By Scott Moses from Live Once Live Wild
Few instances can be as relaxing as camping out next to a river or lake and the level of relaxation is quadrupled if that moment in time is spent with a fly rod in hand. The combination of relaxation with the adrenaline of reeling in a (massive) fish makes for the perfect weekend getaway. However, though there is a certain level of charm and familiarity going fishing on the same piece of water that you have been going to for decades; once in a while however, a fishing trip to some other beautiful area is well worth it and should be strongly considered.
The 58 National Parks that make up our nation´s national park system are easily some of the most beautiful areas in our country. From massive mountains to thick swamps, the diversity of the national park system means that there WILL be a spot that meets the needs of most – from a relaxing break with the family in-and-around the campsite to backcountry exploring for those that have watched too many extreme survival shows on the Discovery Channel.
While some national parks might have prohibitions on fishing at certain spots or during certain times of the year, with the right preparation and the right permits, you can fish in almost all national parks.
In the following paragraphs we give you a rundown of the top 5 Fishing Spots in the national park system as well as offer a little bit of advice on what to bring with you to make your fishing trip one that will make all your Facebook fly fishing mates cry with envy!
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
Our nation´s oldest national park is also one of the best for fly fishers. There are few places in the world where you will be able to fish a rumbling river fed by snow melt while, a mere 100 feet from where you are sitting, a herds of buffalo snort as they swim across the river. One of the best perks of fishing at Yellowstone is that you´ll be able to catch just about every type of trout that is available in North America, including the native cutthroat trout. From high alpine lakes to quick running rivers, there are virtually unlimited options for a great fishing experience at Yellowstone.
GLACIER NATIONAL PARK
Located in northern Montana on the border with Canada, Glacier National Park is a place where grizzly bears and mountain goats are almost as abundant as the brightly colored bull trout which grace the numerous streams and rivers crisscrossing the park. The impressive scenery at Glacier also allows for a fantastic backdrop to a memorable fishing experience even if the fish do not play along.
EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK
Most people wouldn’t think that the swamps of southern Florida would be a great place for fishing BUT we all know that fly fishers have been exploring this area for many years – this fishery has seen the development of several unique fly patterns over the years. The Everglades National Park is a great place to find peacock bass, redfish, and other hard to find species to check off your list. If you can brave the mosquitoes and alligators, the fishing at the Everglades promises to be a unique and unforgettable experience.
GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS
The mountain creeks of the Appalachian Mountains is an epic spot for hiking and enjoying the beauty of the some of the oldest mountains in the world. The thick hardwood forests also offer spectacular color during the fall time. There are over 3,000 miles of flowing freshwater throughout the park (so brining a fly-rod along should be mandatory) and most of them are filled with several species of trout and smallmouth bass. In fact, this is one of the last places where you can catch a wild brook trout in the eastern part of the country.
ACADIA NATIONAL PARK
Along the beautiful Atlantic coast of Maine, Acadia National Park is perhaps the best place in the country for people who want a mix of freshwater and salt water fishing. The mountains that rise quickly from the rocky coast are filled with streams and rivers where brown trout and landlocked salmon abound. After a couple of days of filling up on salmon, you can head out into the choppy ocean waters to try your luck at catching stripers, bluefish and so much more.
Coupled with a fresh caught lobster you´ll be in for some seriously good eating.
WHAT TO BRING?
Besides a good pair of wading boots, your sense for adventure, an arsenal of fishing equipment, and a good book or camera for those those lazy afternoons, you will also need a good cooler. A great cooler is a must for your fishing trips as it will allow you to keep your lunch and drinks cold while also preserving the odd fish you keep for the evening meal. For an extensive guide on some of the best coolers on the market in the USA, check out out our review on Live Once Live Wild.
FISHING THE NATIONAL PARKS
If you have grown tired of fishing the same lake or same river and want a change of scenery and new fishing challenges, consider looking into getting a permit for fishing in one of the five national parks mentioned above.
Even if you don´t catch a thing, the scenery alone will have made the trip well worth it.