Thursday, we’re all going to celebrating the 243rd birthday of this great country we get to call home. Home to the largest public lands and countless miles of fishing water. We are lucky to have some of the coolest species on the planet. If you’re lucky enough to have the 4th off, we hope you’ll join us and celebrate America’s special day by playing in the great outdoors and chasing one of her native fish species. We’ve listed our 5 favorites here and no matter where you’re located, you can take a few hours and try your hand at landing one!
Native to the Eastern US, from Maine all the way south to Georgia, these once mighty char might take the cake as far as looks go. The largest native Brookies are found deep in the north woods of Maine. In many areas when the first settlers showed up, they measured these fish in pounds and not inches, the Brook Trout has unfortunately been out-competed by other species of trout that were introduced. They now can be found in great numbers countless miles of mountain streams all along the Appalachians, all you need to catch them is some good intel, a handful of dry flies, and a 3 WT rod!
We couldn’t make this list without including arguably, our favorite fish to chase on the fly, ever. Every Spring these fish make their annual spawning run up the East Coast’s great rivers and then spend their Summer making their way up to their summer hunting grounds on the coast of New England. Hard fighting and aggressive, the Stripers are insanely fun to target anywhere on the North East coast on the fly. Just bring along an 8 WT, intermediate line, and a box of big streamers and you’re all set!
These Native American trout are found all up and down the Rocky Mountains and have countless variations as you travel around to each unique drainage. The largest of these subspecies, Lahontans, call the now famous Pyramid Lake home. If you’re looking for a challenge try hiking to a high alpine lake in the mountains with some dry flies and you’re sure to hook up with at least a few of these high-country fish!
These feisty, aggressive South Eastern fish offer one of the coolest saltwater fly fishing experiences you can get. Walking endless Spartina grass flats, you can spot fish with most of their tail out of the water as they feed happily on crabs and shrimp when the grass flats flood. Known to take just about any fly put in the right spot, these fish are a blast on topwater and subsurface flies alike. Pack the gurglers, crab flies and shrimp patterns and start walking if you’re going to be hanging out in the Southeast.
Largemouth & Smallmouth Bass
These 2 species just might be the real MVPs of sport fishing in the USA. Around in just about every freshwater lake and pond in the country, these aggressive green footballs love to eat a fly. For many of us fly anglers, these were the first fish we ever hooked on the fly, and nothing beats a quick stop by the bass pond on the way home from work! So if you’re trapped at a pond side family BBQ this 4th of July, bring along the 5 WT and some poppers, you never know what bunker is lying in wait!
Dan Zazworsky’s passion is sharing his love of fly fishing with anyone that will listen, read or watch. You can find him exploring new waters every day while chasing any fish that will eat a fly!