The most awesome fly fishing in America may come from unlikely places.
A report released by TakeMeFishing.org in 2013 said that the number of Americans participating in fly fishing between 2011 and 2012 grew from 5.7 million to 6 million.
Of those fly fishermen, approximately 20 percent were casting a line for the first time.
While the growth in fly fishing is excellent for the sport, it could mean that your favorite creeks and streams may be getting a little crowded in the future. So what better time than now to try somewhere new?
View the slideshow to see some of the greatest fly fishing states that most people wouldn’t think of.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, this state boasts 84,000 river miles and 15,000 lakes. In many of those waterways, you’ll be able to find wild brook and brown as well as a few rainbow trout. If you’re looking for steelhead or salmon, we suggest heading to the tributaries of the Great Lakes.
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(Note: The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources requires individuals born on or after Jan. 1, 1989 to obtain a Wisconsin boating safety certificate to operate a motorboat or personal watercraft.)
Virginia is crisscrossed with tens of thousands of miles of rivers, so it’s not surprising that it is home to some of the best fly fishing waters in the country.
Several of the state’s resorts, including the popular Omni Homestead Resort and the Wintergreen Resort, offer fly fishing clinics as well as guided tours to area hot spots. In addition, this state holds the Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival in Waynesboro each April. According to Virginia.org, this is the largest fly fishing festival in the country.
(Note: Virginia boating laws require individuals 45 years of age or younger to complete a boating safety course to operate a personal watercraft.)
While many people think trout and freshwater streams when they think of fly fishing, Florida offers a different type of experience. Here, fly fishermen typically hit the flats to go after saltwater species such as the wary tarpon and bonefish. In the winter, FloridaSportsman.com recommends that you try sight casting for redfish, which are more tolerant of chilly waters than other fish species.
(Note: If you were born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, you are required to complete a NASBLA-approved course and have a Boater Education I.D. Card to operate a watercraft powered by 10 horsepower or more.)
USA Today says that some of California’s best trout fishing streams are located in the mountains of the north-central region. Shasta County, in particular, is home to a large number of streams and rivers that are well-known for their great fishing conditions.
The best parts of fishing in California? Some of its rivers, such as the Trinity and Hot Creek, boast sections that are set aside for fly fishing only.
Due to its very short summer season, you may have to hurry to experience the prime Alaskan fly fishing conditions but the rush is worth some of the most amazing fishing in the United States. This state is blessed with a plethora of fish species, including salmon, rainbow trout and steelhead. Of course, you just might have to share your fishing spot with a bear or two.
(Note: Although the states of Alaska and California do not require boating certifications, there are still benefits to completing a safety course, such as added operational skills and possible lower insurance rates.)