The most significant aspect of being an angler is the rugged access to untouched nature. There’s something strangely tranquil when you find your little slice of paradise along a river bank. Further, knowing that the only beings that have graced the river’s edge are wildlife looking for a meal. The only clue of their existence is the footprints left behind.

There are many rivers throughout the United States which have their features from cascades, mountains, and rocky outcrops. More so, the awe-worthy attributes further note the healthy, lively, and producing fisheries of these rivers. Here’s our list of the most beautiful fishing rivers.


1. Kenai River

The Kenai River is a world-renown for its trout and salmon hatchery. It’s found in the Kenai Peninsula, which is home to cities such as Homer, Seward, and Soldotna. That being said, the Kenai River is a living portrait with rocky outcrops and pine-lined riverbeds. It’s a popular destination for observing wildlife and snapping photos. Additionally, it’s a fly-fishing favorite for dolly varden and salmon species like coho, pink, sockeye, and Chinook, which draws many to its waters.

2. Columbia River

The largest river in the Pacific Northwest, the Columbia River runs a distance of 1,243 miles and is a tributary of the Snake River. Commencing in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, the river travels through Washington and Oregon before exiting into the Pacific Ocean. Its beauty is unfounded with water that shimmers an ethereal blue and a tall pine tree that dots the bank. That being said, it contains some species of salmon including Chinook, coho, and sockeye. As well as rainbow trout are the most sought after.

3. The Rio Grande

Free photos of Rio grande river

Image Credit: 12019 via Pixabay

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, especially when it comes to the Rio Grande. Although it is not surrounded by oceans, portrait-worthy foliage, or snow-capped mountains, it does showcase a very awe-worthy National Park. The Rio Grande is 1,896 miles long, starting in Colorado, passing through New Mexico and Texas, before ending in the Gulf of Mexico. As such, the Rio Grande is the focal point of Big Bend National Park. A natural treasure that draws thousands to Santa Elena Canyon. This canyon can be enjoyed by hiking, backpacking, canoeing, portaging, and camping under the 1500-foot tall canyon walls that dwarf you.

On the other hand, regardless of where you consider traveling on the Rio Grande, be sure to pack your fly-fishing gear. Anglers have reported landing brown trout, rainbow trout, or salmon as a possibility. Here’s a tip, try to mimic a stonefly that is abundant along the banks of the Rio Grande.

4. Colorado River

The Colorado River is a significant waterway found in the US and Mexico. At 1,450 miles long, it passes through seven states and two Mexican provinces. It commences in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, passing through the Grand Canyon, and Lake Mead. Its final destination is the Gulf of California, where it empties. In addition to fishing, it’s a favorite for whitewater recreation. However, it passes through 11 National Parks and contains a famously photographed canyon. Located in Arizona, the Glen Canyon Recreation Area houses the famous Horseshoe Bend. A United States icon, photographed for its unique sandstone riverbed in the shape of a horseshoe, is an example of the force of the Colorado River.

On the other hand, the Colorado River can also be called a primer fly-fishing river. Anglers have been successful with landing brown trout, cutthroat trout, brown trout, and rainbow trout. Hence, a local tip is to use nymphs or streamers if you want to land the big one. Although, there are several restrictions on lures and limits that vary from state and specified stretches of the river.

5. Hanalei River

green trees near mountain under cloudy sky during daytime

Image Credit: Zane Persaud via Unsplash

Located on the beautiful Hawaiian Island of Kauai, the Hanalei River is a showcase of Hawaii’s landscape. Known for fishing crustaceans, gobies, snails, and other migratory species, this river is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. Under the right conditions, anglers can get lucky and snag a dolphinfish, black snapper, or largemouth bass. Otherwise, if fishing is a bust, try paddling down this pristine waterway. Further, ogling at the brightly colored flora of the National Wildlife Preserve of Hanalei. Conclude your trip at the mouth of the Hanalei River, where it meets the iconic beach of Hanalei Bay. Or try your luck with species that dare to swim upstream.

6. Snake River

A depiction of a tranquil waterway lost among the Rocky Mountains, the Snake River is another river in the Pacific Northwest. Nonetheless, it flows 1,078 miles starting in Wyoming, through Idaho and Oregon. The river’s end can be found near eastern Washington state at the confluence of the Colorado River. More so, it’s a living canvas worthy of a painting. Along the river are lush valleys, jagged mountains skylines, and wildflower-encrusted plains, which act as a natural showcase. Snake River is frequently in photography for Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park.

However, it’s also known as one of the best trout fishing rivers found in the United States. Anglers have struck it big with dry flies, thus snagging up species like brown trout, cutthroat trout, and rainbow trout. Aside from that, it is a little-known fact the cutthroat trout are native to this area.

7. Merced River

green trees beside river under blue sky during daytime

Image Credit: Velloso via Unsplash

With swift banking curves and phenomenal rainbow trout and brown trout fishing, the Merced River is a renowned fishing river in California. More so, it’s a mere 145 miles long and features the Sierra Nevada and the best of the Yosemite National Park backcountry. Its baby blue water paired with a rocky backdrop makes it worthy of the centerfold of a calendar.

8. Big Horn River

Known as a mecca for brown trout, cutthroat trout, and rainbow trout fishing, Big Horn River was once designated for another reason. Nevertheless, it was named by a French fur trader for the abundance of Bighorn Sheep inhabiting its rocky cliffs. The Big Horn River runs 461 miles in the western United States, passing through Wyoming and Montana. As of today, it is a Premier Blue Ribbon-certified river. Yet, not for its stunning blue color, but some of the best fly-fishing found in Wyoming.

That’s Awash

The United States is fortunate to have several pristine waterways that leave you in awe. Whether it’s against the backdrop of mountains, valleys, plains, or deserts, there are too many beautiful rivers to possibly note. This list merely scratches the surface of all the beautiful rivers flowing in the United States. But you be the judge; go out and explore the most beautiful fishing rivers for yourself.