Best States for Fishing 2023

Fishing is a great way to enjoy nature and even catch your next meal in the process. 52.4 million Americans fished in 2021, taking over 890 million fishing trips.

There are five methods for fishing: bait fishing, fly fishing, bait-casting, spinning, and trolling. These five methods are all used in north freshwater and saltwater angling. Bait fishing is the oldest and most universally used method for fishing. Beyond these five main methods are many other techniques you can use. Methods and techniques are chosen for certain types of fish, and their migration, foraging, and habitat.

Every state in the U.S. has its own rules and regulations regarding fishing. Some states do not require fishing licenses while others do. For example, in California, fishing is considered a right according to the Constitution of the State of California. Additionally, a license in one state may not be honored in another state. There are great fishing destinations in all 50 U.S. states. Preference of fishing location may boil down to proximity to home, the type of fishing you’re looking to catch, and whether you want to freshwater fish or saltwater fish. Heading to a landlocked state for saltwater fishing is not as ideal as heading to a coastal state.

A 2021 study by Lawn Love ranked all fifty states and the District of Columbia according to 22 total metrics to find the best states for fishing. Community interest, access to gear and bait shops, proximity to water, and affordability of necessary licenses were all taken into consideration when ranking the states. The top five states for fishing according to this survey are listed below.


Florida calls itself the “Fishing Capital of the World,” and with good reason. Because of its climate, Florida provides year-round opportunities for fishing enthusiasts. Florida offers many different fishing locations with 7,700 lakes, 2,276 miles of tidal shoreline, and 10,550 miles of rivers. According to the Lawn Love survey, Florida ranks first in the country for most fishing charters and guides, helpful to new or prospective anglers. Each year Florida issues more than 720,000 fishing licenses, permits, and tags to non-residents, more than any other state in the country.


Alaska has over 47,000 miles of tidal shoreline accessible for fishing, with even more opportunities in the state’s many lakes and rivers. Alaska is a true dream destination for anglers. The city of Ketchikan is nicknamed the “Salmon Capital of the World,” and over 30% of its population work in the fishing industry. It is a popular destination for learning about salmon fishing from professionals who live and breathe it.


Montana is the first state without a tidal shoreline on the top five list, but it ranks highly because of its fishing population. Over half of the state’s population over the age of 16 have fishing licenses. It is also a popular fishing destination for visitors; it issues the second most annual non-resident licenses, taxes, and permits.


Being on the Great Lakes, Minnesota has plenty of fishing available to avid anglers. The community activity, a large variety of different fish, and fishing-related tourism popularity all help Minnesota rank as the fourth best state for fishing. Fishing is available in multiple seasons, as ice fishing is a popular pastime in Minnesota. With almost 12,000 lakes that cover almost 10 acres of surface area, there are plenty of spots for anglers to wet their lines.


Rounding out the top five, Texas shines because of its community of passionate community of anglers and offering the most fishing contests in the United States. The Texas International Fishing Tournament has been a popular two-day tournament for over 80 years. Texas offers both freshwater and saltwater fishing in its 360 miles of coastline and thousands of lakes and rivers.

Best States for Fishing 2023