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You don’t ever need an excuse to go fishing, but the beginning of June brings about the best possible reason to hit the water – National Fishing and Boating Week. In 2023, the week of 3–11 June is reserved for anglers, boaters, and everyone in between. If you’re looking for an opportunity to organize a family fishing outing, this is the time to do it.
During this week, most states have one or two free fishing days. Double-check when they fall in your state, and you’re already onto a winner. An added bonus is that when you buy tackle or a fishing license during National Fishing and Boating Week, part of your money will be used for the conservation and preservation of national waterways.
If you’re wondering where to go to enjoy this week, we’ve got more than a few great suggestions for you. Here’s a list of the premier fishing spots you should definitely consider!
North Topsail Beach, North Carolina
The first on our list is the gorgeous coastal destination of North Topsail Beach. You’ll find Topsail Island in the south of North Carolina, cradled between the Stump Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. Come here for National Fishing and Boating Week and, not only will you be fishing for a huge variety of species, but you can also bask in the sun on the local sandy beach.
Whether you’d like to go surf fishing, cast a line from Seaview Pier, or head out with a charter, North Topsail Beach will accommodate you. You don’t ever have to leave the beach to get a bite, and the variety of species is enviable. Redfish and Black Drum, Mackerel, Speckled Trout, Flounder, and smaller Sharks all wait for you inshore.
For a deep sea adventure, you’ll need to team up with a local guide. The crew will take you to offshore grounds, where you can hunt King Mackerel, Mahi Mahi, Grouper, Sailfish, and Tuna. Who knows, maybe you land a trophy while you’re there. When you’re not fishing, you can enjoy the beauty of the island and get some rest from the everyday hustle. There are 12 miles of beach to explore, along with local shops and restaurants at your disposal.
In second place we’ve got the Windy City, nestled comfortably on the southernmost part of Lake Michigan. If you come to Chicago during National Fishing and Boating Week, you can plan it like a (long) weekend getaway. Combine fishing with some of the truly fabulous sites the city has to offer, and you’re in for a treat.
Let’s talk about the Chicago fishing scene. It’s no secret that Lake Michigan is a premier fishery in itself, but here it gets a special dimension. The Salmon action in the city is nothing short of fantastic, especially in May and June. This means you’ll be popping in at the perfect time to get some Coho and Chinook Salmon. The Trout bite is also off the hook in June. Lake, Brown, and Rainbow varieties are all there for the taking.
If you want a change of pace, head to Chicago River, where you can target hefty Bass all day long. Both Largemouth and Smallmouth thrive here, and don’t forget about tasty Panfish! After a day on the water, admire Chicago’s cityscape, listen to some jazz, and don’t miss out on some delicious food!
Lake Charles, Louisiana
Let’s stop by the Bayou State and Lake Charles, located right between Lafayette and Beaumont. Looking for beautiful weather, diverse fisheries, and a variety of outdoor activities? Lake Charles just might be your jam. The free fishing days fall during National Fishing and Boating Week, so you can fish for free on June 10 and 11.
The main advantage of Lake Charles is that gives you easy access to three productive bodies of water – the Calcasieu River, Prien, and Calcasieu Lakes. The river borders the city, while the namesake lake is a short ride away. Lake Charles itself has solid numbers of Redfish, Speckled Trout, and Bass, thanks to its brackish waters. The same goes for the lakes, though Calcasieu Lake, in particular, boasts some trophy specimens.
If you prefer freshwater fishing, no problem! The Calcasieu River has a strong Bass fishery, and you can expect Largemouth and Spotted Bass on your line. There are also quite a few Catfish and Panfish to make things more interesting. If you’re coming to Lake Charles with your family, check out the North Beach, drive down the Creole Nature Trail, and relish in the amazing Creole cuisine. The signature charm of Louisiana will help you relax, and top-notch fishing will give you that adrenaline rush when you need it.
