2018 Top Mom-Approved Places to Fish and Boat in the U.S.
Mom always knows best, so we put them to the test! We asked thousands of mothers across the nation to choose their favorite place to take the family fishing and boating in their home state. The Top Mom-Approved Places to Fish and Boat List was curated by moms, for moms – and for a good reason! Research shows kids are more likely to go fishing with their mom and 45% of new fishing participants last year were women.
To be considered Mom-Approved, each spot must have everything families need to enjoy a day on the water such as playgrounds, picnic areas, easy water access and of course, plenty of fish to catch!
1. Lake Martin in Alabama
All year long, Lake Martin is a great place to reel in a catch. In fact, the lake is known as one of the state's best winter bass fisheries. With more than 700 miles of shoreline, Lake Martin is great for families. It features both private marinas and public facilities, including the nearby Wind Creek State Park. Check the Top Fishing spots in Alabama.
2. Eklutna Tailrace in Alaska
Located in Palmer, this family-friendly site offers ample shore fishing for a variety of fish. Popular catches include Chinook and Coho salmon as well as rainbow trout and Arctic char. A parking area and summer restrooms are available onsite. Check the Top Fishing spots in Alaska.
3. Lake Havasu in Arizona
With excellent campground amenities, Lake Havasu is a great destination for sport fishers and the entire family. The lake is known for huge redear sunfish, but it also offers a variety of fish species. With mild winter temperatures, the "West Coast of Arizona" is an ideal wintertime fishing destination. Check the Top Fishing spots in Arizona.
4. MacArthur Park in Arkansas
Located in the heart of Little Rock, MacArthur Park contains more than 10,000 catchable fish. Some common species include rainbow trout and channel catfish. With a playground, a dog park, a picnic area and restroom facilities all onsite, MacArthur Park is a perfect family fishing destination in Arkansas. Check the Top Fishing spots in Arkansas.
5. Yosemite National Park in California
At Yosemite National Park, families can unplug and connect with nature in the shadow of some of America's most recognizable landscapes. Besides excellent fishing, families can also enjoy ample camping, hiking and riverrafting opportunities. Check the Top Fishing spots in California.
6. Steamboat Lake State Park in Colorado
One of Colorado's hidden gems, Steamboat Lake State Park offers breathtaking views. Besides fishing, families can also spend quality time together hiking, camping and boating. Family-friendly amenities, relaxation and recreation await you at Steamboat Lake State Park. Check the Top Fishing spots in Colorado.
7. Burr Pond in Connecticut
At Burr Pond State Park, anglers typically catch perch, largemouth bass and more. After an afternoon of fishing, families can also hike the park's trails, enjoy a picnic, take a swim and more. Check the Top Fishing spots in Connecticut.
8. Blackbird State Forest in Delaware
A prime spot for catch-and-release fishing, the Blackbird State Forest Fishing Pond is only a 30-minute drive from both Wilmington and Newark. Families can also enjoy nature walks, hiking, jogging and even horseback riding. Check the Top Fishing spots in Delaware.
9. Piney Z Lake in Florida
Open only to non-motorized watercraft, Lake Piney Z is the perfect place to go for a peaceful fishing excursion. Located just outside Tallahassee, the lake is a great fishing spot for families to catch both largemouth bass and sunfish. Check the Top Fishing spots in Florida.
10. Sweetwater Creek State Park in Georgia
Just minutes from downtown Atlanta, Sweetwater Creek State Park is home to the 215-acre George Sparks Reservoir, a popular fishing spot nestled in this peaceful grove of wilderness. Fishing boats, canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and pedal boats are all available to rent onsite. Check the Top Fishing spots in Georgia.
11. Pōka'ī Bay (Oahu) in Hawaii
Located on the island of Oahu, Pōka'ī Bay is less than an hour drive from Honolulu. Offering great views, wildlife and, of course, fishing, Pōka‘ī Bay is a great Hawaiian destination for a family fishing getaway. Check the Top Fishing spots in Hawaii.
12. Dierkes Lake in Idaho
The only way to make a fishing trip better is to add swimming and boating. Dierkes Lake is conveniently located inside a public park. This fishing/boating/swimming area also features a public grilling space and a picnic shelter. Check the Top Fishing spots in Idaho.
Photo credit Stephen Hanfin
13. Kickapoo State Recreation Area in Illinois
The trout are biting at the lakes and streams of Kickapoo State Recreation Area. With breathtaking natural beauty, this is one fishing destination that isn't to be missed. Campgrounds, trails, scuba diving and more make this an all-in-one family getaway. Check the Top Fishing spots in Illinois.
