a beautiful location in its own right, Lake McConaughy is the perfect 55 square miles of water for excellent fishing. The catfish, rainbow trout, and smallmouth bass are prolific.

This lake is a year-round destination and attracts a good number of visitors each year because it is such a fantastic habitat.

Nevada: Jarbridge River (West Fork)

eight8/Adobe fishing reel and rod

The Jarbridge River used to be excellent for chinook salmon, though the creation of several dams in Idaho and Oregon stopped their travel from the ocean. However, this area is still great for fishing.

When it comes to native sport fishing, you’ll find some excellent choices, including mountain whitefish and redband trout.

New Hampshire: White Lake State Park (Tamworth)

Michal/Adobe woman learning to fly fishing

Let’s say you want to camp on a beach and spend some time on the water. Head to White Lake State Park.

The glacial lake is a nice location for trout fishing. You can rent a boat and head out into the water without a lot of skill and do well.

New Jersey: Island Beach State Park (Ocean County)

iofoto/Adobe young boy fishing in surf

Island Beach State Park is another beautiful location and an excellent choice for those who want to go saltwater fishing. A barrier island creates beautiful waters perfect for relaxed fishing.

Anglers love to come for the striped bass, and there’s often a fishing tournament available during the year for those who want to try out their fishing rod.

New Mexico: San Juan River (Farmington to Blanco)

smiltena/Adobe fishing in a lake at sunset

Most portions of the San Juan River are fantastic for fishing in New Mexico. You’ll find the 17 miles from the Navaho Dam down in Blanco perfect for fishing, canoeing, and kayaking.

You’ll find cutthroat, brown, and rainbow trout are excellent here.

New York: Rensselaer Lake (Albany)

kichigin19/Adobe autumn fishing

The Rensselaer Lake is located within the Albany Pine Brush Preserve and creates a nice, almost hidden spot for fishing. It’s a calm fishing lake that’s known by locals for having some nice fishing.

Take a rowboat or kayak out and find the bluegill, pumpkinseed, and rock bass. You’ll find large bass that are upwards of five pounds from time to time.

North Carolina: New River (Jacksonville)

Aleksei/Adobe fishing rod spinning with the line

New River isn’t the largest area, but it is perfect for anglers who want to catch flounder, speckled trout, smallmouth bass, and both red and black drum.

It’s located in the eastern portion of the state but is an inland rather than a coastal sea excursion. This slower-moving river is also a great choice if you want to paddle out to a quiet cove and wait for the best fish to come along.

North Dakota: Devil’s Lake (Devils Lake)

Jag_cz/Adobe fisherman hunting fish

Devil’s Lake has four specific varieties of fish in good abundance, including walleye, perch, northern pike, and white bass.

In the winter, you can do some ice fishing here, too, for another layer of adventure.

Ohio: Antrim Lake (Columbus)

Dudarev Mikhail/Adobe fisherman adobe

Antrim Lake is part of the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department and is well worth exploring. Once a quarry pit, today, it has a fantastic fishing pier along its west side.

There’s no boating allowed. This is an excellent choice for small fish, including nice-sized catfish.

Oklahoma: American Horse Lake (Blaine County)

vitaliy_melnik/Adobe man fishing on a lake

Such a fantastic part of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, American Horse Lake is a must-fish location.

You’ll find a nice range of fish, including largemouth bass, bluegill, redear, crappie, and more.

Oregon: Alton Baker Park (Eugene)

Serhii/Adobe picking up big rainbow trout

With trout, salmon, catfish, and panfish available, Eugene is prime-time for anglers. Alton Baker Park is an excellent choice all around.

It’s stocked routinely and offers a wide range of fish. This popular fishing spot is perfect for those after steelhead and bass, too.

Pennsylvania: Presque Isle Bay (Erie)

mtmmarek/Adobe angler sitting on fishing chair

Presque Isle Bay is a smaller area off Lake Erie, perfect for shore fishing. The water is shallow and calm in this area.

The waters are filled with options, including northern pike, crappies, smelt, and steelhead.

Rhode Island: Kings Beach (Newport)

pressmaster/Adobe evening fishing

Kings Beach is located at the eastern portion of Brenton Point State Park. The rugged shoreline isn’t easy to kayak on, but it makes for good fishing.