Newport Beach, California
The Golden State’s coast is famous for its outstanding angling opportunities, and Newport Beach is no different. With Los Angeles a short drive away, Newport Beach is a picture-perfect locale for families who love bonding over fishing. Coming here in June means you’ll have great weather, plenty of things to do, and even more fish to catch.
All the riches of the Pacific Ocean are at your disposal from Newport Beach. Local charter guides in Newport Harbor can put you on Rockfish, Halibut, Calico Bass, and White Seabass on inshore trips. Longer expeditions take you further out to target bragworthy Yellowtail, Mahi Mahi, Bonito, and yes, even Tuna. Basically, all the delicious fish you can think of in one spot.
We recommend Newport Beach to families because the kids are going to have a blast at the Balboa Pier. You can check out the Sherman Library and Gardens, and, if you love surfing, the “Wedge” is the place to be. If you find yourself in Los Angeles this National Fishing and Boating Week, definitely spend a few days in Newport Beach – you’ll be glad you did.
Rock Hall, Maryland
If you’re looking for a destination slightly off the beaten path, but still comfortable and interesting, head to Rock Hall. The nickname of the town – the Pearl of the Chesapeake – speaks for itself. The atmosphere is chill, the artistic community is vibrant, the seafood is to die for, and the fishing won’t disappoint.
With the prolific Chesapeake Bay at its doorstep, Rock Hall offers stunning views and fishing fun for everyone. Come for National Fishing and Boating Week, and fish for free on June 3 and 10. Striped Bass is the number one contender here, closely followed by Redfish, White Perch, and Spanish Mackerel. If you’d like a feast after your day out, go crabbing and you’ll be treated to a delectable meal.
You’ll be surprised by the number of fishing charters on offer here. Many locals are passionate boaters, proved by the fact that the town has no less than 14 marinas. Spend a few days in Rock Hall, and when you’re not fishing, soak in some sun on Ferry Park Beach.
Maybe you’re all about discovering new cities that can inspire both your love of fishing and your cultural appetite. Look no further than legendary Memphis! The Grind City has heaps of charisma, just like its most famous resident, Elvis Presley. You’ll come here to visit Graceland, Sun Studio, and the Memphis Pyramid, but you’ll stay for first-class fishing.
June 10 is Tennessee’s free fishing day, right at the end of National Fishing and Boating Week. Why not come a few days earlier to check out the fishing grounds and get in on the local action? The star of the show is the Mississippi River, with its abundance of Catfish, Walleye, and Carp. If that’s not enough, you can take your pick of one of the city’s fishing lakes brimming with Bass, Panfish, and even Trout.
Wolf and Loosahatchie Rivers are also full of popular and productive fishing spots. After you’ve caught a fish or two, let Memphis entertain you with its dazzling music scene. Spend your evenings in juke joints, tasting local beer, and reveling in the best things life has to offer. That’s what Memphis is all about!
When a state is nicknamed “The Land of 10,000 Lakes,” you know that the fishing will be off the hook. And while there are many many watersheds to explore in Minnesota, one stands above all others, as its name suggests – Lake Superior. One of the best places to experience the riches of this Great Lake is Duluth, a city that also happens to be the biggest inland-freshwater port in the country.
Not to much surprise, Duluth’s fishing potential is substantial. Lake Superior is the main reason for it, as well as the St. Louis River, which acts as a natural border between Minnesota and Wisconsin. The lake is known for its stellar Chinook Salmon fishery (peaking from May–October), and the Lake Trout bite is just as good. Walleye and Muskies are also among the local favorites, while, in the river, you can look forward to Steelhead and Crappie, too.
If National Fishing and Boating Week takes you to Duluth, remember that residents can fish for free between June 11–13. This port city has a lot of history and a vibrant cultural scene, so whether you’re coming solo or with your family, there’s a lot for you to see and learn. The Aerial Bridge and Lakewalk Trail are must-see sights, and the same goes for the expansive outdoors and numerous nearby small lakes.
