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November 11 marks the day when we honor those who served. This year, Veterans Day falls on a Friday, giving you the opportunity to turn the holiday into a weekend getaway. And what better way to spend it, than to get out on the water and do some fishing?
Even though it’s getting cold in most parts of the nation, you can bet that plenty of fish will still be biting. In this article, we’ll present you with some of the top fishing destinations for Veterans Day weekend 2022. From freshwater lakes and rivers overflowing with Trout to different saltwater hotspots – we’ll mention a bit of each and hopefully inspire you to spend the holiday angling.
South Padre Island, TX
We’ll start our Veterans Day tour with a visit to one of the most beautiful destinations on the Lone Star coast – South Padre Island. Known for its striking azure waters and white sand beaches, it’s the perfect place for some hard-earned rest and recreation.
Besides its natural beauty, South Padre Island also boasts fantastic fisheries. Yes, plural! The calm waters of the Lower Laguna Madre are lauded as some of the most prolific inshore angling grounds across the US. If you fish them on Veterans Day, you’ll get to reel in species such as Redfish, Black Drum, big Speckled Trout, and Sheepshead. As a special treat, the waters surrounding SPI are also the only place in Texas where you can find Snook!
For an even bigger challenge, there’s also the option of hopping on a local charter boat and heading offshore. As long as the weather serves you, there’ll be plenty of different fish you can catch in the deep waters. These include bottom fish such as Grouper, Tilefish, Amberjack, and Snapper, as well as pelagics such as Tuna, Wahoo, and Marlin. When you’ve fished your heart out, all that’s left is to visit one of SPI’s catch-and-cook restaurants and have your fresh fish made into a delicious dinner.
Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, AL
Moving east along the Gulf Coast, we reach sunny Alabama. On its seaboard, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach serve as the state’s main saltwater fishing hubs. Besides angling, they offer plenty of activities, restaurants, and attractions such as the Ferris Wheel at the Wharf. When you’ve checked those out and you’re ready to fish, you’ll have your pick between excellent inshore action and world-class reef fishing.
What makes Alabama such a great Veterans Day fishing destination is that the holiday falls smack-dab in the middle of Bull Redfish season. Beginning in November, you’ll see these oversized fish make their way into the shallow waters and back bays. Along with them, you’ll often run across Pompano, Speckled Trout, Flounder, and delicious Sheepshead.
As Orange Beach and Gulf Shores are only about 10 minutes away from each other, you’ll get to explore the inshore waters no matter which one you depart from. However, both are also great starting points if you want to go offshore. In the deeper waters, you’ll get to target various reef fish, including Triggerfish and Grouper. And if you go far enough, you can add Yellowfin Tuna, Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, and other pelagic creatures to the list.
The next destination on our list is one of the hottest fall fisheries in Florida – Steinhatchee. It’s located on Florida’s Big Bend, a part of the coast that features numerous salt marshes, brackish rivers, and grass flats for fish to hide in. With mild weather and fewer crowds this time of year, it’s the perfect place to spend Veterans Day weekend.
So why is fall fishing in Steinhatchee so good? Well, besides the abundance of places for sea life to thrive, the main reason is that fish tend to move to shallow waters as the temperatures drop. This means you’ll see the likes of Redfish, Gator Trout, Spanish Mackerel, and Bluefish gather on the flats, setting topwater fishing on fire.
Of course, the lineup of fish you can catch only grows longer as you move offshore. In the fall, Grouper fishing tends to pick up, along with Black Seabass and other reef dwellers. Often enough, you’ll even see Kingfish bite, prompting an adrenaline-fueled battle. All in all, you can’t go wrong in Steinhatchee.
Tybee Island, GA
Our final saltwater entry on this year’s list of top Veterans Day fishing destinations is Tybee Island. Located in the very south of the state, just east of Savannah, the island is famous for its beautiful white beaches and pristine nature. Its scenery is a sight for sore eyes, ideal for sightseeing as much as it is for angling.
