I once made the mistake of writing a story on “America’s Best Fly-Fishing Towns” for Field & Stream magazine. The story turned out fine, but then they put me on a radio tour, and one happy town heaped praise on me, while nine others grilled me on why I didn’t rank them first.
I can tell you the truth now. The town that got ranked first earned that spot because our art director found a killer image that made for a good opening spread in the magazine. It was really ranked fifth on my list, but as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
I also get asked all the time, “where is my favorite place I’ve ever fished?” And I usually say I live where I live (Colorado) with reason. But of course, I am envious of stream access in Montana and the salmon runs in Alaska. I’m smitten with Atlantic salmon, and (as I’ve said before) while I often daydream about trout, my night dreams involve tarpon.
Thus, honestly, my favorite place to fish is wherever I’m fishing at the time. I’ve never thought, “This is awful, get me out of here!” when I’ve been fishing. I’ve been cold and damp, sick and tired, and “combat fishing” scenes kinda make me want to puke, but there’s usually something positive to focus on.
So, what are the best trout fishing places in America? They are the ones that you appreciate most, often times for reasons other than how many fish you catch.
Here’s my list:
- Wherever I’m fishing at the time.
- The place where I learned to fish.
- The trout river closest to my home now.
- The place where my family likes to fish with me.
- The river where I meet my friends.
- The lake where I can fish and throw a stick for my dog.
- The stretch of river so familiar, I could almost row it blindfolded.
- The place where I see moose, deer, bears, eagles and others that share their water with me.
- The place where the drakes hatch, and every fish on the river feeds off the surface.
- The place where I teach others to fish.
What does your list look like?