14. Eagle Creek Reservoir in Indiana
Located in one of the nation's largest city parks, Eagle Creek Reservoir offers excellent fishing for bluegill, redear, largemouth bass and catfish. This family-friendly fishing spot includes a beach, picnic areas, boat rentals and more. Check the Top Fishing spots in Indiana.
15. Backbone State Park in Iowa
At Backbone State Park, families can fish for trout, bluegill, crappie and more. A variety of other outdoor activities are also available, including camping, boating and hiking, making Backbone State Park an excellent family-friendly destination. Check the Top Fishing spots in Iowa.
Photo credit Iowa Tourism Office
16. Lake Lenexa in Kansas
Surrounded by the scenic Black Hoof Park, this 30-acre lake is only a short drive from Kansas City. With plentiful shoreline fishing access, Lake Lenexa is ideal for fishing for bluegill, redear sunfish, largemouth bass, channel catfish and more. Family-friendly amenities include shelters, restrooms and playgrounds. Check the Top Fishing spots in Kansas.
17. Lake Cumberland in Kentucky
Lake Cumberland, otherwise known as the houseboat capital of the world, is just a two-hour drive south of Louisville. With more than 50,000 acres, the area has great family-friendly amenities and an abundance of largemouth, smallmouth, white and Kentucky bass, bluegill, crappie, rockfish and walleye. Check the Top Fishing spots in Kentucky.
18. Grand Isle State Park in Louisiana
At Grand Isle State Park, families can enjoy quality time together at multiple beaches. Redfish, spotted trout and Southern flounder are all in plentiful supply. With access to the Gulf of Mexico, Grand Isle State Park is a must-visit family-fishing and boating destination. Check the Top Fishing spots in Louisiana.
Photo Credit Louisiana Office of State Parks
19. Range Pond State Park in Maine
In addition to excellent fishing, Range Pond State Park offers a number of family-friendly waterports options, including canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing and more. A public boat launch makes this an excellent destination for a day of family fun on the water. Check the Top Fishing spots in Maine.
Photo Credit Mike Haggett/Pine Tree Weather
20. Chesapeake Bay at Sandy Point State Park in Maryland
Only a short drive from historic downtown Annapolis, Chesapeake Bay at Sandy Point State Park is perfect for a full day packed with family fun. Playgrounds, camping, a beach and more await you at this top fishing and boating destination. Check the Top Fishing spots in Maryland.
21. Walden Pond in Massachusetts
Just 20 miles west of Boston lies Walden Pond, an excellent fishing spot for catching bass, pumpkinseed, bluegill, chain pickerel and more. Whether fishing from a boat or the shore, Walden Pond offers ample opportunities for family fishing fun. Check the Top Fishing spots in Massachusetts.
22. Ottawa Beach in Michigan
Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, Ottawa Beach is part of Holland State Park. Not only does this destination offer excellent fishing, but it also provides for a full day of family fun with swimming, camping, a playground and more. Check the Top Fishing spots in Michigan.
23. East Moore Lake in Minnesota
A 28-acre lake, East Moore Lake is a great destination for catching a variety of fish, including black bullhead, bluegill and channel catfish. Less than 20 minutes north of Minneapolis, it is an accessible destination for family fishing. Check the Top Fishing spots in Minnesota.
24. Lake Jeff Davis in Mississippi
Stocked with largemouth bass, bream, crappie and catfish, Lake Jeff Davis provides families a safe, clean fishing destination. Other features include nature trails, bicycle trials, boat ramps, fishing piers and campgrounds. Check the Top Fishing spots in Mississippi.
25. Lake of the Ozarks State Park in Missouri
One of Missouri's largest lakes, Lake of the Ozarks State Park is also a prime fishing destination. Anglers can catch bass, crappie, walleye and more. With a secluded cove and a shady campsite, Lake of the Ozarks State Park makes for a perfect fishing getaway. Check the Top Fishing spots in Missouri.
26. Spring Meadow Lake in Montana
Spring Meadow Lake offers a wealth of fishing options from the shore, wooden docks and boats. The lake contains a number of popular fish species, including rainbow trout, channel catfish and walleye. Check the Top Fishing spots in Montana.
Photo Credit Roger Lynn
27. Lake Ogallala in Nebraska
Lake Ogallala is a well-known fishing destination, especially for rainbow trout, yellow perch and channel catfish. At 320 acres, it is a small lake with very tranquil waters, as nearby Kingsley Dam shields the lake from wind. It has a wheelchair-accessible fishing dock in addition to public boat ramps and cleaning stations that make fishing and boating a breeze. Check the Top Fishing spots in Nebraska.
28. Angel Lake in Nevada
Angel Lake is a glacial pool that sits at 8,000 feet of elevation in the East Humboldt Range. Non-motorized rafts are allowed in the water, and the entire perimeter of the lake is fishable from the shore. Due to its high elevation and snow pack, Angel Lake is accessible from June until the first heavy snows in October or November. It is stocked with brook, rainbow and tiger trout. Check the Top Fishing spots in Nevada.
