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America’s Best Fishing Parks

by Matt Straw   |  August 24th, 2012 2

Just under a year ago, I was fishing silver salmon with Brian Kratzer of Angler’s Guide Service on the Olympic Peninsula, which has quite a few parks—including the Olympic National Park, which shares the peninsula with about six state parks and a number of country parks. Gives you some small indication of just how magnificent the Olympic Peninsula is.

The Take Me Fishing campaign recently released its list of the Top 8 State Parks for Boating and Fishing in America. And without further ado, they voted for:



Having been to only a couple of these sites, it’s hard to argue.  And Take Me Fishing, which is part of the Boating & Fishing Foundation, stated the top votes in this election went to the best parks for “fishing, boating, and water-borne family fun,” according to the Outdoor Hub.

But what if the list focused entirely on fishing opportunities? After all, In-Fisherman caters to bachelors, hermits, “fishing widow” makers, and inspired angling couples as well as traditional family men. For instance, my list would have to include Washington’s Bogachiel State Park, out of pure predjudice. Caught quite a few steelhead on the Bogachiel during earlier visits years ago with my friend Dan Ross (who now books travel and guides in Costa Rica). And it’s on that magnificent peninsula we were just talking about.

We can all certainly make our own lists. In fact, I think I shall. In the near future I’ll reveal my own list of the best state parks purely for fishing across the United States.

In the meantime, the salmon run, Midwest style, is upon us. August is when the kings of the Great Lakes begin making upstream journeys. The Kings of August are still silver, still mean, and vastly underfished. Conventional wisdom has it kings run late September through October. Truth is kings run from July through November in the age of global warming. In my many years with In-Fisherman, we’ve discussed targeting August  kings with fly rods, spawn under floats, crankbaits, and spinners. We’ve detailed and filmed trolling river mouths with plugs.

Time for something different.






  • RJP

    Are you serious?? While Lake Murray is a beautiful state park, and a wonderful lake for boating, the fishing is not on par with many within 300 miles.
    Beautiful lake, but the fishing is so, so.

  • Leon

    Lake Murray is a beautiful lake, and I agree with Dale, the fishing is only so so. Lake Texhoma is a very nice lake, and lots of fishing. The Olympic Peninsula, as stated by the author, is magnificent, not only for family, but for fishing, and the scenery cannot be beat. Lake Travis is a beautiful lake, and fishing can be good, if you know where to look. One of my favorites is Table Rock Lake for fishing and boating. I've never fished Lake Tahoe, but you can't beat the scenery there either. I'm not sure how you can rate just a few lakes as being the best to go, because every state has at least one place that could be considered "best". I can list at least 20 lakes in Texas other than the ones above that I would put in this category, Washington state is another that has an abundance of such places, include Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

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