Travel Tips 

Fishing in National Parks: Secret Spots

Have you always wanted to go fishing in national parks? The national parks system has a huge variety of rivers, lakes, and streams—meaning there are plenty of opportunities to throw in a line during your next vacation. Finding good fishing in national parks can be a challenge, especially with the widespread increase in outdoor recreation. Try exploring these five gems that are home to unexpected fishing spots.
Prepared By:

Visit USA Parks

Adventurer & Photographer

Rules and Regulations for Fishing in National Parks

Before you pack up your tackle box, make sure to research the fishing regulations of the parks you intend to visit. You might need a state license, fishing permit, boat permit, stamps, or something else entirely— laws vary by location. Some parks may even have catch limits, as dwindling fish populations in recent years have encouraged more stringent measures. The National Parks Service is a great resource for any information you might need to help plan your fishing trip.

Fishing in National Parks at Dry Tortugas National Park near Key West, Florida

Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

Dry Tortugas National Park was originally named for the turtles discovered there by Ponce de Leon on his exploration to the “new” world. Today, Dry Tortugas National Park teems with marine life and opportunities to reel in your next big catch. Located 70 miles west of Key West, this unique national park is mostly underwater. Grab a boat permit and a Florida Saltwater Fishing License before heading out onto the water. Visit the historic For Jefferson while you’re in the area and don’t forget your snorkel gear! 


Fishing in national parks is a popular hobby, including here at Yosemite National Park

Fishing in Yosemite National Park, California

While Yosemite National Park is better known for its iconic climbing, you can also fish in the park’s lakes and reservoirs year-round. The streams and rivers are only open from April through mid-November. You’ll need a fishing license from the state of California if you are over 16. Catch and release fishing is most common here, and there are seasonal limitations to how many fish you can take home with you. Massive, stony backdrops provide the perfect spot for excellent rainbow trout and brown trout fishing.

Fishing in national parks is a popular hobby, including here at Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

For first-rate fishing in a national park, visit America’s first national park. Fishing in Yellowstone National Park is not only scenic, but affords opportunities to see other wildlife as well. Keep in mind that there are limits on the kind and number of fish you can decide to hold onto each day, and barbed hooks are not allowed. Cast your line in one of the sparkling rivers or lakes in Yellowstone and trout will practically fall onto your line!

Fishing in national parks

Little Piney Creek Blue Ribbon Area, Missouri

While not technically a national park, blue ribbon fisheries are areas designated as being the best of the best when it comes to fishing. Little Piney Creek in Missouri flows from a series of springs. Here, you’ll find an abundance of trout and some of the most beautiful, wooded fishing areas in the United States. Montana, Utah, and Michigan also have blue-ribbon fisheries.

Fishing in national parks and Lake Powell, Utah

Lake Powell, Utah and Arizona

For an iconic experience nestled in magnificent red desert rocks, take a trip to Lake Powell in Utah and Arizona. To find your next catch, explore the lengthy shoreline on foot or rent a boat from the marina. There are plenty of lodging options in the area for overnight stays, from camping to luxury retreats to house boats. Have an epic fishing weekend at Lake Powell!

Get ready to fish the day away!

If you still need help deciding on the perfect location for your American fishing trip, contact our national park experts with any questions. 

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Photo courtesy of @Ronakp967 via Instagram.


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