Fishing in a National Park

A friend recently asked if I've ever gone fishing in a National Park. My answer? Just about every day.

The Cape Cod National Seashore, established by the late President John F. Kennedy, is in my backyard. It's 40 miles long and encompasses 43,607 acres of pristine sandy beaches, marshes and ponds. That's 68 square miles of some of the best fishing on the Eastern Seaboard, with the notable fishing towns of Chatham, Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro, and Provincetown leading that list. They're a wonderful testimony to open space, clean water, and outdoor activities that we all can enjoy.

The beaches in those towns are named, and if you've picked up a magazine or read an online fishing report for the area you know them already: Nauset, Coast Guard, Newcomb Hollow, Longnook, High Head, and Race Point, among others. They've been written about for decades. And the only changes to the beaches comes from Mother Nature herself.

One might not think that an area surround by the ocean offers quality freshwater fishing but you can find that here, too. Within the National Park are 20 kettle ponds ranging in size from 2 to 100 acres and from 6 to 65 feet in depth. Some of the deeper ponds hold brown, rainbow and brook trout while the shallower ponds are loaded with largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, yellow and white perch and pickerel.

Because these beaches and ponds are protected they are also natural. You won't find condominium complexes cluttered along the shore. You'll find sand, woods, water and fish. Non-fishermen toss footballs on the beach, while others rent kayaks or SUP boards and paddle. A few beaches are open to driving, and fishermen with 4x4's can buy an oversand permit which provides an opportunity to go far off the beaten path. It's all in the quest of finding fish.

National Parks are established for our outdoor enjoyment, and you can even vote for your favorite right here. It's comforting to know that they won't be developed, and that fact alone makes them worth visiting. National Parks like the one I'm blessed to call my home waters are a natural treasure. If you get the chance, try and visit one this year. You'll be glad you did.


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Tom Keer

Tom Keer

Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program.  Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits.  When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters.  His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011.  Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or at www.thekeergroup.com.