Top 10 Summer Fishing Destinations in the U.S.




Boston, Massachusetts


Boston, Massachusetts is a quintessential summer fishing destination, blending urban charm with ample fishing opportunities along the waterfront. A highlight of fishing in Boston is the sheer variety of species available to anglers. Striped bass, known locally as "stripers," are a favorite and can be found in large numbers during the summer months chasing schools of bunker (a baitfish) – even right inside Boston Harbor!. These tough fish have been known to put up a fight, ensuring a thrilling catch.


In addition to striped bass, Boston's waters are home to a wealth of other sought-after species – flounder, bluefish, haddock, cod, and bluefin tuna to name a few. Whether you're casting from shore, trolling along the coastline, or venturing offshore, the possibility of landing a trophy-sized fish is what keeps anglers coming back to Boston each summer.


With panoramic views of its iconic skyline and a diverse range of fish species, Boston secures its spot on our list of the top summer fishing destinations. Visit the official website of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for additional resources and regulations related to recreational saltwater fishing in the state.


Stellwagen Bank, Massachusetts


Fishing is a significant past and present activity at Stellwagen Bank in Massachusetts. The Bank is located about 19 miles from Plymouth, 27 miles from the Cape Cod Canal and 6 miles from Provincetown. Commercial fishing boats have traveled the waters of what is now the sanctuary for centuries.


For any individual who enjoys recreational fishing, the sanctuary offers unique opportunity for tuna fishing as it is relatively close to shore as far as tuna fishing is concerned. In comparison, some areas require you venture anywhere from 50 to 80 miles offshore to find tuna.


Other popular sanctuary species include cod, haddock, hakes, flounders, and redfish. NOAA Fisheries provides detailed information, including description, status, population size, and management actions for most of the commonly fished species in the New England region. NOAA adjusts fishing regulations to reflect conditions, so they may change at any time. To ensure that you’re up to date before making the trip, check the NOAA Fisheries website for information on seasons, size, possession limits, and other requirements.


Portsmouth, New Hampshire


Situated at the mouth of the Piscataqua River, Portsmouth offers access to both freshwater and saltwater fishing grounds. The Piscataqua is one of the fastest flowing navigable rivers in the world and home to a variety of fishing environments with an impressive array of species.


These waters are teeming with life during the summer months, providing ample opportunities for exciting battles and satisfying hauls. In the saltwater, you'll find striped bass, haddock, cod, bluefish, flounder, and even the occasional bluefin tuna. For those who prefer freshwater fishing, nearby rivers and lakes offer their own bounty. The Piscataqua River is home to various freshwater species, including trout, salmon, and bass. A few hotspots to check include Hilton Park at Dover Point, Bloody Point, and the Goat Island Bridge.


With its scenic beauty, diverse fishing opportunities, and abundance of species, Portsmouth is a top-notch summer fishing destination that you’ll want to return to. For help planning your trip, the State of New Hampshire’s Fish and Game division provides a comprehensive fishing guide that outlines locations you can access on shore and by boat.




Michigan City, Indiana


With its proximity to one of the Great Lakes, Michigan City offers a blend of scenic beauty and ample fishing opportunities. Whether trolling the shoreline or venturing into deeper waters, anglers have a chance at catching a wide variety of freshwater favorites, including salmon, trout, walleye, yellow perch, and Skamania steelhead.


Water temperatures close to shore rise in late spring. This change drives most salmonids into offshore waters that are deeper and cooler. Through the end of July, boat anglers in pursuit of trout and salmon typically see the best success at a depth between 70 and 200 feet.

For those closer to shore, Minnows, crayfish, shrimp and crab can be fished at depths less than forty feet during the spring and through September. Yellow perch also move closer to the shoreline during these months.


With its natural beauty and fishing opportunities, Michigan City, Indiana, stands out as a premier destination and secures a spot on our list of best places to fish in the summer months. You can learn more about fishing rules and regulations on Lake Michigan from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources


St. Joseph River, Michigan


Located in southwestern Michigan, the St. Joseph River is a picturesque fishing destination that offers the chance to reel in brown trout, catfish, salmon, lake perch, rainbow trout, and whitefish. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, there’s always something new to learn and discover while fishing on Lake Michigan.


The river contains several public access points, boat launches, and fishing piers, making it easy for visitors to explore its many fishing hotspots. For those staying in the area, there are several parks, campgrounds, and recreational facilities that provide the opportunity to unwind after a day out on the water. To learn more about fishing access on St. Joseph River, visit Berrien County’s official website.


Catawba Island, Ohio


One of five Lake Erie Islands parks, Catawba Island serves as a gateway to Ohio's Great Lake. It’s an ideal destination for freshwater fishing enthusiasts. Catawba Island provides anglers with a diverse range of fishing experiences, making it perfect for those seeking adventure on the water. Lake Erie is renowned for its exceptional fishing, as anglers can expect to reel in a bounty of freshwater favorites, including walleye, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, and white bass.


Beyond the fishing itself, Catawba Island offers a wealth of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. From scenic nature trails and beaches to charming shops and restaurants, there's something for everyone to explore in this quaint island community. To ensure your up-to-speed on the state’s fishing regulations and license requirements, head to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ website.




