Best Family-Friendly Places to Fish & Boat in 2017

By Debbie Hanson

May 17, 2017

Check out the highlights from the 2017 Best Family-Friendly Places to Fish and Boat list. Celebrities, fishing professionals, federal and state representatives share their best places.

Hey fishing fans! This is Debbie Hanson and I’m here at Webb Lake in Florida to officially announce, on behalf of Take Me Fishing, the 2017 best family-friendly places to fish and boat.

This year, the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation hooked celebrities, fishing professionals, and federal and state representatives to curate the official 2017 Best Family-Friendly Places to Fish and Boat. The complete list is available at the websites and The announcement of the list comes in a perfect timing: Just prior to the big celebration of National Fishing and Boating Week, which runs from June 3rd through June 11th.

Completely new this year, an exciting group of distinguished contributors and experts have sourced the list, sharing their favorite family-friendly fishing and boating spots. Country music star Luke Bryan headlines this year’s contributors, alongside fellow musician Justin Moore, pro football player Alejandro Villanueva and a host of industry experts. 

Here are highlights of what can you expect from the entire list of best places to get out on the water with your family and friends:

•    Webb Lake, Fla. –I just love the fishing at wildlife at Webb Lake. “Not only is Webb Lake great for numbers of largemouth bass and bluegill, but there are also some fantastic wildlife viewing opportunities. I've spotted sandhill cranes, great blue herons and white-tailed deer on my visits.”

•    Percy Priest Lake, Tenn. – Country music star Luke Bryan admits “a good fisherman never shares his best spot,” but thank goodness he still offers up his favorite place to escape his fast-paced world for some relaxing time on the water. Known for “Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day,” Bryan’s favorite spot near Nashville is a natural addition to this year’s list. Bryan also has a clothing line of the same name available at Cabela’s, and fans can catch the country megastar's tour this summer… “Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day.

•    Presque Isle Bay, Pa. – Professional offensive lineman and former Army Ranger, Alejandro “Big Al” Villanueva, picked this popular spot on Lake Erie, and knows a thing or two about the importance of good tackle and a strong line. When he’s not protecting the quarterback, Al says, “I spend a lot of my free time fishing and really cherish any time on the water.”

•    Degray Lake, Ark. – Having grown up in nearby Poyen, Ark., country music singer Justin Moore often frequented Degray Lake as a young boy, and passed down his love of fishing to his own kids. He remembers, “watching my oldest daughter catch her first fish all by herself has to be my favorite moment out there.”

•    Texas City Dyke, Texas – Professional angler Cindy Nguyen added this spot, noting, “I grew up fishing in Texas City Dyke and the surrounding areas. It’s still one of my favorite places to bring the family.”

•    Central Park, N.Y. – Host of South Bend’s Lunkerville, Michael de Avila, better known to his fans as Mike D., picked an unexpected fishing oasis in the middle of the nation’s largest city. Central Park actually offers three unique family-friendly spots at the lake, the pond and the Harlem Meer.

•    South Padre Island, Texas Pedro Sors, professional angler and Mexico’s most popular fishing TV show host, chose this popular spot for its ability to provide he and his sons with a sense of freedom and a way to connect with nature and himself.

•    Buckeye Creek, Calif. Chelsea Day of the Someday I’ll Learn blog, fondly recalls memories at this picturesque spot in the eastern Sierras. “Our oldest son caught his first fish at this spot, and it was really special to be able to cook it right up and serve it for dinner at the campsite. Such a sense of accomplishment for him!" she says.

So, to see if your favorite spot made this year’s list or to find new places to explore, you can visit and check for their interactive map of places to go fishing and boating. Tight lines and happy fishing, this is Debbie Hanson for
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.