Kayak fishing is a uniquely exhilarating experience. Unlike traditional fishing, kayak fishing doesn’t involve any heavy machinery or a whole squad of people helping you reel in a big catch. Instead, it’s a tug-of-war between you and your catch—may the best man win. Kayak fishing takes the sport back to its roots, offering the most natural and simplified way to reel in dinner.
The United States is home to numerous noteworthy locations for kayak fishing, but in order to make this list, destinations have to take our breath away and offer some seriously awesome fish. Continue reading to see why these top kayak fishing destinations deserve a spot on your bucket list.
#1. Kona Coast in Hawaii
Calling all experienced paddlers looking to hook massive fish while surrounded by jaw dropping beauty! Known as “the Land of the Giants,” Kona Coast is easily one of the most well-known and commonly referenced sites when it comes to kayak fishing. The lake is huge, the scenery is magical, and the fish are truly worth baiting. Catfish, spotted bass, largemouth and smallmouth bass, sunfish and more; there are so many fish in these thriving waters. Just watch out for the tiger sharks that live in the area!
Bonus perks: The lake is easy to access via a dock on the east side. Plus, local campsites offer the perfect spot to hang your rod for the night and enjoy a multi-day adventure.
#2. Okmulgee Lake in Oklahoma
Located right outside the city of Okmulgee, Oklahoma, Okmulgee Lake is ideal for kayak fishing. To make it even more exciting, a narrow flatwater canal, ideal for kayakers to pass through, connects to a second lake known as Dripping Springs. Okmulgee Lake is especially beautiful at sunrise, and locals say you can’t beat the mystifying sunsets visible from Dripping Springs.
#3. Pompano Beach, Florida
Pompano’s proximity to an ocean inlet offers easy access to the reef and wrecks located just one mile offshore. You’re in ocean waters, but the average current here is around one knot and runs parallel to the reef line. As a result, you can slowly drift along the reef line without using too much energy.
There’s a reason the Extreme Kayak Fishing Tournament is held here every year. South Florida is closer to big-game fishing than anywhere else in the US. Common species found here include kingfish, wahoo, mahi mahi, cobia, sailfish, and black fin tuna.
#4. Indian River Lagoon in Florida
While you’re in Florida, you might as well check out the Indian River Lagoon, one of the best spots for salt water fishing, as well as one of North America’s most biologically diverse estuaries. This popular year-round hot spot is full of speckled trout, redfish and tarpon. As far as accommodations go, there are plenty of campsites to choose from, and several hotels too.
The Indian River Lagoon was recently victim to a toxic algae bloom, but for the first time in a year, the waters are once again beautifully blue and full of life.
#5. Devils River in Texas
There’s good reason experienced fishermen flock to Texas’ Devils River. The river is located off the beaten path, making it the perfect kayak fishing destination when you want to escape civilization. If you’re seeking fancy campgrounds, don’t come here. ‘Round these parts, you’re on your own when it comes to setting up camp, but for some of us, that’s half the fun.
Devils River remains one of the most ecologically intact waterways in Texas, and the Texas parks system plans to keep it that way. Devils River is only recommended for “experienced paddlers equipped to spend at least three days in a remote area,” according to the local wildlife website.
#6. Lewiston Lake in California
Northern California is well-known for its awesome fishing spots, including the beautiful and pristine Lewiston Lake. First and foremost, the waters are full of fish, including trophy-sized Rainbow and Eagle Lake Rainbow trout. There are also plenty of brook, bass, brown trout, chinook salmon, bluegill and catfish too. Be warned, as you glide across the water surrounded by dense marshlands, thick forests, and stunning mountains, the scenery may distract you from fishing.
Lewiston Lake is open for fishing all year, from sunrise to sunset. Even in the hottest months, the cool mountain breeze that blows over the lake makes it one of the more comfortable locations for kayak fishing.
#7. Deer Creek Conservation Area in Maryland
Motorized boats are banned from this serene creek, giving kayakers the perfect place to set up shop and catch some fish. And there are plenty of fish living in this healthy body of water, which is teeming with largemouth bass, trout, and other species. You don’t need to be a pro angler to enjoy kayak fishing in this peaceful paradise.
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