You can go anywhere and probably catch a fish, but in these states, consistent good fishing is hard to find.
Summer vacation season is in full swing all across the country. When I was a kid, we normally took vacations to different states specifically to be known as good fishing hotspots. Thankfully, that’s a tradition that has continued on to this day.
While planning out this year’s fishing vacations, I couldn’t help but think about some of the states I’ve never made plans to fish. With that in mind, there’s a reason for it. Every state has a fishable population for some variety of species. However, these states have the least amount of good fishing available for one reason or another.
Let’s be honest. There just aren’t many people taking vacations to Illinois to fish. Even though fishing opportunities are abundant for panfish, bass, even some muskie, good fishing is not. Sure, you can luck into a big one here and there, but consistently finding fish that makes you call your taxidermist isn’t likely.
Oh Kansas. You have basketball and deer hunting. Just be happy about that. Otherwise, if somebody is going to Kansas to fish, they are looking to be disappointed. Reservoirs dot the landscape where other states have natural lakes. Shallow straight rivers cross the countryside where other places have scenic waterways out of the movies. Well, if you do fish Kansas, you might be able to at least see a tornado. I mean, that’s cool.
8. New Mexico
It was a struggle to put New Mexico on the list. I like New Mexico. However, never once has fishing New Mexico even crossed my mind. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever met somebody who willingly went to New Mexico to fish. One thing New Mexico does have is a decent trout population. It doesn’t compare to other American trout states, but it’s decent. Looking at a map though, why would you? Colorado is to the north and Texas is to the east. Just don’t go west. That takes us to our next state that just doesn’t offer that much good fishing.
Arizona is a desert and nothing lives there. Well, Apache trout and gila trout do, but considering such large vast areas of the land have such little water, you are better off looking elsewhere unless you are trying to cross those two species of trout off of your list. Arizona is so prone to drought, it’s just hard to head there to try to get good water. I’m sure you can do it, but is it worth it?
Quick, think of fishing in Kentucky. Did you come up with lake Barkley and Kentucky lake also? Yep, other than that, most of all the water is small and hard to get access. What water is there is large and has easy access, but overrun with boaters, other fisherman, and pressure. Cave Run has some good fishing, so does Cumberland, but that only brings our total up to four good waters. Here’s a hint, head south to Tennessee or east to the Virginias.
5. North Dakota
Look, I love North Dakota. Every time I hear about a fishing story coming from up there I get excited for them. I suppose if you love walleye, go there, but otherwise, there just isn’t much to offer. Lots of farmland and lack of water makes North Dakota fairly hard to fish. The reservoirs have a ton of pressure and fishing just isn’t as much of a past time as it is elsewhere. You can do better.
4. South Dakota
Well, you didn’t do to much better by going to South Dakota instead. The Missouri river flows through there and unless you are fishing that, you might die of thirst before you find any other fishable water with what most people would consider has good fishing. Yes, I know there are some hidden gems that offers opportunities you have to fish to believe, but if I have a week to burn, you can keep those spots to yourself.
Nevada has a lot of things going for it. It’s a beautiful desert. Las Vegas lives there. It’s close to California and right next door to Idaho, Oregon, and Utah. Otherwise, if you are going to Nevada to fish, it’s probably because you lost all your money gambling and now to live off the land to survive. With all that being said, Pyramid lake is the home to some of the biggest cutthroat trout this world has ever seen. So, go there, but leave the good fishing to other states.
The number two spot is being held down easily by O-H-I-O. Ohio has a pretty dense population. A lot of fishing can be found up there by the Erie as well. However, take that away and you aren’t left with much that isn’t crowded and overfished. Wait, wait, what about the runs of fish that populate the northern part of the state? What about Lake Erie? Yes. People do vacation there, but if you love combat fishing and party boating with the tourists, that’s all sorts of your jam.
Indiana brings tourists into the state all year for sports events, concerts, conventions, and a bevy of other activities. Trust me, I live in Indiana and it’s a pretty awesome place to live. Well, unless you want to find good fishing. Indiana has a fairly lousy stocking program when it comes to taking care of its fishery. They do what they can, but public waterways are covered in boaters and unless it’s morning or evening, good luck. Private property is everywhere, and unless you fish next to everybody else at a public access point, it’s combat style everywhere you go. When you talk to somebody from Indiana about their best fishing of the year, they’ll tell you a story of how they got the heck out of there and went somewhere else.