Photo Credit TravelNevada
29. Lake Winnipesaukee at Ellacoya State Park in New Hampshire
Ellacoya State Park is located on the southwest shore of Lake Winnipesaukee in the heart of New Hampshire's Lakes Region. The long, sandy beach has wonderful views of the mountains and plenty of space to fish, bike, swim and picnic with the family. Expect to catch trout, perch, smelt, pickerel and bluegill from the shore. Check the Top Fishing spots in New Hampshire.
30. Round Valley Reservoir in New Jersey
Round Valley Reservoir is known for its pristine clear blue waters that reflect the surrounding Cushetunk Mountains. The shores are perfect for swimmers, boaters, fishers and picnickers. It also boasts wilderness camping sites that are only reachable by hiking or boating. You can expect to catch largemouth and smallmouth bass, pickerel, catfish and sunfish. Check the Top Fishing spots in New Jersey.
31. Eagle Nest Lake in New Mexico
Eagle Nest Lake is surrounded by the stunning scenery of the high mountains of the Moreno Valley. At 8,300 feet in elevation, the park offers a cool retreat from the summer heat for anglers, boaters, campers, hikers and wildlife enthusiasts. This alpine lake is regularly stocked with trout and salmon. Anglers can fish from the shore or a boat. Check the Top Fishing spots in New Mexico.
32. Central Park in New York
Central Park is a world-famous destination that provides a host of amenities that will keep any family busy. Three bodies of water are available for fishing: Harlem Meer, Central Park Lake and Central Park Pond. Harlem Meer is the most popular and accessible for fishing. The waters support a wide variety of fish including black crappie, pumpkinseed sunfish, chain pickerel and carp. Check the Top Fishing spots in New York.
33. Lake Norman in North Carolina
Located just 20 miles from uptown Charlotte, Lake Norman is the ideal place to escape the city for fun on the water. Lake Norman is a water sports haven that offers wakeboarding, rowing, kayaking, fishing, boating and sailing. The waters are stocked with a wide variety of fish, with striped bass being the most popular, followed by blue and channel catfish, bluegill, crappie, bullhead and more. Check the Top Fishing spots in North Carolina.
34. Harmon Lake in North Dakota
Harmon Lake has a public swimming beach in addition to a children's playground, picnic shelters, camping sites, kayak launches, boat ramps and a floating fishing pier. It's a great place to introduce kids to fishing, as there's plentiful sandy shoreline and the lake is well-stocked with trout, northern pike, largemouth bass, crappie and bluegill. Check the Top Fishing spots in North Dakota.
Photo credit North Dakota Tourism
35. Mohican State Park in Ohio
Mohican State Park and the adjacent state forest are outstanding, offering limitless opportunities for visitors to explore Ohio’s natural beauty. Visitors can enjoy kayaking, tubing, canoeing, swimming, fishing and boating in the Clear Fork River and Mohican River that run through the park, in addition to nearby Pleasant Hill Lake. Check the Top Fishing spots in Ohio.
36. Arcadia Lake in Oklahoma
Arcadia Lake lies completely within the limits of Oklahoma City and Edmond. It has space for swimming, water skiing, kayaking and boating, in addition to campsites, a disc golf course, a fishing pier and a heated, covered dock for year-round fishing. The Arcadia Conservation Education Area hosts weekly clinics to teach basic fishing skills like rigging tackle and cleaning fish. Check the Top Fishing spots in Oklahoma.
37. McKenzie River in Oregon
This spring-fed tributary is one of the most stocked rivers in all of Oregon. More than 20 fish species, including wild trout, spring chinook and summer steelhead, all swim its waters. Nearby family-friendly activities include hiking and biking along a shoreline trail. Check the Top Fishing spots in Oregon.
38. Lake Lackawanna in Pennsylvania
Conveniently located within a short distance of Scranton in northeastern Pennsylvania, this 1,445-acre lake has plenty of room to fish for sunfish, crappie, bass and trout. The park has family-friendly facilities and is also a nice place to go camping, have a picnic or rent a boat. Check the Top Fishing spots in Pennsylvania.
39. Colt State Park in Rhode Island
The entire western border of Colt State Park is an open panorama of Narragansett Bay. The spectacular shorelines are the perfect place to explore tidal pools, boat, fish and swim in saltwater. The area is rich in history and features a museum, the popular Chapel-By-The-Sea and a newly renovated fishing pier. Check the Top Fishing spots in Rhode Island.
