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8 Underrated Fishing States to Visit This Spring


When it comes to world-class fishing, these eight states offer more opportunities than one would believe.

When one thinks of great fishing states, places like California and Florida first come to mind. However, there are eight states that offer great, albeit different fishing opportunities for anglers to pursue. In no particular order, here are eight states with highly underrated fishing opportunities.


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Founded in 1607, the Commonwealth of Virginia is one of the oldest states in the country with a history grounded in fishing that traces back to the Jamestown settlement. Today, Virginia offers world-class fishing through its numerous lakes, streams, rivers, and the Atlantic Ocean. Whether it's seeking out flounder in the Eastern Shore, deep-sea fishing for tuna in Virginia Beach, trout fishing throughout the state, or largemouth bass fishing in the Potomac River, the Old Dominion State will draw in anglers who crave action-packed fishing surrounded by rich history and beautiful landscapes.

To learn more about fishing in Virginia, check out the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

2. Washington


Known for its endless rain and world-famous coffee, Washington is an underrated hub for freshwater and saltwater fishing enthusiasts. With its proximity to Canada and location on the Pacific Ocean, this state has some amazing fish species to seek out like salmon, sturgeon, and halibut. The Columbia River, the largest river in the Pacific Northwest, is said to be a great fishing spot. Freshwater and saltwater anglers will appreciate the endless fishing opportunities in this naturally beautiful state.

To learn more about fishing in Washington, check out their Department of Fish and Wildlife.

3. Kentucky

Home to the Kentucky Derby and this year's NRA Annual Meetings, the Bluegrass State not only offers Hot Brown sandwiches and mint juleps, it also offers superb fishing for species like bass, giant catfish, muskie, trout, crappie, and white perch. It is often called the Muskie Capital of the South.

To learn more about fishing in Kentucky, check out the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

4. Georgia

Georgia will be on your mind for fishing, if it isn't already. The Peach State's nature is quite diverse, making the fishing experiences equally unique and different. Most anglers are familiar with Georgia lakes replete with bass, along with rainbow trout fishing in streams. While Georgia's coastline is small compared to the rest of the eastern seaboard, it offers plenty of opportunities to catch saltwater species like sea bass, cobia, bluefish, red snapper, amberjack, grouper, and even red drum.

To learn more about fishing in Georgia, check out the Department of Natural Resources.

The Old Line State is renowned for its seafood, particularly their crab cakes. What explains this? The state is situated on both the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, which also makes it hotbed for some action-packed fishing.  Places like Ocean City and Havre de Grace offer great sport fishing and largemouth bass fishing, respectively.

To learn about fishing in Maryland, check out the Department of Natural Resources.

6. South Carolina

South Carolina is a charming state rich in history, but also one rich in fishing. Whether it's fishing in Low Country or Upstate, the opportunities to seek out and catch desirable fish species are endless. It's said that Lake Murray and Lake Marion are the best spots for catching big freshwater fish, while Charleston and the surrounding coastal areas offer great sport fishing. Next time you find yourself in the Palmetto State, set aside time to wet some lines!

To learn about fishing in South Carolina, check out the Department of Natural Resources.

7. Missouri

The Show-Me State will show anglers how wonderful fishing is in the Midwest. Home to Bass Pro Shops HQ, Missouri lives up to its name by offering some world class freshwater fishing opportunities. Whether it's bass, sturgeon, perch, carp, crappie, catfish, or trout, this state will show anglers of all ages and experience levels the beauty of fishing in true American fashion.

To learn about fishing in Missouri, check out the Department of Conservation.

8. Texas

debbie alligator gar - longnose gar
Credit: Debbie Hanson,

The Lone Star State comes to mind for its independent spirit, delicious food, and friendly people. However, did you know the state is home to excellent fishing? Whether it is fishing for prehistoric species like the alligator gar in central Texas or saltwater fishing in the Gulf Coast, Texas offers plenty of opportunities to catch some great fish. Popular and sought-after fish species include gar, large mouth bass, flounder, red fish, trout, Spanish mackerel, snook, tarpon, mangrove snapper, and sheepshead, to name a few.

To learn about fishing in Texas, check out the Department of Parks and Wildlife.

Did this list persuade you to visit these states and sample their fishing?  Be sure to get out of your comfort zone and explore new fishing spots this year!

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8 Underrated Fishing States to Visit This Spring