The idea that some places are worth preserving, worth setting aside from development, came about early in American history. The foresight of American conservationists eventually resulted in our system of National Parks, and what wonderful things they are. Across the country, Americans have the opportunity to leave the bustle of the city and edge close to true wilderness. They also have the opportunity to do some great fishing while they’re there. Fishing in a National Park is something every angler should try at least once. Here’s a rundown of 10 of the best National Parks to take off your bucket list.

1. Yellowstone National Park

This is the first National Park and the one you must see. You can hit Yellowstone Lake, the Yellowstone River, or any of the hundreds of other bodies of water within the park. Keep in mind that there are about forty pages of regulations to observe before casting your line, and make sure to get the proper licenses. Yellowstone has great trout fishing, but you’ve got to throw them back in most places.

2. Glacier National Park

gray rock mountain

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This astonishing park actually straddles two countries, the US and Canada. The good news here is that you don’t need a license to fish in the park, but you will need to keep several regulations in mind. Fishing is regulated in different parts of Glacier by Americans, Canadians, and the Blackfeet Nation in some spots. It can be a tricky business, so make yourself aware of the catch and possession limits along with everything else before you get started. Once you get past the bureaucracy, trout fishing is great.

3. Yosemite National Park

Sunrise on Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California

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The great thing about Yosemite, aside from the views, is that you only require a California State fishing license to get your line wet. There are plenty of crappies and almost every variety of trout in Yosemite. In places like the Merced River and Lake McClure, you can even keep them and fry them up for dinner, within catch limits, of course.

4. Denali National Park

Yeah, it’s probably not too close to home, but it’s well worth the trip. This park is a million plus miles of nothing, and every inch is great. Fish for slimy sculpin in Eldorado Creek, or hit Wonder Lake for trout. An Alaskan sports fishing license is required in the park, except for the area covering former Mount McKinley National Park. More so, the catch limit is 10 fish just about everywhere. Just keep a wary eye out for the bears. They like fish, too.

5. Zion National Park

aerial photography of body of water between trees during daytime

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The Virgin River running through Zion is one of the most crazy beautiful rivers on earth, and you can fish it anytime you like, reasonably. The Virgin River contains six native species of fish. Some like the Virgin River Spinedace aren’t found anywhere else. Naturally, you have to throw those back if you get one. Buy a Utah fishing license and have at it.

6. Grand Canyon National Park

If you’re looking for somewhere scenic to fish, the Grand Canyon is hard to beat. You can fish almost anywhere in the park with little more than a casting reel and an Arizona License. Keeping the fish for dinner is allowed with most species and even encouraged with species, like northern pike, that they’re trying to eradicate. Have fun and don’t forget the catfish.

7. Grand Teton National Park

In Grand Teton, you’ll need a Wyoming State License, and the rest of the regulations are relatively easy to keep track of. This is your place for high-elevation fly-fishing at places like Lake Solitude and a variety of other aptly named water bodies. Just make sure winter isn’t on the way. It snows fast up that high, and you would rather not get stuck hibernating.

8. Rocky Mountain National Park

South Dakota yucca

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You can pull cutthroat trout out of both the Colorado River and the Yellowstone River in this Park. You’ll need a Colorado State license, a fly rod, and a set of waders that can’t hurt. Be careful messing around in the Yellowstone. The river rises and falls quickly, and the rattlesnakes are worth looking out for, too.

9. The Black Hills National Forest

Although designated a National Forest, this one can’t be missed.  Moreover, this is where ice fishing is encouraged if you’re tough enough for it. It’s also one of the few government-operated parks that have fishing advice, updated frequently, on their website. They’re serious about their fishing in South Dakota, whether it’s summer or the dead of winter.

10. Everglades National Park

Like everywhere in Florida, the fishing is great in the Everglades. Anglers have caught species such as bass, snapper, bluegill, sea trout, and redfish to name a few. This park offers both freshwater and saltwater fishing if you purchase the two Florida State licenses required. You’ll want to make yourself aware of changing regulations before you start. There are occasional mercury warnings that may make you think twice about having the fish for dinner.

Why Pick the National Parks?

Regardless of which of our National Parks you choose to spend your time in, it’s important to remember that the Parks belong to everybody. Furthermore, there are 63 National Parks found throughout the US; including American Samoa and the US Virgin Islands. They cover a wide array of diverse ecosystems from mountains, rivers, coastlines, and forests. There is one thing that these parks all have in common, and it’s the sole purpose of preserving habitats and their wildlife for generations to come.