Tips & Techniques Destinations

Habitat diversity, sprawling vastness equal unparalleled Western fishery
Anchored by the convergence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, along with countless tributaries and rural streams, Delta waters comprise a labyrinthine of navigable arteries, all subject to tidal influence through their common connection to San Francisco Bay. There's plenty of area to spread out and select your own little piece of paradise, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself overwhelmed with a dilemma borne of abundance – in other words, it all looks fishy.


David A. Brown

Spotted and largemouth bass abound in northwest Alabama fishery
With all the facets of media these days, we are constantly blasted with sales pitches for one “top-notch fishery.” Others claim, “You can catch a hundred fish a day here.” Or, “Trophy smallmouths roam these waters.” And my personal favorite is, “If you want to catch the fish of a lifetime, this is your place.” Unfortunately, few fisheries live up to the hype. It’s fair to say that with the exception of a few, typically all the hoopla turns out to be false advertising.


Shaye Baker

Rod-bending revelry on the Rio Grande reservoir
Its Spanish name means "friendship" and bass anglers who value that rare mix of quality and quantity will enjoy getting to know Lake Amistad. A largemouth powerhouse that attracts a steady stream of tournament and casual angling interest to its namesake National Recreation Area – the Rio Grande reservoir just 12 miles northwest of Del Rio, Texas – also abounds in subtle scenic beauty, historical treasures and some cross-cultural accents you won't want to miss.


David A. Brown

Pristine waterway offers something for anglers, travelers and history buffs alike
As far as fishing destinations go, the 1000 Islands region is easily one of the most highly recommended areas to visit in the lower 48 states.


David A. Brown

Big O poised for major comeback after era of extremes
Lake Okeechobee has experienced both ends of the see-saw. But with a renewed sense of balance born of prudent water management and the silver lining of dark ecological clouds, Florida’s largest inland water body is on track to return to its finest form since the heydays of the 1980s.


David A. Brown

Enjoy a day of stellar smallmouth fishing on Lake St. Clair and then hop over to historic Windsor for an unforgettable cultural adventure
Like a Hobbit among giants, St. Clair’s 460-square miles appear minute in the Great Lakes region. Nevertheless, this dynamic fishery consistently cranks out the big catches – both in terms of numbers and individual fish. There’s no denying the greater overall potential found in nearby Lakes Erie and Huron, but the spunky St. Clair more than holds its own.


David A. Brown

For some real bipartisan bassin', look no further than the friendly aquatic confines of the nation’s capital
Rare is the case when Washington D.C. finds Democrats and Republicans seeing eye-to-eye. However, both parties can agree that the historic waters of the Potomac River offer tremendous angling opportunity within close proximity to the U.S. capital.


David A. Brown

Historic waterway marks 400th anniversary, still boasts one of the best largemouth and smallmouth fisheries in the nation
Four centuries ago, a French explorer surveyed a long, narrow lake tucked between the Adirondack and Green mountains and said, “Wow!” – or at least the 17th century equivalent expression. Today, not much has changed as Lake Champlain still conveys a sense of wonderment and breathtaking beauty for both newcomers and veteran anglers alike.


David A. Brown

Trophy Smoky Mountain smallmouths
People travel from all over the country just to witness the beauty of the Smoky Mountains in the fall. Fall colors really set off an already gorgeous view. But these days, so many people visit the area that the quaint atmosphere of the resort towns, such as Gatlinburg, Tenn., and Pigeon Forge, Tenn., has been changed. These towns have become extremely busy tourist destinations in recent years, complete with sprawling malls, theme parks, go-kart rentals and wedding chapels.


Will Brantley

Top two Golden State fisheries offer different, plentiful bass-fishing opportunities
They’re connected only by their rankings as the top western bass waters in the nation, but despite completely different profiles, Clear Lake and the California Delta team up to offer a one-two punch of Golden State bass potential in relatively close proximity.


David A. Brown

Breathtaking scenery and arm-jolting angling
February isn't what some saltwater anglers would call the “hot” month for fishing. But in an area in the Straits of Florida, October to April is prime time to boat a bountiful cornucopia of saltwater species. Named the Dry Tortugas by Ponce De Leon, these islands near Key West, Fla., offer some of the most beautiful, historic and heart-pounding angling action of any saltwater venue during winter and early spring.


Jason Sealock

Northern Minnesota’s premier ice-fishing destination
Fifteen years ago it was considered a dead sea. Although hard to believe at over 250,000 acres, Red Lake was totally depleted by commercial netting. In 1995 an amazing class of crappies established themselves in the lake. That crappie class is dwindling, but Red Lake has recently undergone another transformation – this time becoming the No. 1 walleye-fishing destination in the Midwest.


Brett Carlson

Hunting down peacock bass and other exotic species on the Amazon River
RIO JATAPU, Brazil — I recently took such a trip and experienced what felt like a lifetime of thrills and adventure in what was actually a week-long voyage in northwestern Brazil. Rich in animal life and abounding with botanical brilliance, this region defies summation – but “amazing” comes pretty close.


David A. Brown

An offshore drilling rig provides outstanding big-game action
For decades, the entertainment industry has told us a trip to Mars will turn up little green men. Well, in the northern Gulf of Mexico, a trip to Mars yields a close encounter with the big yellow guys. Yellow as in yellowfin tuna. As in back-breaking, arm-stretching brutes. As in succulent fillets worth every ounce of pain and suffering.


David A. Brown

Several lakes south of the border possibly offer anglers their best chance at a double-digit bass. Right now, there are three lakes worth visiting. El Salto has been the king of largemouth lakes for several years now, and its reign as one of the world’s best destinations continues. Most serious bass anglers have read about El Salto, or actually fished the lake, many times in recent years.


Matt Williams

FLW Outdoors Magazine takes a look at inshore and offshore hot spots.


Mike Marsh

Light-tackle fun for the skinny-flat stepchild
It doesn’t make sense. Anglers tend to ignore or overlook one of the more dynamic challenges in saltwater and the chance to fight an oversized competitor on relatively light tackle. Those who fish primarily in fresh water will never get a better chance to take on the biggest fish they ever battled when they visit the salt.


Mark Sosin

Quest for a giant smallmouth on the John Day River
I don’t know of many anglers lacking a sweet spot for battling a bruiser smallmouth in a swift stream. Drifting through shallow, cold, clear water, casting to an eddy behind a big boulder and just knowing a muscled smallmouth is about to rush out of a shadow and clobber your lure is as good as it gets.


Will Brantley

Angling ambiance blends with historic significance
There’s a select group of angling oases where local communities so clearly emanate piscatorial tradition that the towns seem to be steeped in a briny broth of reel-screaming history.


David A. Brown

The character and characters of small towns built around walleye fishing
All across this great land, walleyes and walleye fishing go hand-in-hand with small-town hospitality. Think about it. Other than the Great Lakes, most walleye waters are somewhat off the beaten path, often along a lonely back road on the way to other, more distant waters.


Dave Csanda

On Aug. 11, the most lucrative event in professional bass fishing, the Forrest Wood Cup, will kick off on Logan Martin Lake near Birmingham, Ala. The tournament is certain to produce impressive catches of the infamous Coosa River spotted bass – one of the most tenacious sport-fish species.


Chris Eubanks