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The Ultimate $1,000 Fishing License Haul

So you have a $1,000 to spend on fishing licenses? Here's how to best spend it on the best fishing states in America.

If you want to take the ultimate road trip and hit all of the best fishing states, here is how to spend that heard-earned grand. To do it right, spend as much time as you can for the best chance at landing a trophy of the species they are best known for.

1. Florida snook, tarpon and bass fishing

tarpon fishing
Wikipedia Commons

Florida is covered by water and offers opportunities for excellent fresh and saltwater fishing. One of the biggest draws in all of Florida fishing is the legendary tarpon.

While you are there, tack on a snook permit and try for another of Florida's favorite gamefish, the largemouth bass. A combination fresh and saltwater license should give you ample of opportunity to catch all of these species if you time it right. Summertime is a great time to catch the saltwater species and as long as you can stand the heat, the fish will be biting. While you are in south Florida, make sure to fish for largemouth on Lake Okeechobee.

Also, it should be noted that there are certain exceptions if you are on board with a licensed charter captain. To read more about the rules as well as fees for other licenses, visit the FWC website.

  • Nonresident Annual Saltwater Fishing: $47.00
  • Nonresident Annual Freshwater Fishing: $47.00
  • Tarpon Tag: $51.50
  • Snook Permit: $10.00
  • Total Cost: $155.50

2. Alaskan salmon and halibut

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

There is nothing like fresh fish from Alaska. They are best known for their amazing salmon fishing, but the excellent halibut fishing is worth you time.

Spend a few days for halibut, some for king salmon and the rest on whatever you desire. There is also excellent pike fishing to be had if that interests you. Here are the license costs according to the ADFG.

  • Nonresident Annual Sport Fishing License: $145.00
  • Nonresident Annual King Salmon Stamp: $100.00
  • Total Cost: $245

3. Alabama bass fishing

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Head to northern Alabama in the spring and you will have you pick of three world-class fisheries. Lake Guntersville, Pickwick and Wheeler are all world-class.

These bodies of water are vast and offer giant largemouth as well as trophy smallmouth bass. Alabama has some of least expensive licenses around for non-residents, so you'll have some extra money to spend in some of the excellent tackle stores in the area. For a place to stay, try the Huntsville area as all of the lakes are nearby.

  • Freshwater Fishing - Annual License: $50.25

4. Washington salmon, steelhead and sturgeon

best fishing states
Wikipedia Commons

The Pacific Northwest is known for excellent salmon and steelhead fishing. But sturgeon are another species everyone should experience.  These prehistoric fish are plentiful throughout the Columbia River and they grow very big.

You'll want the salmon and steelhead endorsement as well as the two-pole permit so you can double your odds.Here are the fees according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

  • Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement: $8.75
  • Non-Resident Annual License: $84.50
  • Two-pole Endorsement: $14.80
  • Total Cost: $108.05

5. California fresh and saltwater

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

California offers excellent fresh and saltwater fishing from north to south. Depending on your tastes, you can bass fish world-class fisheries like the California Delta and Clear Lake or try your luck in the salt.

Check the seasons and regulations on the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website to choose your ultimate left coast trip.

  • Nonresident Sport Fishing License: $126.36         

6. Louisiana Redfish

best fishing states
Wikipedia Commons

Louisiana has some great fishing throughout.  The biggest draw is the Venice area and miles of prime redfish habitat.  From there you may also get into bass and can go offshore to the blue water for offshore bluewater action.

Like Alabama, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries offers low cost license fees for residents and non-residents.

  • Non-Resident Basic Fish Season: $60.00

7. Idaho steelhead and bass fishing

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Idaho is more than just potatoes, it is actually one of the best fishing states. It has excellent salmon, steelhead and bass fishing. Lake Coeur d'Alene in northern Idaho is consistently ranked as one of the best bass fisheries in the country.

Besides that, there are plenty of opportunities for fly-fishing for trout. Non-resident license fees are high from Idaho Fish and Game, but it is well worth it.

  •  Annual Non-Resident Fishing License: $98.25

8. Michigan Great Lakes Experience

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

There are a multitude of lakes in Michigan to fish. The biggest draws are the Great Lakes that surround it.  From walleye to bass and salmon to steelhead, there are several species worth your time. The fishing is great and there is enough water to find your own secret fishing spot.

Thankfully, the Michigan DNR has license costs that are fair compared to other states.

  • Nonresident Annual License: $68.00

9. Texas' all water package

texas bass fishing
Wikipedia Commons

Texas, like Florida and California is one of the best fishing states that offers great fresh and saltwater fishing. Depending on what you want to target, you can sample everything from trophy bass to big inshore saltwater species.  Get the All Water Fishing Package so your license covers it all.

  • All Water Fishing Package Non-Resident: $68.00

So there you go, nine of the best fishing states and all for under $1,000. The total cost was $979.41. There, we saved you some money for tackle.


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The Ultimate $1,000 Fishing License Haul