Lake Tahoe, Nevada
For anglers who like to spend time in the mountains, with their line in some of the most pristine waters you can find, there’s no better destination than Lake Tahoe. Nicknames like “The Big Blue” and “The Lake of the Sky” hint at its magnificent beauty. The best part is that the fishing is as good as the scenery!
The main draw of Lake Tahoe is the renowned Mackinaw Trout – aka Lake Trout. Big and brawny, these fish are the catch of the lake, and their Brown and Rainbow relatives are right behind. Kokanee (landlocked Sockeye) Salmon and Bass are other popular targets. The lake has many tributaries, which lets you get onto other freshwater favorites like Catfish, Crappie, Goldfish, and Bluegill, too.
Nevada’s capital, Carson City, is only 30 minutes away from Lake Tahoe, so make sure to check out there. Nevada’s free fishing day is on the second Saturday of June every year, just in the nick of time for your National Fishing and Boating Week trip. Visiting Lake Tahoe lets you come back to nature and, as soon as you get that first fish on, your worries will melt away.
Strawberry Reservoir, Utah
Less than 80 miles from Salt Lake City, you’ll find one of the most productive fisheries in Utah – Strawberry Reservoir. With its elevation at over 7,500 feet in the Wasatch Mountains, surrounded by the Uinta National Forest, “The Berry” lets you experience National Fishing and Boating Week in a memorable way.
The reservoir boasts not only excellent fishing but also incredible water quality. That’s one of the reasons Trout thrive here, and why angling is the go-to pastime. Massive Cutthroat Trout are the stars of Strawberry Reservoir, especially because most of them are Bear Lake Cutthroat Trout, a variety native to the Beehive State. You could also run into Rainbow Trout and Kokanee Salmon while fishing the reservoir’s depths.
Whether you’re coming here to camp, hike, fish, or all of the above, the Berry has you covered. The local recreation areas have everything you need and there are plenty of trails around to check out and admire the views. Utah’s free fishing day is June 10, when all the bounty of the Strawberry Reservoir is at your disposal free of charge.
We’re finishing our list strong on the coast of Maine, in Portland. Not to be confused with its Oregonian namesake, the Pine Tree State’s Portland provides easy access to the Atlantic Ocean and its prolific depths. Add to that the fact that the city is full of artists, foodies, and outdoorsmen and you can’t go wrong. Sound like your scene? Then you’ve found your destination for this year’s National Fishing and Boating Week.
When you decide to go fishing in Portland, ME, the first thing you’ll need to do is think about what you’d like to target. If you’re coming with your little ones, staying in Casco Bay and fishing for Stripers, Mackerel, and Bluefish is a good idea. Ground fishing for Haddock, Pollock, and Cod will grant you a delicious meal after the trip. For the ultimate adrenaline experience, head to the open ocean waters, where you’ll wrestle with huge Blue, Mako, Thresher, and Porbeagle Sharks.
Portland, ME is the most populous city in the state, but it’s somehow managed to keep the relaxed atmosphere of a town. Make the most of the free fishing weekend (June 3–4), check out the beaches, and explore the waterfront stores and restaurants. And don’t forget the legendary Maine Lobster – your palate will thank you for it.
National Fishing and Boating Week – Make the most of it!
Can you feel the excitement yet? National Fishing and Boating Week is fast approaching, so we recommend organizing your trip to one of these premier fishing spots sooner rather than later. Make the most of the free fishing days, discover a new angling destination, and spend some quality time with your loved ones. That’s what it’s all about after all!
How are you spending this National Fishing and Boating Week? Have you already fished the suggested spots and want to share some advice? Is there something we missed? Leave your impressions with us in the comments.
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Title: National Fishing and Boating Week – The Best Spots to Enjoy It
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Published Date: Wed, 03 May 2023 14:44:50 +0000