40. Lake Murray in South Carolina
Located a few miles northwest of downtown Columbia, Lake Murray is a popular destination to escape busy urban life. The lake’s 649 miles of shoreline and clear spring-fed waters make fishing fun and easy. Lake Murray Pier is a great spot to drop a line and catch largemouth bass, striper, shellcracker and crappie. Lake Murray also has numerous marinas, boat launches, parks and swimming beaches to enjoy. Check the Top Fishing spots in South Carolina.
41. Farm Island Recreation Area in South Dakota
Farm Island Recreation Area provides easy access to the Missouri River and a large backwater area for opportunities to fish from along the entire shoreline or a boat. Catfish, walleye, smallmouth bass and black crappie can be caught from several fishing pods and a large floating dock found along an area called the causeway. The area also has a swimming beach and a large playground. Check the Top Fishing spots in South Dakota.
42. Kentucky Lake at Paris Landing State Park in Tennessee
Paris Landing State Park is located on the western shore of the Tennessee River, which is dammed to form Kentucky Lake. The park is the perfect location for all water sports such as fishing, boating, swimming and water skiing. Fishing at its finest is found on beautiful Kentucky Lake and the park is equipped with a fishing pier and more than 100 species of freshwater fish. Check the Top Fishing spots in Tennessee.
43. Lake Buchanan in Texas
Lake Buchanan is a great place to enjoy all that the Texas Hill Country has to offer. Popular with boaters, campers and anglers, the lake boasts unique granite gravel shores ideal for swimming and exploring. The lake is noted for its excellent striped bass and white bass fishing. Check the Top Fishing spots in Texas.
44. Mirror Lake in Utah
Mirror Lake is situated at the base of Bald Mountain in the Uinta Mountains. It offers picturesque campgrounds in the forest in addition to canoeing, kayaking, swimming and fishing. An interpretive nature trail circles the lake, which is well known for rainbow trout. Hiking, biking and off-road vehicle trails are also easily accessible from the lake. Check the Top Fishing spots in Utah.
45. Lake Bomoseen State Park in Vermont
Lake Bomoseen State Park is located on the shores of its namesake lake in the Taconic Mountains. The park encompasses more than 2,000 acres and includes several hiking trails that provide great exploration and wildlife-viewing opportunities. Boating, fishing and swimming are popular in Lake Bomoseen and nearby Glen Lake, where you can reel in northern pike, brown trout, bass and yellow perch. Check the Top Fishing spots in Vermont.
46. Lake Orange in Virginia
An angler's paradise, Lake Orange became popular for producing the world record white bass in 1989. The lake is accessed on the western side where the boat ramp, fishing pier, picnic facilities and plenty of great shoreline access can be found. Lake Orange supports a wide variety of fish species including largemouth bass, bluegill, sunfish, black crappie, channel catfish and walleye. Check the Top Fishing spots in Virginia.
47. Hood Canal in Puget Sound in Washington
Hood Canal is a natural fjord in Puget Sound that offers anglers the unique chance to reel in migratory salmon from small boats and numerous shoreline access sites during the fall and winter. It is also well known for sea-run coastal cutthroat trout and steelhead fishing. The waters provide a scenic view of the Olympic Mountains year-round and a great escape from the urban Seattle scene. Check the Top Fishing spots in Washington.
48. Little Beaver Lake in West Virginia
Little Beaver State Park is a day-use park that offers many outdoor recreational opportunities. At the center of the park is an 18-acre lake where anglers may fish year-round for largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie and channel catfish. Nearly 20 miles of trails challenge hikers, while picnic areas are perfect for family get-togethers and reunions. Check the Top Fishing spots in West Virginia.
49. Devil's Lake in Wisconsin
Devil's Lake is the largest and the most visited in Wisconsin. It offers magnificent views from 500-foot quartzite bluffs overlooking a 360-acre lake. Enjoy lakeshore picnic areas, sandy swimming beaches, 29 miles of hiking trails or ease into the backcountry solitude. Devil's Lake is a beautiful year-round park with an intriguing natural history along the 1,000-mile Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Check the Top Fishing spots in Wisconsin.
50. Glendo Lake in Wyoming
Glendo Lake is a recreational paradise for boaters, anglers and water-sport enthusiasts located 100 miles north of Cheyenne. With 12,000 acres of water and 10,000 acres of land, Glendo State Park is best known for its excellent boating, water skiing and fishing opportunities. It is one of the state’s best walleye fisheries early in the season. Check the Top Fishing spots in Wyoming.
Photo credit Wyoming State Parks
Bruna Carincotte brings to RBFF an extensive International experience in marketing, communications and public relations. Originally from Brazil, and fluent in Portuguese, Spanish and English, Bruna has 13 years of experience in communications, with relevant project management skills developed in Latin America, Europe and North America.
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