Blackfish are a common option, though there are plenty of others, including tautog, striped bass, and summer flounder.

South Carolina: Lake Jocasee (Devils Fork State Park)

digidreamgrafix/Adobe fishing on a lake

The only access point to the over 7,500-acre Lake Jocassee is within the Devil's Fork State Park. Once there, you can take your boat out onto the water to do some fantastic trout fishing.

It’s a fun and beautiful location, especially thanks to the mountain streams and small waterfalls that trickle down into the lake at various points.

South Dakota: Lake Oahe (Pollock)

Dudarev Mikhail/Adobe throwing fishing reel

Lake Oahe is the largest reservoir in the state and has 231 miles of shoreline. Bring your boat and head out for a weekend trip.

When you do, you’ll find plenty of fish, including walleye, bass, perch, northern pike, and bass. Come back in the winter for ice fishing.

Tennessee: Barkley Reservoir (Livingston County)

pressmaster/Adobe showing fish to his grandson

A 57,920-acre lake, the Barkley Reservoir is a fantastic destination for those looking for sport species. It’s home to black crappie, largemouth bass, white bass, and several others.

If you're after sunfish, the prime months here are April to June. In the deeper areas, sauger are available throughout the year.

Texas: Lake Abilene (Abilene)

Yan/Adobe kids fishing under sunset

Lake Abilene is a smaller public lake that is perfect for those who are learning to fish or want a relaxing trip.

You’ll find various fish here, including white crappie, channel catfish, and largemouth bass.

Utah: Huntington North Reservoir (Huntington)

Ryno Botha/Adobe bass fishing on beautiful lake

The Huntington North Reservoir has everything (boating, swimming areas, and plenty of camping space. It also has an abundance of fish.

You’ll find rainbow trout shore fishing is excellent, but the channel catfish are also nice here.

Vermont: Colchester Point (Colchester)

Andrei Armiagov/Adobe fishing rod spinning

Colchester Point sits on the Winooski River right near Lake Champlain. It’s a beautiful location throughout the year.

As for the fishing, there are plenty of potential options, including chain pickerel, carp, bullhead, brown trout, and yellow perch. Resident and migrating fish are present throughout the year.

Virginia: Scottsville Lake (Albemarle County)

Jeff/Adobe fishing in the fall

With its trout stocking program, Scottsville Lake is the perfect choice for trout fishing lovers. It’s also home to channel catfish, crappie, bluegill, and largemouth bass.

Although this 3.5-acre lake may not seem huge, the surrounding Van Clief Nature Area is also a stunning place to hike.

Washington: Ann Lake (Chelan County)

kichigin19/Adobe autumn fishing spinning

Ann Lake requires some effort to reach since it’s located in a large bowl just below Maple Pass. However, sports anglers and locals alike frequent the area.

The best fish you’ll likely catch are cutthroat trout since they are stocked throughout the year.

West Virginia: Plum Orchard Lake (Scarbro)

Aliaksandr Marko/Adobe fisherman at dawn

Plum Orchard Lake is the perfect camping destination for fish lovers. You’ll find the warm water fishery here, which makes for the perfect weekend fishing trip.

You’ll find trophy-size largemouth bass, channel catfish, crappie, and bluegill.

Wisconsin: Albany Lake (Millpond)

Andras/Adobe silhouette of man fishing

Albany Lake is a 102-acre lake that reaches a depth of 8 feet. It’s a beautiful area to visit in Green County.

That makes it an excellent choice for panfish, northern pike, smallmouth bass, and catfish.

Wyoming: North Platte River (Casper)

Parilov/Adobe fisherman using rod fly

The North Platte River is one of the most popular destinations for tourists who wish to fish. Because it flows into and around the city, there are many opportunities for calm river fishing.

Fly fishing is popular, though some enjoy paddleboarding along the river. It’s not uncommon to see fish leaping into the air. You’ll find trout (including rainbow, cutthroat, and brown) to be plentiful.

Bottom line

Jacob Lund/Adobe setting his fishing rod

Fishing is relaxing and a fantastic way to build experiences with family and friends. You’ll find options throughout the country.

If you’re visiting one of the many National Parks, be sure to take advantage of the senior travel discounts most offer so you can fully enjoy these golden fishing opportunities.

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