fly fishing

5 Great U.S. Fly Fishing Destinations

Zach LazzariMay 10, 2021

The United States has some of the most productive and exciting fly fishing destinations in the world. Learn about the best trips and biggest fish in the country. 

Some of the world’s best fly fishing is located within the borders of the United States. There’s trout and steelhead out West, Salmon in Alaska, tarpon and bass in Florida, and muskie and pike in the Midwest: the country definitely has some exciting fishing opportunities. And when you consider the abundance of public lands and access, you can easily spend a lifetime exploring the waters while fly fishing. Need help deciding where to go first? Here are some of the best fly-fishing spots across the U.S.

 

Dillon, Montana

Montana has no shortage of great trout rivers, but Dillon, in particular, is an incredible location. It has the Beaverhead and Big Hole Rivers as the home waters, while the Jefferson and Ruby Rivers make for easy day trips. Spring, summer, and fall all offer excellent opportunities to chase big brown and rainbow trout on several famous fisheries. Stop by the Frontier Anglers Fly Shop for the latest reports and flies that are producing the notoriously selective trout on the Beaverhead River. Montana also has great hiking and plenty of other adventures to enjoy outdoors.

bend, Oregon

Bend, Oregon

Bend is the land of opportunity for fly anglers craving variety. You can chase trout in the local rivers and reservoirs or head to the Deschutes for steelhead. And don’t miss the Metolius and Fall River, too. Plus, the vibrant town makes for an ideal basecamp.

florida keys

Florida Keys, Florida

This classic tropical saltwater destination never disappoints. Tarpon are the big attraction for anglers visiting the Keys, but you will also find big bonefish, permit, barracuda, and more. Key West is the main hub for lodging and launching a trip here. You can do the Florida Keys without a guide by walking flats and kayaking, but the offshore fishery here does not reveal its secrets easily. Hiring a skiff captain is a good move for visiting anglers who want to discover the best areas to target while visiting. When you’re ready to hang up your rod, the Florida Keys have plenty of other activities to enjoy as well, from distilleries to historic sites, making it a great all around destination.

rainbow trout

Bristol Bay, Alaska

True adventure awaits in Bristol Bay, home of the country’s largest salmon runs. Rivers like the Nushagak and Kvichak are all loaded with salmon—and the monster rainbow trout that feed on their eggs. Throw in the endless lakes with char, pike, and lake trout, and you can see why anglers travel from around the world to fish this wilderness paradise. Access is by plane or boat only, so utilizing a lodge like the Royal Wolf Lodge to plan your trip is the norm. Experienced wilderness explorers can DIY by chartering a plane to to drop you off with a raft and camp gear.

Redding, California

Redding, California

Northern California hosts some of the best and most diverse fishing found in the country. Coastal river systems see runs of steelhead and salmon, and rivers like the Sacramento tailwater are also world class trout fisheries. The Sacramento Delta has massive striped bass, and runs of shad give anglers an incredible under the radar option. Largemouth bass lakes dot the landscape—within an hour of Sacramento proper, you will find an amazing amount of productive water.

 

Ready to embark on your fly-fishing adventure? Organize your gear in packing cubes, toss them into a water-resistant bag, and head for the nearest river or lake!

Zach Lazzari

Zach Lazzari

Zach Lazzari is a freelance writer, fly fisherman, and explorer. He lives on the road full-time, chasing fish and wild places with his dog Shale. Follow his journey at bustedoarlock.com and @zachlazzari on Instagram.