To celebrate the start of the season, we asked you to suggest your favorite spring fishing spots. There were a lot of awesome responses, and we chose what we think are the 10 best spots in the country. Each one is unique, but they all offer world-class angling. On top of that, they have beautiful scenery and plenty to keep you busy off the water, too.
Where better start than Florida? The Sunshine State has some of the best fishing in the world, and Fort Myers Beach is a classic example of this. It all kicks off with Cobia, who cruise up the coast from late March, offering exciting angling and a delicious feast to anyone who hooks one. Speckled Trout are hot on their tails, followed by Permit to keep the bite strong well into summer.
Then there’s Fort Myers’s trump card: Tarpon. The shallows around Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel are home to one of the largest Tarpon migrations in the world. Thousands of fish roll along the beach fronts each spring on their way to the Boca Grande Pass. They’re usually followed by an army of anglers, looking to take on the mighty “Silver King” in the heart of his kingdom.
The fishing here is outstanding, but it’s far from the only thing to do. The area holds festivals celebrating everything from film and music to unicorns and mermaids in spring. You can enjoy delicious food at local eateries and pop-up events. Want to escape it all? Walk for miles along soft sandy beaches or take to the water to explore local wildlife preserves. There’s something for everyone.
You only have to look at Lake Tahoe to fall in love with it. With its crystal-clear waters, rugged rocky shores, and stunning alpine scenery, the lake is truly magical all year round. It’s most special in spring, when the surrounding mountains are still white with snow and the wildflowers start poking up in the meadows.
There’s another reason to visit this time of year: Trout. Tahoe is famous for its monster Mackinaw Trout, which put up a great fight all the way up to summer. They’re joined in March and April by Rainbow and Brown Trout for even more fun. And that’s just the lake itself. The surrounding rivers hold Lahontan Cutthroat Trout, not to mention the rare Cui-Cui fish in nearby Pyramid Lake.
Once you’re done fishing, you can start enjoying everything else the area has to offer. Lake Tahoe is surrounded by walking and hiking trails, ranging from short strolls to multi-day marathons. You can ski in the morning and kayak in the afternoon, or just spend the entire day basking in the lake’s incredible scenery. And if all that’s still not enough, the bright lights of Reno are just up the road.
Black Hills, SD
In many ways, South Dakota is the perfect destination for an angling adventure. The state is home to a wide mix of fisheries, from large lakes to tiny streams, not to mention the mighty Missouri River. To make things even better, 98% of the state’s waters are accessible and open for fishing. With so much water to choose from, it’s tough to hone in on any one spot.
That is, until you see what’s waiting for you in the Black Hills. These ragged rocks hide some of the nation’s top small stream fly fishing. Take on Trout in small mountain streams or hit the open waters of Lake Pactola to reel in Pike, Walleye, Lake Trout, Bass, and more. Visit in late May, and you can enjoy all of this license-free on South Dakota’s Free Fishing Weekend.
The Black Hills hold an amazing mix of fish, but that’s not all they’re hiding. The area is also packed full of national parks, monuments, and caves. Thrill-seekers can dive into Lake Pactola to see the ghost town lurking at the bottom. Kids will love the dinosaur park in nearby Rapid City. Then there’s the hiking, camping, pony treks – we could go on all day!