Running a multi-day fishing trip may be America’s ultimate outdoor recreation. It’s like being one with adventure.
If you’re looking for the perfect fishing trip that’ll last longer than an afternoon, hop on a boat and cast a line on one of these iconic fishing rivers.
Rogue River, Oregon
The Rogue is more than just a fishing river; it’s a National Wild and Scenic River and the spot for one of America’s iconic wilderness trips — a gorge canyon filled with Wild West history, whitewater, adventure and fish.
You’ve got plenty of steelheads and fall Chinook and coho salmon to keep you happy for 84 miles of paddling.
The Rogue is also one of the world’s few rivers where lodges and cabins accessible only by boat or small plane dot the river, offering the comforts of home in the remoteness of nature.
When to go: October is the best time for the biggest variety of fish.
How to get there: Head down Interstate 5 from Portland about 240 miles to Grants Pass. Most trips on the Rogue start in or around that area.
Smith River, Montana
The Smith River is the premier fly-fishing destination in the U.S., and according to many, the fishing in this 60-mile section of river is out of this world.
Managed by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, the Smith River is a pristine remote wilderness where catches of up to 20-inch trout can be common. Enjoy five days of floating down the river and catching brown, rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout.
When to go: May through July, and September
How to get there: Fly into Helena and drive east on US-12 to White Sulphur Springs.
Deschutes River, Oregon
Enjoy three to five days of pure steelhead heaven on this 45-mile section. The Deschutes offers lots of scenery, plenty of fish and some good angling and fly-fishing. Drift the upper part from Warm Springs to Maupin.
When to go: July through November — early season on the lower part and late season for the upper section
How to get there: Head east on Interstate 84, then south on US-197 right into town.
French Broad, North Carolina
The French Broad, right in downtown Asheville, is a smallmouth-bass hotbed with surprisingly few anglers snatching the opportunity. The river also has a 140-mile section designated as a recreational water trail, with 117 miles of it in North Carolina.
Campsites line the river every 10 or so miles and are managed by the Western North Carolina Alliance, so you can plan anything from an overnighter to a two-week-long fishing trip.
This combination of characteristics makes the French Broad one of the most accessible multi-day fishing rivers in the US.
When to go: July through October for clear water
How to get there: Asheville is at the juncture of Interstates 40 and 26. It’s also a major flight destination from Atlanta, Knoxville and Charlotte.
Upper Delaware River, New York/Pennsylvania
The Upper Delaware became designated as a Wild and Scenic River in 1978, which means the National Park Service must protect and maintain the natural ecosystem in and around the water.
It’s the perfect river to grab a canoe or blow up the raft and hit the water for some cold-water trout fishing.
When to go: Mid-April through September
How to get there: The standard put-in is about two and a half hours northwest of New York City on Interstate 80 and on to US 60 west.