10 Best Fly Fishing Destinations for Beginners

If you love fly fishing, then you’re gonna want to check out our list of the 10 best fly fishing destinations for beginners. Not only are they some of the most beautiful locations in the United States, but they offer some of the best fly fishing anywhere in the world.

So, whether you love to cast flies at tailing reds in Louisiana, or hook up with schools of brown and rainbow trout in Colorado, we’ve got you covered.

The 10 Best Fly Fishing Destinations for Beginners

1. Alagnak River, Alaska

Located in the state of Alaska, the Alagnak River is home to some of the best fly fishing in the U.S. This 64 mile fly fisherman’s dream is actually a tributary of the Kvichak River. The river ultimately ends in Bristol Bay.

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Ariel view of Alagnak River

The thing that separates the Alagnak River from the other rivers in Alaska when it comes to fly fishing, is that it has equally massive runs of all 5 salmon species.

Rainbow trout can also be found throughout the river, with the highest concentrations making their home in Alagnak River Braids.

If you’re looking for a place to stay, then look no further than the Angler’s Alibi Fly Fishing Lodge located on the tidewater section of the Alagnak River.

2. Florida Keys, Florida

The Florida Keys are a fly fisherman’s paradise, stretching 120 miles from the tip of Florida to Key West. They offer some of the most diverse fly fishing opportunities on the planet. The gin-clear waters are home to permit, bonefish, tarpon, redfish, and snook, all of which can be landed on a fly.

There are plenty of guides who offer fly fishing trips and can get you hooked up with the fish of your dreams!

There’s also plenty of options when it comes to places to stay in the Keys. You have everything from 5-star luxury resorts and vacation homes, to mom and pop motels and campgrounds.

3. Muskegon River, Michigan

Pic from surrealis_uk (Steelhead in Muskegon River)

When it comes to the best fly fishing destinations in the U.S., no list would be complete without Michigan. In fact, some fly fishermen would argue that Michigan is the best in the U.S. and for good reason.

The Muskegon River is one of the top spots in Michigan! The river is a tailwater that flows from Muskegon Lake through Croton Dam into Lake Michigan.

Located in the western portion of the lower peninsula of Michigan, the Muskegon is popular for its large runs of steelhead and salmon as well as its many trout fishing opportunities. Fly fishing the Muskegon River can be good all year long, thanks to its diverse species of fish.

4. Potter County, Pennsylvania

When you think of the top spots for fly fishing, Pennsylvania is probably not a destination that comes to mind. However, this state offers some of the best steelhead and trout fishing in the country.

If you’re not familiar with the area, you might want to check out “The Lodge at Glendorn.” The Lodge sits on 1,500 acres and is home to Fuller Brook – a crystal clear, spring-fed stream that holds a plethora of fish, including the Native Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Rainbows, and Brookies.

Other good fly fishing spots in Pennsylvania include Slate Run, Letort Spring Runs and Fishing Creek. Each has been recognized as one of the “100 best” trout streams in America.

5. Glenwood Springs, Colorado

When it comes to the best places to fly fish in the states, you will not find a more picturesque scene than that of the snow-capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains as your backdrop. Oh, and the fly fishing is excellent too!

Nationally recognized for its world-class fly fishing, Glenwood Springs is one of the best fly fishing destinations in Colorado. It’s home to the longest stretch of “Gold Medal Water” in the state!

Here fishing is good year round, with the peak times from spring through fall, although some locals claim that winter is actually the best time.

Whichever time you choose, there are plenty of guides that will put you on the fish, including Roaring Fork Anglers and Alpine Angling.

6. White River, Arkansas

The White River begins in the Boston Mountains of Northwest Arkansas and travels for 720 miles before connecting with the Mississippi River. It’s crystal clear waters are home to Rainbow trout, Brook trout, Brown trout, and Cutthroat trout.

The White River is unique in that it stays the same temperature all year long, ensuring that the trout are always active. This anomaly greatly increases your chances of catching your limit, which makes for a very exciting day of fishing.

One of the best areas of the White River to fish is a section just below the “Bull Shoals Dam!” Along with its tributaries, this section is considered by many to be the best in the world for landing trophy-sized Brown trout.

7. Crystal River, Colorado

If you’re an avid fly fisherman, then it should come as no surprise that Colorado made the list again for the best places for fly fishing in the U.S.

The Crystal River may not be the first destination that comes to mind when you think of Colorado fly fishing, especially when it’s competing with the Roaring Fork and Frying Pan rivers. However, you would be foolish to discount this fly fishing gem.

Some of the best fishing on the Crystal River is where it meets the Roaring Fork. Here, the fishing is best in the spring and fall when the Brown and Rainbow trout head up the river to spawn.

8. Henry’s Fork, Idaho

Just a stone’s throw away from Grand Teton National Park flows the majestic Henry’s Fork. Voted #1 out of 100 streams in the country by Trout Unlimited, Henry’s Fork is known by anglers to be the best dry fly stream in the world.

Henry’s Fork River

If you’re not sure where to go, the Henry’s Fork Lodge is a great option!  While Henry’s Fork flows just steps behind the lodge, the Railroad Ranch is just 2 miles up the road. This section is known as the most famous stretch of trout fishing water in the world.

With its prolific hatches, rising fish, and incredible water diversity, Henry’s Fork is enough to make any angler hungry for more.

9. Venice, Louisiana

Louisiana is probably not the first state that comes to mind when you think of world-class fly fishing destinations. However, there’s a little town called Venice that sits about 90 miles from New Orleans who may have something to say about that.

Pic from Brian, Venice Louisiana

Venice is not what you would call a tourist-focused exotic fly fishing destination by no means, however, if you’re looking for an action-packed, heart-pounding day of fishing, then you may want to give Venice a try.

Redfish and Black Drum are the fish of choice for fly fishermen here in Louisiana. If you’ve never caught a redfish on a fly, you are truly missing out!

If you’re new to saltwater fly fishing, or just need a little direction, Venice is full of expert fishing guides with years of experience hooking up with massive reds.

10. Bighorn River, Montana

Considered by many to be the best “Blue Ribbon Trout Fishery” in the United States, it’s no wonder Montana’s Bighorn River made our list of the 10 best fly fishing destinations in the U.S.

This cool, clear river hosts some of the best trout fishing in North America. It’s estimated that somewhere between 5-6 thousand rainbow and brown trout per mile call this river home, ranging in size from 14 to 20 inches.

If you’re needing a place to hang your rod, check out the Bighorn River Lodge! Not only are the accommodations first class, but the Bighorn Lodge is home to some of the most talented guides in the U.S.


Well there you have it…the 10 best fly fishing destinations for beginners in the U.S. While we know that there are plenty more fine fly fishing destinations throughout the country, we could only list ten in this article.

We would love to hear your thoughts about our list, as well as any places that you might have fished before and would have included.


Peter is a software developer who loves to take every opportunity to go outside that he can get. Peter grew up going on long backpacking excursions with his family every Summer and now enjoys staying at the beautiful Texas State Parks and swimming in the amazing Texas Rivers.

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