Fly fishing is a graceful and traditional form of angling, practised by thousands of enthusiasts around the world, and the US boasts some of the premier locations. Check out 10 of the best fly-fishing hot spots around the US, starting with the Colorado River.
1. The Colorado River
The Colorado River is considered perhaps the best destination for rainbow trout anywhere in the world. These spunky, colorful fish can be caught nearly year- round in various reaches of the Colorado River, and especially in the stretch that runs between Glen Canyon Dam and the upper end of the Grand Canyon. Even though trout are the main calling card here in Colorado, some fly-fishers opt for the oversized carp that also lurk in the flat areas. Whatever species you target, you cant go wrong fishing the Colorado!
2. Gunpowder Falls, Maryland
The second fly-fishing hot spot in the U.S. is Gunpowder Falls, located in the state of Maryland. This is a hotspot for cold-water trout in the Southeast, where trout stocking programs have flourished here over the years. Maryland State and Trout Unlimited organization teamed up to release several strains of wild trout to mix with the native stock, to produce fabulous brown, brook and rainbow trout opportunities. Gunpowder Falls State Park is another hot spot to consider!
3. Driftless, Wisconsin
The Driftless region in Wisconsin is another fabulous fly fishing area with some superb brown trout streams. The counties in the southwest of Wisconsin produce fabulous catches of trout in streams galore. Rivers like the Wisconsin, Bad Axe and Kickapoo are all fabulous fly-fishing waters, especially the west fork of the Kickapoo which is considered a Class I trout stream.
4. Fremont Lakes State Park, Nebraska
Lake McConaughy in Nebraska is the largest lake in that state and is home to some of the best fly fishing available anywhere. Fremont Lakes State Park in Nebraska in particular, offers some excellent fly fishing opportunities. Many of the lakes in the park are managed for trout, and other species with regular stocking programs. Check out the public fishing sites when you arrive for good locations to fish.
5. Fishing Creek, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is known for its great trout fishing opportunities and most of the streams remain cool, even in the summertime. Fishing Creek, as it is called, to be a very popular fly fishing area in the specific five-mile stretch called the Narrows, where wild trout are pulled out on a regular basis. Known for its world-class brown trout angling opportunities, Fishing Creek offers a little something for everyone. Be sure to study the map indicating the various fishing access points.
6. Laguna Madre, Texas
Laguna Madre in Texas is another area loaded with excellent fly fishing opportunities in addition to the Southern Texas Coast, which has some great saltwater opportunities and some flats near Padre Island, that house a plethora of fish species just lying in wait. Known for its wonderful offshore fishing, Laguna Madre is an anglers paradise with copious fishing charters available offering fly-fishermen the chance to catch such species as snook, redfish, flounder and even seatrout.
7. Yellowstone National Park & Grand Teton
Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton, in Wyoming, though they play host to millions of visitors each year, the quality of trout fishing here is still second to none. Yellowstone includes several stocked streams with good populations of trout, while the native streams like Slough Creek offer trophy-sized trout angling and the nearby streams. Prime locations in Grand Teton include Lewis lake and world-famous Jackson Hole, which boasts incredible fly-fishing opportunities in one of the most picturesque places in the world.
8. Madison River, Montana
Known as perhaps the best trout fishing river in the world, especially for fly-fishing, the Madison River certainly lives up to its reputation! Often referred to as the ’50 Mile Riffle’ the Madison is a fly-fishers paradise with world-class catches of rainbow and brown trout. Focus on areas below Quake Lake around Bear Trap Canon for the best fishing with the least amount of pressure. Be sure to stock up at the Madison River Fishing Company shop, before you head out fishing. They specialize in wide range of fly-fishing gear and apparel to give anglers that edge on the Mighty Madison.
9. Sitka, Alaska
The State of Alaska is renown for its world-class fly-fishing, with some of the best salmon opportunities in the world. It is a place where the rivers run cold and thick with spawning Pacific salmon and terrain so rugged that only experienced sportsmen would dare go. Sitka is perhaps the most popular salmon area in all of Alaska. Migrating fish tend to linger in Sitka, offering fly fishers a good chance at hooking one of these magnificent fish. Sitka is known for having a higher angling success rate than other areas of the state and is therefore a fishing hotspot. For sheer size, the Kenai River has some of the largest king salmon around, weighing upward of 100 pounds! Kodiak island is also said to offer the best roadside salmon fishing in the state, with many rivers easily accessible by car. On top of the world-class salmon fishing opportunities in Alaska, there is fantastic lake trout, brook trout and Dolly Varden fishing in Sitka as well
10. Adirondack Mountains, New York
The Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York are described as the Rocky Mountains of the U.S.A. east of the Mississippi River. Besides the scenic beauty creating a top destination for tourism in North America, the Adirondacks are known for clear lakes, cold mountain streams and some of the best fly-fishing on the continent. There are a myriad of native trout and salmon rivers and lakes found within the Adirondack region, offering superb fly-fishing opportunities. These range from the mountain lakes and streams in and around Lake Placid, Saranac Lake and Malone to the north, down to the larger bodies of water such as Lake George in the more Southern areas of the park. Adirondacks are best known for its trout fishing opportunities, where anglers come from all around to fish the famous Ausable River for brown and rainbow trout, as well as the for spring and fall runs of landlocked salmon.
For the avid fly fisher, the United States boasts dozens of other fabulous destinations not mentioned here, many of which are kept under somebody’s hat as many old school anglers keep their secret spots to themselves. For now, focus on these 10 spots as a great starting point. Tight lines and I will see on the water! If you enjoy trout fishing, check out my other feature on late season brook trout!