Lake Chatuge, Georgia


As one of Georgia's premier reservoirs, Lake Chatuge is a great destination for fishing enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels. Many visitors are drawn to the reservoir for its thirty-two fish species. Lake Chatuge is known for its big hybrid striped bass, healthy largemouth bass population, and its growing numbers of hefty spotted bass. The 6,500-acre reservoir is smaller than many of the surrounding lakes, making finding these fish easier for anglers.


The lake was once known for its population of smallmouth bass, which have declined in recent years. The spotted bass have claimed the position at the top of the food chain in much of the lake, outcompeting the smallmouths. Fishermen also enjoy catching catfish, bream, and crappie. Late spring and early summer are the best times of the year to visit the lake, as both the spotted bass and hybrids will school up and feed on the surface sporadically throughout the day, creating an excellent opportunity for topwater bites.


Furthermore, Lake Chatuge is the ideal setting for escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Surrounded by hills and forests, anglers that visit the lake can reconnect with nature while waiting for the perfect catch. We recommend preparing for your trip by checking out the Lake Chatuge Chamber of Commerse website.


Virginia Beach, Virginia


Located along the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay, Virginia Beach is an excellent summer fishing destination. The area offers anglers a wealth of options, from surf fishing along beaches to deep-sea excursions. Anglers are drawn to Virginia Beach each year for the opportunity to reel in a wide variety of fish including striped bass, summer flounder (fluke), red drum, black sea bass, weakfish, spadefish, cobia, and Spanish mackerel.


In addition to its diverse saltwater species, Virginia Beach has a range of fishing amenities and services. The city is home to numerous fishing piers, marinas, and charter services, making it easy for visitors to get out on the water and explore fishing hotspots in the area.


Whether you’re seeking a relaxing or exciting fishing experience, Virginia Beach can accommodate. Stunning coastal beauty and prime fishing amenities solidify this area as a ideal destination for anglers everywhere. Learn more about saltwater fishing in Virginia Beach by heading to the City of Virginia Beach website. 


Charleston, SC


Charleston's unique geography plays a role in its appeal as a fishing destination and is a key reason why it made our list. The city is surrounded by tidal creeks, marshes, and estuaries. The diverse range of habitats creates ideal nurseries and feeding grounds for numerous fish species and offers a picturesque setting for anglers.


Along the coast, redfish, speckled trout, and flounder are waiting in the in the shallows those staying inshore. Further offshore, anglers can target larger game fish such as mahi-mahi and marlin. There is an abundance of migratory species that come in the warmer months – and leave when temperatures cool. These include croaker, pompano, spot, whiting, flounder, tripletail bluefish, tarpon, weakfish, spadefish, cobia, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, sharks and more.


Charleston, South Carolina, emerges as a top summer fishing destination, drawing anglers from near and far with its Southern charm and abundant waters. Blessed with a year-round subtropical climate and a rich maritime ecosystem, fishing enthusiasts of all skill levels are sure to have an enjoyable experience. To learn about fishing trends in Charleston including popular marine species, recreational regulations and more, visit the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ website. 




Portland, Oregon


Renowned for its access to both freshwater rivers and the nearby Pacific Ocean, Portland has great appeal for anglers of all ages and skill levels. Its diverse waterways are home to abundant fish populations.


The city's rivers and streams are home to prized game fish such as salmon, sturgeon, steelhead, trout, and smallmouth bass. In addition to freshwater fishing, Portland presents world-class saltwater fishing opportunities along the Oregon coast. From the ports of Astoria and Tillamook to the shores of Cannon Beach and Pacific City, anglers can target a variety of saltwater species, including salmon, halibut, lingcod, and Dungeness crab.


After returning to land, we recommend checking out Portland's vibrant culinary scene which offers plenty of opportunities to sample the day's catch at one of the city's renowned seafood restaurants or local fish markets. Head to the official website of the City of Portland, Oregon for more information related to fishing in the city’s parks.


Getting Started

One of the best ways to explore a variety of fishing destinations is through a shared boat access –  particularly boat club membership, as offered by Freedom Boat Club. For a monthly subscription, you can experience unlimited boating in your local area and unlock the ability to book reservations at 400+ global locations across North America, Europe, and Australia.


We have locations at all the destinations referenced in this article. Click the links below to learn more about the area and how to join the club:


·       Boston: Freedom Boat Club of Boston Seaport

·       Stellwagen Bank: Freedom Boat Club of Cataumet

·       Portsmouth: Freedom Boat Club of Portsmouth New Hampshire

·       Michigan City:  Freedom Boat Club of Michigan City

·       St. Joseph’s River: Freedom Boat Club of St. Joseph

·       Catawba Island: Freedom Boat Club of Marblehead & Catawba Island

·       Lake Chatuge: Freedom Boat Club of Lake Chatuge

·       Virginia Beach: Freedom Boat Club of Norfolk East Beach

·       Charleston: Freedom Boat Club of Charleston City Marina

·       Portland: Freedom Boat Club of Portland Oregon


And if you’re looking for more boating inspiration this season, check out our previous blogs that highlights the Top 10 Summer Boating Destinations in North America.

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