Summer Fishing Fun Hot Spots, Part 2
Bob McNally 05.18.15
Great outdoor fishing recreation can be found throughout the country. Here is the second of two-parts listing terrific hot spots worthy of anyone’s summer vacation time.
1) Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming: Trout
Some of the best trout fishing in the world is found in famous Yellowstone National Park in northwest Wyoming. Of course, the wild and wonderful park also boasts a wealth of sightseeing opportunities for hikers and backpackers, as well as people who want to gaze upon some of the most remarkable assemblage of geysers, boiling mud pots, and other thermal wonders. In addition, wild game such American bison, elk, coyotes, antelope, deer, bears, and now wolves abound and are readily seen by visitors.
But to the serious angler, Yellowstone waters read like a litany of revered trout havens. The air-clear and picturesque Yellowstone and Madison rivers are teeming with trout (browns, rainbows, and cutthroats). Other lesser-known streams such as the Gallatin, Lamar, Lewis, Bechler, Gibbon, and Slough are full of fish, too. And in places like the Firehole River, wading trout anglers can catch brown trout while elk wade downstream and geysers billow into the forest upstream. Excellent lake fishing for cutthroats can be done easily by the whole family from boats on sprawling Yellowstone Lake in the heart of the park.
Great accommodations can be found in the park, with lodging available in cabins and hotels. Camping is easy to do and popular at many sites scattered throughout Yellowstone. Visitors also can make daily excursions into the park from the towns of West Yellowstone and Gardiner. For more information contact the chambers of commerce in those towns or the National Park headquarters (www.nps.gov/yell).
2) Niagara River, New York: Walleyes, Smallmouths
Just minutes from the NFL city of Buffalo, and not far from the urban centers of New York, Cleveland, Toronto, and Pittsburgh is the famous Niagara River–the same place where generations of honeymooners have come to view the awesome falls. It’s a popular family destination, too, and also happens to offer some of the best smallmouth bass, walleye, trout, and salmon fishing in America.
From June through summer, smallmouth action is incredible, with bronzebacks weighing 2 to 4 pounds caught regularly and 5-pounders taken annually. Fish over 7 pounds have been recorded, and 100 fish days are always a possibility. Walleyes in the 6 to 8 pound class are caught commonly from the river, and lake trout, browns, and rainbows are boated.
This is easy, family-style boat fishing in the deep, clear, and picturesque Niagara, very near the falls and close to area attractions and great facilities.
Lewiston is a good place to headquarter. Ernie’s Guide Service (phone 716-609-3064)
3) Mobile, Alabama: Tripletail, Seatrout, Redfish, Flounder
Great saltwater fishing around oil and natural gas rigs is well known (as they act like artificial reefs) off Louisiana where they number in the thousands. But outstanding oil rig fishing is also available in Alabama waters, including sheltered, shallow, Mobile Bay.
In Mobile Bay anglers catch inshore fish like flounder, spotted seatrout, tripletail, ladyfish, redfish, bluefish, sheepshead, white trout, and others. Mobile Bay oil rigs are productive year-round, and summer night action can be remarkable. Some lighted rigs are less than a half-mile from shore in 15 to 20 feet of water and are attractive small-boat spots. There are about 50 rigs inside the bay.
Rigs off Mobile Bay extend offshore 50 or 60 miles, where excellent trolling for dolphin, wahoo, tuna, and billfish is available. Good offshore rigs can be found within four miles of Mobile Bay, though many fishermen prefer working rigs in 60 to 70 feet of water, 10 to 15 miles out for snapper, grouper, king mackerel, cobia, and others.
For fishing Information contact J&M Bait and Tackle, phone (www.jmtackle.com) or San Roc Cay Marina and Charters (www.sanroccay.com). One of the area’s better light-tackle guides is Patric Garmeson, phone 251-747-1554.
4) Lakes Barkley/Kentucky; Tennessee/Kentucky: Bass, Crappie
One of the most beautiful, pristine, and unique outdoor areas in mid-America is “Land Between the Lakes,” a U.S. Forest Service Recreation Area sandwiched between the sprawling and fish-filled waters of Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake.
Largemouth and smallmouth bass and crappies are the big draws to Barkley and Kentucky lakes. And while there is an abundance of access sites, marinas, and resorts dotted along the shores of both lakes, the LBL (as Land Between the Lakes is affectionately known) stands apart as a choice headquarters for visitors. Located partially in Tennessee and mostly in Kentucky, the LBL is a giant peninsula separating the two oversize reservoirs, west of Hopkinsville. From the LBL, anglers can tap either lake, with boat accesses scattered throughout the area. Superb campgrounds also abound on LBL, and there are cottages for rent.
The LBL main office (www.lbl.org) provides outdoorsmen a wealth of fishing and hunting information.
5) Sebago Lake, Maine: Bass
Sebago Lake is deep (averaging 100 feet), clear, and because it’s the water supply for the city of Portland, it’s a popular summer spot for vacationers. But the 28,000-acre lake also boasts some of the best fishing in Maine for good, average-size largemouth and smallmouth bass.
Bass tournaments held on Sebago have resulted in hundreds of 2 to 3 pound smallmouths and largemouths caught. Smallmouths over 5 pounds, and largemouths over 7 pounds are taken annually, too.
Because Sebago is so deep and clear, it takes a while for the lake to warm, so the best spring fishing doesn’t get underway until mid-May. Through mid-June anglers can enjoy good spawning bass fishing, with smallmouths typically found on small gravel bars in coves and on sheltered points, while largemouths are more weed-oriented in coves and creek mouth regions.
Much of the lake’s shoreline is rocky, and savvy bass fishermen who work 15 to 25 foot depths score well on smallmouths through summer. Night fishing is productive, too, due to the lake’s clarity.
Windham is a good place for motels and restaurants, and housekeeping cottages are available on the west side of the lake. Sebago Lake Marina (http://sebagolakemarina.com, phone 207-787-2444 and Richardson’s Marina in Windham (http://www.richardsonsby.com, phone 207-892-4913) have good facilities. Naples Bait and Tackle (phone 207-693-3638) is a good place for fishing information and guide Carl Boise (www.rockyridgemaineguide.com, phone 207-925-6262) is the man for bass trips.
6) Montebello/Kenauk Preserve, Quebec: Bass, Trout
Kenauk Preserve (http://kenauk.com/) near the town of Montebello in southern Quebec, just east of the Canadian capital of Ottawa, offers good daily-fee fishing “north of the border” for largemouth and smallmouth bass, as well as trout.
Summer is prime, and boaters and canoeists have plenty of elbow room with 70 private lakes on the 65,000-acre preserve. In addition, excellent bass, walleye, and muskie fishing is available in the nearby Ottawa River.
Montebello Lodge is a spectacular resort facility, located just minutes away from Kenauk’s fishing. Lakeside housekeeping cottages also are available on some Kenauk lakes, and special cottage-boat rental fishing packages are priced right. Lakeside camping also can be done beside Kenauk’s Lake Papineau.