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Fish On! 11 Best Fishing Trips in the U.S.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a novice, each region of the U.S. offers a unique fishing experience—check out our favorites!

Published on March 4th, 2024 in Destinations, Travel Tips

Looking for the best fishing trips in the U.S.? We’ve got you covered.

From East Coast excursions to Alaskan expeditions, let’s look at some of America’s top fishing destinations that promise both freshwater and saltwater thrills. Cast your line in spots where epic catches and breathtaking scenery converge.

This post is divided into six main sections for each region for fishing in the U.S.:

  1. East Coast
  2. South
  3. Midwest
  4. West Coast
  5. Alaska
  6. Hawaii

Fish on!

East Coast angling adventures

Nothing quite compares to the allure of fishing along the East Coast. With its vast shoreline stretching from the white-sand beaches of Florida to the rocky coasts of Maine, it’s a paradise for anglers.

Let’s zoom in on a few specific locations.

1. Cape Cod, Massachusetts: A haven for striped bass

Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is like an angler’s dream come true. Known for its incredible striped bass fishing, Cape Cod is a top destination for catching fish. With its cool seaside towns and historic sites, it’s not just the fishing that will reel you in. You can immerse yourself in the local culture and history, making your fishing trip extra special.

The best time to cast your line for striped bass is during the summer and fall months. The feeling of reeling in a catch under the warm sun, with the Atlantic breeze in your hair, is unforgettable. And the best part? The Atlantic striper, a fish so integral to the area that it inspired the name of Cape Cod, is just one of many species you can catch here.

2. Chesapeake Bay, Maryland: A year-round fisherman’s paradise

For year-round fishing, look no further than Chesapeake Bay, Maryland. Here you can fish all year round and reel in a variety of species like the famous striped bass, mentioned above. The bay is a top fishing destination due to its abundance of fish and easy accessibility, making it perfect for a fishing trip anytime you get the itch.

The best time to visit Chesapeake Bay is during the late spring, summer, and fall. During these months, the bay is teeming with fish, offering you a fantastic opportunity to cast your line and see what bites. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice, Chesapeake Bay is sure to provide a fishing experience you won’t forget.

3. Key West, Florida: A deep-sea fishing destination

Key West offers anglers the chance to try their hand at deep-sea fishing or flat fishing on the shallow flats, making for an exciting fishing adventure. The thrill of navigating the ocean’s depths, rod in hand, waiting for that tell-tale tug on the line, is an experience like no other.

The best time to go fishing in the Florida Keys is during the spring and early summer seasons. During this period, the waters are full of a variety of fish species like:

  • tarpon
  • mahi-mahi
  • tuna
  • permit
  • bonefish
  • marlin

Deep-sea fishing in Key West is a must-try experience that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

Southern fishing vacations: Sun, sport, and spectacular catches

If you’re looking for a fishing adventure with a side of sunshine, the Southern U.S. is the place to be. From the coasts of North Carolina to the rich waters of Louisiana, the South offers a unique blend of sport and relaxation. But that’s not all — the region’s abundant waters are home to a variety of species, promising spectacular catches for anglers of all skill levels.

4. Outer Banks, North Carolina: Tarpon triumphs and more

Check out the Outer Banks of North Carolina, a region that boasts some of the best fishing spots in the South. With its beautiful surroundings and easy access to the water, it’s the perfect setting for catching tarpon, an exciting game fish known for its acrobatic leaps. The thrill of hooking a tarpon and the ensuing battle is an angler’s dream come true.

The Outer Banks offer fishing adventures like no other, from inshore trips for red drum and speckled trout to offshore fishing escapades for yellowfin tuna and marlin. And it’s not just the fish that make this place special—the locals, charming seaside towns, and stunning natural beauty all contribute to making the Outer Banks a standout fishing destination.

5. New Orleans, Louisiana: Redfish rendezvous

Down South in New Orleans, Louisiana, a redfish rendezvous awaits. Known for its vibrant culture and lively music scene, New Orleans is also a hot spot for fishing enthusiasts. The city’s location along the Gulf of Mexico makes it a prime spot for inshore fishing, with redfish being a popular catch.

The Biloxi Marsh, in particular, is famed for its huge red drum, making it a go-to destination for anglers looking to hook this species.

But that’s not all—the marsh is also home to a variety of other fish, including speckled trout, black drum, and flounder, offering anglers a diverse fishing experience.

Midwest fishing retreats: Lakeside leisure and lunkers

Now, let’s journey to the heartland of America; the Midwest. Known for its picturesque lakes and rivers, the Midwest offers a tranquil retreat for anglers. Whether you’re casting a line into a serene lake or navigating the currents of a mighty river, the region promises a unique blend of leisure and excitement.

6. Lake Michigan, Illinois: Salmon spectacular

Lake Michigan in Illinois is a spectacular spot for salmon fishing. The vast freshwater lake is chock full of a variety of fish, making it a smorgasbord for anglers. From spring to fall, the waters of Lake Michigan are alive with salmon, offering excellent opportunities for sport fishing. Fishing on Lake Michigan is an adventure you won’t want to miss. With the right gear and a bit of patience, you might just reel in a king salmon, coho salmon, or a steelhead trout. And with top fishing charters like Big Bird Charters offering guided trips, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience.

Western water wonders: From rainbow trout to rockfish

The West Coast is a wonderland for anglers, with miles of coastlines, lakes, and rivers. From the rainbow trout of Lake Tahoe to the rockfish of San Diego, the region offers a diverse range of fishing experiences.

