Are you looking for the next ideal angling destination? Luckily, our great country is home to an endless supply of freshwater bodies full of healthy, ready-to-catch fish. With so many options to choose from, deciding on a location can get challenging. Luckily, our team at Smooth Moves Seats knows a thing or two when it comes to boating activities. Check out our advanced guide on the best states for freshwater fishing. Read on to learn more about the best bodies of water, the most abundant fish, and other essential information about these five states.

5: Maine

Maine’s freshwater lakes are exceptionally bio-diverse and healthy. Anglers can catch a wide variety of trout, including rainbow, brown, and brook, as well as different species of salmon, bass, pike, and muskies. Plus, there’s almost no end to the amount of suitable and enjoyable fishing locations in the Pine Tree State—Maine boasts over 6,000 freshwater lakes, ponds, and reservoirs!

The best freshwater fishing exists in Maine’s Katahdin and Moosehead regions, with Katahdin Lake being quite popular. Moosehead Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Maine and is a hotspot for lake and brook trout. One of the reasons that Maine’s wildlife is thriving so well is the state’s commitment to reducing illegal and invasive species introductions. Before visiting the state, ensure you read up on any and all relevant fishing regulations and take care not to harm the sensitive ecosystem.

4: Florida

Florida is, first and foremost, a saltwater fishing state. But any seasoned angler will tell you that the freshwater fishing opportunities in the Sunshine State are just as numerous and rewarding! In fact, Florida is the world capital for freshwater fisheries, spanning over three million acres of waterways and reservoirs. There are also over 12,000 miles of moving streams, rivers, and canals open all season long.

Lake Okeechobee in central Florida is on the Bassmaster’s Top 100 Lakes list and is the second largest freshwater lake in the US. The high vegetation levels make this a bass-fishing paradise. Other ideal locations for fishing throughout Florida include Lake Kissimmee—home to almost 500 produced trophy fish—and Rodman Reservoir. The Everglades Water Conservation (Areas 2 and 3) boasts superior top-water action in summer and spring, while Lake Istokpoga sees more top-water activity in the colder months. Consider combining saltwater and freshwater excursions when on your Florida trip to maximize your angling opportunities and experiences!

3: Minnesota

We couldn’t make a list of the best states for freshwater fishing without mentioning the Land of 10,000 lakes! This state nickname is no exaggeration—in reality, there are well over 14,000 lakes throughout Minnesota for you to discover. Lake Superior is the largest of these bodies, home to excellent freshwater fishing regardless of the season. Lake trout, walleye, burbot, pike, and whitefish are active year-round in Lake Superior, while more prized king salmon or muskies are present seasonally. However, this Great Lake also has dangerous storms and rocky waters, making it a challenging spot for aspiring anglers.

Luckily, there are at least 13,999 other waterways to visit when fishing in Minnesota! Red Lake, located in Beltrami County, is both the largest natural freshwater lake landlocked within Minnesota’s borders and the 16th largest in the entire United States. With over 100,000 acres of water to explore, this destination is ideal for ambitious trophy fishers. As a bonus, Red Lake is an excellent area for ice fishing in the colder months.

Alternatively, catch-and-release anglers should enjoy Steiger Lake in Carver County. This body of water isn’t nearly as large as others, but it provides consistent action thanks to a healthy supply of large bass and pike. Leech Lake, Lake Vermilion, and Lake Minnetonka are also fantastic options! Regardless of your decision, you can’t go wrong fishing in the North Star State.

2: Alabama

Alabama ranking so high on our list may come as a surprise, but the Heart of Dixie is the ideal fishing spot for serious anglers! The Cotton State is home to well over 1,500 miles of inland freshwater waterways for you to explore and conquer. These bodies of water range from domineering rivers and reservoirs to small creeks and ponds.

The largemouth bass is the most popular target for Alabama anglers, with the largest ever caught weighing in at over 16 pounds (1997, Mtn. View Lake in Shelby). You can also catch brim, crappie, smallmouth bass, catfish, and stripe, and some fishing holes even feature walleye and shoal bass! The most popular fishing location in Alabama is undoubtedly Lake Guntersville, part of the Alamba Bass Trail that’s home to many angler tournaments. However, it’s worth talking to locals to find hidden gems with an abundance of 10+ pound largemouth bass.

1: Michigan

Michigan is famous for offering anglers the broadest access to the Great Lakes, home to incredible freshwater fishing opportunities year-round! Depending on your location in the state, you can venture out to Lake Michigan, Huron, Superior, and Erie. Bowgin, yellow perch, trout, and large/smallmouth bass are the most popular fish to angle in these large bodies of water.

However, seasoned anglers hunt after the massive—sometimes 100 pounds plus—muskies and sturgeons that call the Great Lakes home. But Michigan offers many more freshwater fishing opportunities aside from these lakes. Inland waterways and bodies such as Hubbard Lake, Gun Lake, Union Lake, Saginaw Bay, and Houghton Lake are also well-known for their abundant freshwater life (pike, perch, walleye, and more), ideal water conditions, and overall enjoyable experiences.

There are plenty of amazing fishing locations throughout our wonderful country, each offering anglers a unique and rewarding experience on every single trip. However, the ultimate fishing spots aren’t always hundreds of miles away. Many boating enthusiasts’ favorite watering holes are right down the street or in their backyards!

Regardless of your preferred destination, we at Smooth Moves want to ensure you can enjoy your time on the water for as long as possible. That’s why we proudly carry an easy-to-install air-ride boat seat pedestal that adds superior comfort and support for you and your passengers. Learn more about our shock-absorbing suspension system and browse our selection today!

What Are the Best States for Freshwater Fishing?