American River Fishing Spots

The 10 Best North American River Fishing Spots

These are some of the best American river fishing spots.

There are hundreds of rivers snaking their way across the continent and many of them are great for fishing. But what American river fishing spots are the undisputed best?

We have some ideas on that.

From rainbow trout streams in the mountains to rivers holding prehistoric sturgeon, here are 10 American rivers to check out.

1. Sacramento River/American River California

Measuring about 400 miles long, the Sacramento originates in the mountains of northern California and then snakes its way all the way down past the capital and then nearly to Oakland.

The river is home to a variety of species, but most anglers are targeting trout, steelhead and king salmon. Quick tip, when scouting the river south from Redding to Red Bluff, Google maps have run a "street view" camera boat up the river, meaning you can look at every bend and pocket before you go on a trip there.

We combined this one with the American River because these two rivers meet in Sacramento. The section surrounding this connection is full of shad, salmon, striped bass and steelhead.

While the steelhead are in lesser numbers than previous years, this is still a majorly popular fly fishing destination. The middle fork in particular is a great spot to fish.

2. Yellowstone River, Wyoming/Montana

This is an incredibly scenic trout fishing destination. The Yellowstone starts in Yellowstone National Park and winds its way north across Montana before finally flowing into the Missouri River in North Dakota. The scenery's great, and the Yellowstone just happens to be one of the best fishing streams for trout in the world.

It is officially designated a blue ribbon steam, and most anglers focus on the big brown trout and rainbow trout that prowl its waters. But there are also catfish and smallmouth bass living in the river for anyone looking for a little variety.

As if all that wasn't enough, it also has plenty of access points and some of the best fishing scenarios you'll get anywhere in the west.

3. Colorado River, Arizona/Nevada

Sandwiched along the border between Arizona and Nevada, the Colorado is another prime trout stream that fly fishers flock to every fall. But this river offers superb fishing for largemouth bass and stripers too.

No matter what time of year you visit, there is almost always something to catch in the Colorado. This river is also home to panfish which can make for a great shore lunch during your fishing adventure.

4. Fraser River, British Columbia

No, this river isn't in the United States, but it would be a crime to not mention the Fraser River on this list.

The river is home to probably the best sturgeon fishing in the world. Gigantic white sturgeon of up to 10 feet long have been landed from the numerous hot spots here.

One notable fish, lovingly named "Pig nose" is thought to be at a 700 pounder at least. There are numerous fishing guides who focus entirely on the catch and release of these awesome prehistoric fish. If you're not into sturgeon, this is an excellent fishery for salmon and steelhead fishing too.

5. Rio Grande River, Colorado/New Mexico/Texas/Mexico

This nearly 1,900-mile long river twists and turns its way from Colorado, through New Mexico before turning into the natural border between the United States and Mexico. Water levels can fluctuate quite a bit from season to season, but this river offers up a little bit of everything.

White bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, panfish, catfish and more can be found in the Rio Grande. But the river is probably best known for the giant alligator gar that lurk in its depths, especially in Texas. The all-tackle world record, a 279-pounder was caught on this river in Texas in 1951 and has held off all challengers ever since.

6. Mississippi River, Multiple States

We couldn't leave the mighty Mississippi off this list. At 2,348 miles, chances are there's a section of the river within reasonable driving distance that you can check out.

The river is home to a variety of different species including walleye, bass, panfish and crappie. But it's best known for its catfish. Especially in the more southern portions of the river where the weather stays warm year-round and the big channel cats, flatheads and blues can grow to monstrous proportions. Blue catfish over 100 pounds are not unheard of on the Mississippi.

7. Yakima River, Washington

Another blue ribbon trout stream that attracts anglers from all over the world, the Yakima has an abundance of natural food sources that makes it easy for rainbows and cutthroat trout to grow to substantial sizes.

It isn't the longest river on this list at just 240 miles long, but it is one of the most scenic, making this a great place to relax and unwind while throwing your favorite caddis pattern for the wild trout lurking in the depths.

8. St Lawrence River, Ontario/Quebec/New York

The St. Lawrence has its origins in Lake Ontario and flows northeast before finally emptying into the Atlantic Ocean via the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. These waters are home to many different species of fish, but we put this one on the list because the St. Lawrence is a world class muskie fishery.

Fish 40-50 inches are common and 60-inch, 50-pound fish are not unheard of. More than one guide and local fishermen believes that the next IGFA all-tackle world record is likely lurking beneath the depths of the St. Lawrence, just waiting for a lucky angler to land it.

9. Suwannee River, Florida/Georgia

This slow-moving river is only around 250 miles long, but it holds plenty of big fish, especially big largemouth bass, bluegill and catfish. The river has made headlines in recent years for its sturgeon too, mainly because the sturgeon keep leaping out of the water and injuring boaters!

It got bad enough that wildlife officials had to put up warning signs to let people know of the danger. Sounds like a great place to fish to us!

10. Bighorn River, Montana

Considered one of the top brown trout streams in Montana, the only drawback to this 450-mile long river is the limited access points. There are also restrictions on the types of artificial lures and live bait you can use. So, most anglers stick to fly fishing. This river also holds a healthy largemouth bass population.

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