During the fall months, fishing the waters surrounding Tybee Island will give you the chance to catch an inshore grand slam – Redfish, Flounder, and Speckled Trout. As the waters cool down, you’ll see these fish swim inland, moving along the passes and congregating on the flats. Starting in November, the Sheepshead bite also tends to pick up, especially around different inshore structure.
There’s one other thing you should note – Tybee Island is the easternmost point in Georgia. This means you’ll have access to the offshore fishing grounds. That means you can fish the reefs or troll for pelagics. Out in the deep, you’ll target bottom fish such as Black Seabass, Triggerfish, Grouper, and Snapper, as well as the occasional Mahi Mahi and King Mackerel. When you’ve reeled in your share of fish, you can visit Fort Pulaski and brush up on your military history.
Dale Hollow Lake, TN
As we move on to freshwater fishing, there’s hardly a better destination to continue our Veterans Day list than with the lake holding the world Smallmouth Bass record – Dale Hollow Lake. The record fish was caught back in 1955 but the lake remains a world-class fishery to this day. It also features some of the clearest waters in Tennessee and a breathtaking, unobstructed view of the surrounding foliage.
The great part about visiting Dale Hollow Lake on Veterans Day is that the holiday falls right around the beginning of the peak Bass fishing season. As the water temperatures drop below 60°F, you’ll get to target these fish around the lake’s many points, ledges, and humps – and hopefully you’ll reel in a big one.
Of course, Smallmouth Bass are not the only fish swimming about. There are also Largemouth Bass, Crappie, Bluegill, and even the elusive Muskellunge. Around the lake, you’ll find marinas and resorts offering accommodation, as well as family-owned restaurants you can visit. So if you’re looking to get back to basics and enjoy a simpler life coupled with outstanding fishing, Dale Hollow Lake is the place for you.
Lake Anna, VA
Situated about an hour north of Richmond, Lake Anna hosts its own yearly Veterans Day fishing tournament. So for anglers with a competitive spirit, taking part could be a great way to spend the holiday fishing while possibly winning a prize. You’ll also contribute to bettering veteran lives, as $5 from each entry will be donated to the Big Fish Foundation, while another $5 will be sent to the winner’s veteran charity of choice.
When it comes to the fishing itself, Lake Anna is mostly famous for its Bass action. Largemouth and Striped Bass inhabit the lake, as well as “Wipers“, White and Striped Bass hybrids. November is a great time to target all three as they’re trying to fatten up for the oncoming winter. You’ll find Largemouth Bass lurking in the shallow parts of the lake. You can also keep a lookout for birds which will often position above schooling Stripers and Wipers.
Besides Bass, you’ll also see Black Crappie, Bluegill, and a few other species swimming in the lake. Crappie fishing can be a little challenging during fall, as they’ll often hide deep underneath the docks. However, if you can get the bait to them, they’ll bite and you’ll have some delicious Panfish for dinner.
Candlewood Lake, CT
As Connecticut’s largest lake, Candlewood Lake is without a doubt one of the state’s most important freshwater fisheries. It also features beautiful forest scenery and several sandy beaches you can explore. With the leaves changing colors, fall is a particularly good time to visit this stunning lake.
Of course, the fishing is great as well. Candlewood Lake is known for its top-notch Bass fishing. It’s consistently ranked high by Bassmaster, even reaching the top 20 on their list of the best fishing lakes of the decade. You’ll find both Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass around the various lumps, ledges, milfoil, and points in the lake.
Aside from Bass, there are several other interesting species you can chase after in these waters. The lake is home to Rainbow and Brown Trout, as well as Walleye, Crappie, Sunfish, and Perch. If you’re visiting on Veterans Day weekend, it’s safe to say you’ll have plenty of fish to try and catch.
Niagara River, NY
Flowing north from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, the Niagara River serves as a pathway for some of the most prized freshwater fish out there. It’s also famous for its natural beauty, including the spectacular Niagara Falls in the middle portion of the river.
