The United States is home to thousands of bucket list destinations for anglers throughout the year. And, of course, every angler has found “the best spot” for fishing in their area. But we took the time to highlight places in different regions of the country that anglers have unanimously identified for “best fishing.”
Northeast: Lake Champlain, New York/Vermont
Lake Champlain offers one of the most unique experiences for anglers because of its diverse features and year-long fishability. Lake Champlain is one of the largest freshwater lakes in the United States, located on the border of New York and Vermont, even stretching north into Canada. Because of its size, warm and cold-water climate, and topography, Lake Champlain is busting with an attractive variety of fish that will entice a diverse range of anglers in search of game fish.
Anglers will find large and smallmouth bass, lake trout, northern pike, salmon, perch, walleye, crappie, and steelhead. And fishing isn’t limited in the winter. Ice fishing is extremely popular on Lake Champlain, especially in the northern parts of the lake, and anglers regularly have successful days on the ice.
Mid-Atlantic: Fletcher’s Cove, Virginia
Located along the Potomac River in the northwestern area of Washington D.C. sits Fletcher’s Cove, a popular inlet for anglers and boaters alike. For decades, Fletcher’s Cove has provided ample opportunity for anglers to enjoy days filled with catches, including shad, bass, carp, sunfish, and more. The spring provides an especially great time for bites, as the shad and bass make their way upriver for spawning season.
Fletcher’s Cove has experienced some changes over the decades, as sediment deposits have significantly reduced the size of the cove from what it used to be. However, a coalition of volunteers, government organizations, and private businesses have made promising efforts to rehabilitate and maintain the cove for future generations.
Southeast: Lake Tohopekaliga, Florida
Lake Toho, as it’s commonly referred to, is a bass fisherman’s dream spot. Located just a short drive south of Orlando, Lake Toho is renowned for its production of oversized largemouth bass. However, the lake is also home to other desirable game fish, like crappie, bluegill, sunfish, catfish. Given the climate of the area, fishing in Lake Toho is a year-round affair. But the local anglers will tell you winter is the best time to catch the biggest bass in the lake.
Lake Toho is large, spanning over 18,000 acres. However, it is also relatively shallow, like most lakes in Florida. The deepest part of the lake only reaches 13 feet, which makes it a popular destination for shallow-dwelling bass.
Great Lakes Region: Lake St. Clair, Michigan
Separating Detroit from Ontario and squeezed between Lake Erie and Lake Huron, Lake St. Clair is a shallow lake measuring 430 square miles with a maximum depth of only 11 feet. The stained water makes this body of water an excellent destination for anglers seeking walleye, perch, sunfish, bass, catfish, pike, and sturgeon. In late fall, Lake St. Clair is a popular destination for anglers seeking to catch a trophy muskie, as the lake is abundant with these large fish.
In winter, Lake St. Clair is a prime destination for ice fishing. Many anglers will walk away with a nice haul of large perch or one of the other many large game fish. And the shores of Michigan provide plenty of launch points into the lake.
Midwest: Lake Okoboji, Iowa
Many people are unfamiliar with the Iowa Great Lakes. But the region located on the state’s northern border with Minnesota is a prime fishery, and here is where you will find West and East Lake Okoboji. West Lake Okoboji is a pristine shade of blue and reaches a whopping maximum depth of 136 feet. Lake Okoboji provides a year-round playground for water lovers, especially anglers looking to take their boats out into the depths or those looking to cast a line from the shore.
Lake Okoboji is a hotbed for walleye, bluegill, perch, and bass, with many of the local guides gushing over the mass hauls they have experienced in recent years. Many of the locals will tell you to plan your fishing trip in the fall, as the waters cool, and traffic dissipates. But if you’re looking to do some ice fishing, Lake Okoboji provides a great setting for that as well.
West Coast: California Delta, California
80,000 acres of water and 55 fish species. That is what the Sacramento and San Joaquin Delta (California Delta) boasts as the west coast’s largest estuary. The California Delta is made up of numerous bodies of water between San Francisco and Sacramento, providing a breathtaking variety of scenes and experiences throughout the area.
As California is known as a year-round destination, so too is the California Delta. Throughout the year, anglers will find large populations of bass, sturgeon, catfish, salmon, shad, and more. You can likely a cast a line on your own and not have difficulty catching a fish in the California Delta. But if you have a desire to find the most active spots or find specific species, there are dozens of experienced charter guides in the region. Otherwise, you can take your own boat or kayak out on the water, or fish from the shoreline or piers.
Northwest: Hells Canyon, Oregon
“The deepest river gorge in North America.” That distinction belongs to Hells Canyon in Oregon. Stretching over 100 miles, Hells Canyon is carved out by Snake River and sits under the shadow of the Seven Devils Mountains of Idaho. Snake River measures a half-mile wide and varies in depth from two feet to as much as 105 feet.
Hells Canyon provides a nice home for a variety of fish, including steelhead, salmon, sturgeon, walleye and more. As you might imagine for the climate in the northwestern United States, the time of year will determine what you will find in the river. The fall and winter months will find an abundance of steelhead and walleye going into the spring. The late spring and summer months attract a variety of salmon and sturgeon to the area. But throughout the year, you will be pulling fish into your vessel from the banks of the Snake River.
Southwest: Lake Havasu, Arizona
One of the most interesting aspects of Lake Havasu is that it is the home of the original London Bridge. But Lake Havasu is also regarded as one of the best fishing lakes in the United States. The climate of Arizona provides an ideal year-round fishing haven for anglers.
Anglers regularly bring in large hauls of large and smallmouth bass, striped bass, bluegill, sunfish, catfish, crappies, and more. This is in no small part due to the efforts of environmental agencies that created an ideal habitat for fish on the lake bottom by way of natural plants and artificial materials such as recycled plastics.
These are just some of the many great fishing destinations in these regions. Send us your favorite fishing areas in these regions so we can feature more must-go destinations for anglers.