7. San Diego, California: A Saltwater fishing symphony

Nestled on the Pacific coast, San Diego offers a range of fishing opportunities, including:

  • Freshwater fishing
  • Saltwater fishing
  • Bass fishing
  • Yellowtail fishing

Whether you’re looking to hook a bass or reel in a yellowtail, San Diego has you covered. With its year-round mild climate and abundance of fish, San Diego is a dream destination for any angler. Whether you’re looking for a thrilling deep-sea fishing adventure or a peaceful day of fly fishing on the lake, San Diego offers a fishing experience like no other. So grab your gear and get ready for an unforgettable fishing adventure in San Diego!

8. Columbia River Gorge, Oregon: Fly fishing fantasy

Let’s head north to the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon, a dream destination for fly fishing enthusiasts. With its beautiful scenery and excellent catch rates for salmon, the Columbia River Gorge offers a unique fishing experience.

The best times to go fly fishing in the Columbia River Gorge are May and October. With a variety of fishing techniques and a diverse range of fish species to catch, the Columbia River Gorge offers an exciting challenge for any angler.

Alaskan angling expeditions: Wild catches in the last frontier

For the once-in-a-lifetime angling adventure, let’s journey to the last frontier: Alaska. Known for its wild beauty and abundant fish, Alaska offers some of the best fishing experiences in the world.

Alaska promises fishing trips that offer an adventure like no other, including the chance to catch lake trout and other sport fish.

9. Kenai Peninsula, Alaska: King salmon kingdom

The Kenai Peninsula is Alaska’s king salmon kingdom. Known for its world-class salmon fishing, the Kenai Peninsula offers a thrilling challenge for any angler. From hooking a king salmon to the serene beauty of the Alaskan wilderness, a trip to the Kenai Peninsula offers both adventure and relaxation—an experience you won’t forget.

The Kenai Peninsula is not just about king salmon, though. You can also hook other exciting species like:

  • Sockeye salmon
  • Coho salmon
  • Rainbow trout
  • Dolly Varden

Summer is the best time of year for fishing in Alaska. The Kenai Sockeye run starts in early June, and mid-July is the peak season for giant Wild King Salmon on the Kenai and Kasilof rivers.

10. Kodiak Island, Alaska: Halibut hotspot

Known for its abundant halibut population, Kodiak Island offers a unique challenge for anglers. Whether you’re casting your line from the shore or venturing into deeper waters, Kodiak Island promises an unforgettable fishing adventure.

The best time to visit Kodiak Island for a halibut fishing adventure is during the months of June, July, and August. With the right gear and a bit of patience, you might just hook a massive halibut, making your Alaskan fishing adventure one for the record books.

Hawaiian fishing fantasies: Exotic escapes for anglers

Last but not least, let’s check out the tropical paradise of Hawaii. Known for its stunning beaches and vibrant marine life, Hawaii offers a unique blend of relaxation and adventure for anglers. Whether you’re casting a line from the sandy shores of Kailua-Kona or setting sail on the crystal-clear waters of Maui, Hawaii promises one of the best fishing vacations like no other.

11. Maui, Hawaii: Mahi-mahi mastery

Known for its diverse ecosystem and abundant fish, Maui offers a unique challenge for any angler. Whether you’re casting a line from the shore or venturing into deeper waters, Maui promises an unforgettable fishing adventure.

The best time to visit Maui for a Mahi-mahi fishing adventure is during the fall, winter, and spring months. With the right gear and a bit of patience, you might just hook a mahi-mahi, making your Hawaiian fishing adventure one for the record books.

Next steps

The U.S. is a paradise for anglers. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a novice, each region offers a unique fishing experience, promising fun, adventure, and, of course, the thrill of the catch.

As you’re loading up your tackle box, don’t forget to prepare for other aspects of your trip.

Whether you’re driving or flying to your next fishing destination, travel assistance from Emergency Assistance Plus® (EA+®) can ensure you’re protected throughout your trip (and the rest of year, too!). From medical evacuations to companion assistance to RV/vehicle return, an EA+ membership means you have a team of professionals with you 24/7 to handle travel-related medical emergencies that may arise.

Learn more on our website.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where to go fishing?

You should consider going fishing in Ketchikan, Alaska, San Diego, California, Key West, Florida, or Waikiki, Hawaii for some great fishing vacations! Dust off that old khaki fishing vest and get ready to cast away.

Where is the best fishing in the world (outside the U.S.)?

The best fishing spots in the world are the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Florida Keys in the USA, Alta River in Norway, Los Cabos in Mexico, Sekong River in Laos, Lake Taupo in New Zealand, and Ascension Bay in Mexico. Happy fishing!

When is the best time to go fishing in the U.S.?

The best time to go fishing in the U.S. is during spring and fall for most regions, but it ultimately depends on the specific region and the type of fish you’re targeting. Happy fishing!

Do I need a fishing license to fish in the U.S.?

Yes, in most cases, you will need a fishing license to fish in the U.S. It’s always a good idea to check local regulations as rules vary by state.

Can I go deep-sea fishing in the U.S.?

Yes, you can go deep-sea fishing in the U.S., with popular locations including Key West in Florida and San Diego in California. Enjoy your adventure!

A Knowledgeable Traveler is a Happy Traveler
A Knowledgeable Traveler is a Happy Traveler

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