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5 Best Fishing States West of the Rockies

Best Fishing States West of the Rockies
Getty Images: matthayes01

These are the five best fishing states west of the Rockies bar none.

Whether you are talking about pristine trout waters, flounder off the coast, or salmon as long as your leg, any discussion about the best of the best will create an argument. You can almost list every single one of them and have a reason to list it here, or a valid disagreement about it, but we just want to have some fun.

And then go fishing when it's all over.

Fly fishermen can't have all the glory here, and neither can the offshore trolling crowd. These few annually make the list due simply to the fact that they have everything it takes to please fishermen across the nation.

Let's look at a few of the best and what they offer. Honestly, if it has water, we want to fish in it. While that means every state in the union, for the purposes of this list, it's just that these are west of the Rocky Mountains.

Washington

"Growing up on the coast of Washington, I was spoiled by having so many rivers to fish and some of the best steelhead...

Posted by Guidefitter on Thursday, August 6, 2020

While the Skagit River and Sauk Rivers are well known for their salmon and steelhead populations, virtually anywhere on the Olympic Peninsula has renowned runs of steelhead and King salmon enough to please any angler. No wonder so many fly fishers plan fishing trips here. 

If that's not enough, a charter out onto the Pacific waters off the coast include catches of some of the best eating fish there are. These include Pacific cod, pollock, flounder, even the odd Opah now and again.

Washington States seems to have it all: ocean fishing, mountain lakes, and easily accessible streams for everyone.

Idaho

North Idaho Trout Fishing with Team Skeleton's Niki Tilley#SkeletonOptics #WearTheDifference #NoBoundaries

Posted by Skeleton Optics on Wednesday, May 17, 2017

You won't find any open ocean fishing, but you'll have trouble deciding where to go in the Gem State. Because there are trophy-class rainbow trout to be had, solid brown trout, kokakee salmon, and lake trout fisheries, even largemouth and smallmouth bass. If that's not enough, the black crappie, northern pike, and walleye fishing is tremendous.

As Idaho Fish & Game says, "Idaho is graced with 26,000 miles of streams and rivers, more than 3,000 natural lakes, and a quarter-million acres of ponds and reservoirs. Inhabiting those waters are 42 game fish species, from giant white sturgeon to wild trout, catfish to kokanee, and smallmouth bass to salmon and steelhead."

Oregon

@jamielebon6 Pulled this Sturgeon out of the Columbia River in Oregon 👍🏼.. #girlsfishingdaily #girlsfishing #fishing...

Posted by Girls Fishing Daily on Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Is there a better steelhead fishing destination than the Beaver State? The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife likes to say, "Oregon's year-round fishing spans the state from native redband trout in eastern deserts to rockfish and halibut in ocean waters - with lots of salmon, steelhead, trout and warmwater fishing in between."

And they wouldn't be wrong.

From the inland rivers and streams to the open ocean, Oregon seems to have it all. Anglers can find fishing spots to fly fish, for wading, float tube fishing, and one of the best rides that you can have: a float trip down one of her mighty rivers with an experienced guide leading you.

California

Posted by Mirage Sportfishing on Saturday, May 15, 2021

California is many things to our nation, but as a fly fishing destination it has the resources to keep anglers coming back every year, fly rod in hand. You'll find brook trout, rainbow trout and native brown trout all waiting for you on streams that seem to have never been visited.

The offshore fishing has so many possibilities that it's hard to list them all. This doesn't even include the pier and shore-based fishing opportunities that abound in the Golden State. Fly fishermen certainly need to know the rules and regulations here since the list of species available reads like a scientific chart: Large and smallmouth bass, brown trout, brook trout, bull trout, California golden trout, coastal cutthroat trout, coastal rainbow trout, Goose Lake redband trout, Little Kern golden trout, Paiute cutthroat trout, and more.

Alaska

Almost 250,000 red salmon came into the Kenai River yesterday...time to go fishing!

Posted by Alaska Magazine on Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Alaska is known as the Last Frontier State for good reason. The human populations seem to barely scratch the surface of this enormous state, but when they do, it's fish on! Destinations like the Kenai River, Bristol Bay, or fly fishing in Kodiak can be as good as it gets.

You'll have to decide over fishing the Cook Inlet for giant halibut, a fly-in trip for huge rainbow trout, or a float trip for king salmon as long as your arm, but Alaska has it all.

The Last Word

Sure, there's Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, Nevada, even a bit of Montana, but these few top the list for very good reason. Great fishing is what we all seek out, no matter where we find ourselves. Be it inside of a state park, national park, or even a national forest.

The trout fishing out west is second to none in some areas of North America, but none so as west of the Rocky Mountains. It might not be all about the bass fishing or the bluegill, but for cold water fishing locations that can be had in the summer months it is the best.

Whether you are seeking out saltwater or freshwater, using a nymph or a dry fly, the bottom line is that the fishing is good and it is available to anyone.

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5 Best Fishing States West of the Rockies