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Fishing holds a special place in the hearts of most Americans. Nothing is better than getting out on the bank or boat and fishing your worries away. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that you get to stock your freezer with great (and delicious) fish. But over time, tried and true fishing holes can become tiresome. Where else can you go? National parks, of course! Whether you’re a fly fisherman in search of a trophy trout or more of a bass man looking for a massive largemouth, here’s a list of our favorite national parks for fishing.
Yellowstone National Park - Wyoming, Montana, Idaho
Yellowstone is home to several large lakes, dozens of smaller lakes and numerous rivers and streams, including the Yellowstone and Madison Rivers. Fly fishing is the most popular type here, and cutthroat trout are routinely on the menu. If you’re willing to go off trail, you’ll find isolated, quiet fishing spots with trophy trout. Since Yellowstone is a wildlife haven, you’ll want to watch out for bears and other predatory animals, but you can always hire a fishing guide if you are worried about encountering a grizzly.
Everglades National Park - Florida
This national park is home to one of the most diverse ecosystems in North America. With both saltwater and freshwater fishing, you can find everything from largemouth and peacock bass to redfish and sea trout. Taking your rods and reels offshore will allow you to bring in large tarpon from the deep waters. Just watch out for the gators!
Acadia National Park - Maine
Home to both fresh and saltwater, Acadia National Park appeals to all types of fisherman. In the lakes, you can find small and largemouth bass as well as salmon and trout, especially in the summer months. As for the saltwater fish, you can hook striped bass, mackerel and bluefish in the coastal waters. Fishing might not be easy on the ragged shoreline of Maine, but the result is well worth the struggle.
Padre Island National Seashore - Texas
While technically not a national park, this national seashore offers a unique fishing experience. Located in Texas and bordering Mexico, you’ll find an array of different saltwater fish. You can choose to fish from the shore, the docks or even venture out into the ocean. From trout, redfish and flounder to marlin, sailfish and tuna, get ready to stock your freezer to the brim with delicious fish.
Voyageurs National Park - Minnesota
Voyageurs National Park houses four large lakes, including Rainy Lake, which has 900 miles of shoreline, perfect for small and largemouth bass fishing from your beloved bass boat or canoe. These lakes also have plenty of pike, walleyes, perch, bluegills and muskies. Think winter is an off season? Think again! Ice fishing is popular when the lakes freeze over. (Just remember to be as safe as possible when fishing on ice.)
Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Tennessee and North Carolina
While Yellowstone might be known for its fly fishing, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a fantastic fly fishing experience. Scour the coldwater streams and rivers in search of trout. If you aren’t into trout, you can also find plenty of smallmouth bass in these waters. With the stunning backdrop of the mountains, you are sure to have the ultimate fishing experience in this national park. Try going just off trail to find the best and quietest fishing locations.
Now that you know about all of the best national parks for fishing, what are you waiting for? Grab your fishing gear, your favorite Carhartt shirt and some snacks and hit the road! We’ll keep our eyes open for you.