The Niagara River is a year-round fishery with a rotating cast of freshwater superstars. Fish it during November and you’ll be in for an absolute treat, as Steelhead will be racing through its waters. These chrome torpedoes are some of the best fighting fish you can come across, capable of fast runs, sharp turns, and acrobatic jumps.
In the Lower Niagara River, you might still see Coho and Chinook Salmon if they haven’t completed their fall migration. Brown Trout are present at either end of the river, and there are Muskellunge in its upper portion. All in all, there’ll be something to go after whether you start your trip from Buffalo, Lewiston, or anywhere in between.
Boise River, ID
If there’s something Idaho anglers love to take pride in, it’s the state’s fall Trout run. And how could they not? Expect epic action in Idaho’s waters after the dog days of summer pass. There are many rivers throughout the state that you can fish. This time around, though, we’ll shine a light on the Boise River, which runs through Idaho’s state capital.
The Boise River is a 102-mile-long tributary of the Snake River, providing anglers with countless places to fish it. However, the part that’s typically the most attractive to fly fishermen is the river’s south fork. It flows from the Sawtooth Mountain Range down to Arrowrock Reservoir. There, it rejoins the other two forks and continues westwards towards Boise.
The south fork of the Boise River is home to several exciting species, including Rainbow Trout, Bull Trout, and Whitefish. Throughout the other portions of the Boise River, you’ll often catch Brown Trout, as well as Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass. So don’t sleep on Idaho!
Lake Mead, AZ/NV
As we near the end of our list of top Veterans Day fishing destinations for 2022, let’s pay homage to Lake Mead, situated on the Arizona-Nevada border. Why Lake Mead, you ask? It’s because some of the best fishing on it takes place right around this holiday.
November is one of the best months to go after the most prized fish on the lake – Striped Bass. These fish can reach weights of 40 pounds in the lake, gifting anglers with fights to remember. You’ll often find them in fairly shallow waters at this time of year, ready to pounce on your bait.
In addition to Stripers, you’ll have the opportunity to catch plenty of good-sized Crappie on Lake Mead. These delicious Panfish are always a welcome addition to the cooler, and they’re also super fun to catch. They’ll be lurking in waters 10–20 feet deep, similarly to where you’ll find Stripers. Around the lake, you’ll also find many trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Also, Las Vegas is only half an hour west!
Lake Siskiyou, CA
We end our Veterans Day fishing tour with a destination situated up in Northern California – Lake Siskiyou. The lake’s clear waters and the surrounding forests are a sight to behold, becoming even more beautiful in the fall. But what makes the lake truly picturesque is the view of Mount Shasta in the distance.
Of course, like the rest of the entries on our list, Lake Siskiyou is definitely worth fishing on. The lake is stocked with Rainbow and Brown Trout but there are also Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass prowling about. In November, Bass will be settled into their fall patterns. If you’ve followed the article so far, you’ll know that this means they’ll be hiding in shallow waters.
Lake Siskiyou lies on the Sacramento River and is impounded by the Box Canyon Dam, located on its eastern shores. But what’s more important is that the section of the Sacramento River that flows from the dam downstream to Shasta Lake is considered one of California’s premier wild Trout streams. Meanwhile, if you head to West Siskiyou, you can fish the Klamath River and catch Salmon and Steelhead.
Veterans Day: A Holiday to Spend Fishing
And before you know it, we’ve come to the end of the article and our list of top fishing destinations for Veterans Day 2022. We’re completely aware that these are just a few of the many fantastic places to fish. However, we hope our choices serve to inspire you as you get ready for the holiday. After all, it’s never a bad idea to spend some time in nature – and it’s even better if you do so with your loved ones.
Have you already made plans to fish on Veterans Day? Where would you like to go the most? Hit the comment button below and let us know!
This article originally appeared here and was republished with permission.