The Best Places to Go Fly Fishing in the US

Cast a line and enjoy beautiful scenery at these 10 amazing fly fishing spots around the country.

Caucasian man fishing on boat in ocean
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Few things are as graceful as a line floating through the air and resting on the water's surface — for just a moment — before returning to its airborne dance. Fly fishing is not an easy sport, but once you learn to tie a fly, master the cast, and hook your first fish, it's hard to stop. When you're out on the water, the chatter of daily life is replaced by the whirr of the reel and the rumble of the river. This is solitude at its best.

If the opportunity to get away from it all isn't enough to have you packing up your tackle box, then the beautiful landscapes a remote escape takes you to certainly is. Some of the best fly fishing in the U.S. can be found in quiet streams in open valleys and roaring rivers at the base of jagged peaks.

To help you plan a trip, we've curated a list of some of the best fly-fishing spots in the U.S.

Fly fishing on a sunny day in Rock Creek, Montana
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Rock Creek, Montana

The fish-rich waters of Rock Creek flow for more than 50 miles just southeast of Missoula. It's a dreamy destination for trout lovers, with rainbow, brown, cutthroat, and bull trout found alongside Rocky Mountain whitefish. And the views aren't bad either — the river flows under endless Montana skies through the wild Lolo National Forest.

For the best fishing, make your way to upper Rock Creek and plan your excursion for late morning. You can set up camp in the national forest, or book a stay at The Ranch at Rock Creek.

Gauley River, West Virginia

There's plenty of great fly fishing in West Virginia – home to New River Gorge National Park and Bluestone National Scenic River — but not much can top the Gauley River in the Gauley River National Recreation Area. You'll find trout, walleye, and smallmouth bass, amid a remoteness and beauty that tops most fly-fishing destinations.

Book a cabin or campsite at River Expeditions, or tuck in at Carnifex Ferry Cabins, as close to the Gauley River as they are to Summersville Lake.

Anglers fish for sockeye salmon along the rapids of the Newwhalen River near Iliamna.
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Bristol Bay, Alaska

You knew Alaska had to appear somewhere on this list. The northernmost state is home to larger-than-average Arctic grayling and rainbow trout, plus plenty of Pacific salmon. And even if you don't catch anything (which is unlikely), you might spot an Alaskan brown bear, caribou, or moose. It's a win-win.

Book your stay and a guided fly-fishing trip with Bear Trail Lodge, and enjoy its gourmet, all-inclusive meal program.

Blue River, Colorado

The Blue River splits away from the mighty Colorado River near the town of Kremmling and flows south, winding its way through ranchlands and the towering Gore Range. While a kayak or canoe might glide by during the day, depending on where you go, you may have a stretch of this 65-mile river all to yourself. Just make sure to bring along some sunscreen and a solid sun shirt, so you're ready to battle the intense Colorado sun.

You can set up in one of the many campgrounds surrounding Green Mountain Reservoir, or head south and book a room at the Frisco Inn on Galena in downtown Frisco.

Florida Keys, Florida

You don't have to head to the mountains to find great fly fishing. Saltwater fly fishing poses its own set of challenges with big fat rewards — sometimes in the form of a 200-pound tarpon. When it comes to saltwater fly fishing, it's hard to beat the Florida Keys, home to bonefish, tarpon, redfish, snook, and permit.

While down in the Keys, the Cheeca Lodge & Spa on Islamorada is hard to pass up. The staff can connect you with a guide or send you out on a fishing charter, while providing a luxurious beachfront base for downtime between fishing trips.

Caucasian man fishing on boat in ocean
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Snake River, Wyoming

The appropriately named Snake River slithers across Idaho and into Wyoming, where it glides past the resort town of Jackson Hole. Here, fly fishers have the unique opportunity to catch Snake River fine-spotted cutthroat trout, a subspecies indigenous to the river. When you're not busy snagging cutthroats, you can drop into Yellowstone or Grand Teton national parks, or hop on one of the area's many hiking trails.

After a long day on the water, put up your feet at The Lodge at Jackson Hole, a Western-inspired property that's minutes from Jackson's historic Town Square.

Yellow Breeches Creek, Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania's Cumberland Valley is home to world-renowned limestone streams that have been revered by fly fishers for generations. Beginners can try their luck on Yellow Breeches Creek, while the nearby LeTort Spring Run and Big Spring Creek provide an added challenge (and added reward).

You can visit all three waterways from Allenberry, a fly-fishing lodge with on-property access to Yellow Breeches Creek.

Tanasee Creek, a part of the East Fork Lakes in Jackson County, North Carolina on Wolf Mountain
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Tanasee Creek, North Carolina

Off Tanasee Creek Road, east of Tuckasegee, is a stretch of North Carolina water that shelters plenty of wild brown trout. Tanasee Creek is found within the scenic Nantahala National Forest and is one of 15 fly fishing spots accessed by the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail, the only designated fly-fishing trail in the U.S.

Set up camp in the national forest or head to the nearby town of Cashiers and treat yourself to a cozy, lakeside cabin rental.

Madison River, Montana

Montana is a fly fisher's wonderland and the site of another popular river that runs through Yellowstone. The Madison River, a tributary of the Missouri River, is 183 miles of beautiful, trout-rich waters. Cast a line in the stretch that runs from the Lyons Bridge Fishing Access Site to Highway 287 in Ennis for the chance at the large population (estimated at 1,500 to 2,000 fish per mile) of rainbow trout found in this part of the river.  

Then head back to Madison Valley Ranch, a few miles outside of Ennis, located on the Madison River with an on-site trout pond for when you just can’t get enough fishing. 

North Umpqua River, Oregon

The rushing rapids of the North Umpqua River contain steelhead, salmon, and sea-run cutthroat trout in the Douglas-fir forests of southwestern Oregon. Fishermen are known for reeling in steelhead 20 pounds or more from this prime fly-fishing location. 

Check in to the Steamboat Inn where you can stay in a cabin right on the river and dine on locally-sourced food paired with bottles from Oregon’s famous wine country. 

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