Looking for wildlife from the comfort of your car and taking a hike are two outstanding ways to enjoy National Park Week this year, but that’s not all you can do. Fishing in national parks is a sensational experience too!

Can You Fish in National Parks?

Yes, you can go fishing in national parks! The fishing inside the parks is managed by the National Park Service, meaning there are important regulations to protect native fish populations.

Fishing Rules for National Parks

The rules for fishing in national parks are unique to each park. You may have to catch and release in one park but not another, and fish for only certain species depending on the time of year.

For example, in Crater Lake National Park, a fishing license isn’t required and there are no size limits on kokanee salmon you catch from the lake, but live bait is prohibited. Bull trout caught in streams within the park, however, must be re-leased because they’re protected by the Endangered Species Act.

These kinds of specific regulations help to conserve fish and allow visitors to enjoy national park fishing for years to come. The fishing rules for national parks also help maintain healthy aquatic ecosystems.

To know where and how to fish in national parks, check National Park System regulations as well as state rules, then consult park-specific fishing guidelines by using the NPS fishing map.

The Best National Parks for Fishing

Photographers will tell you that the best camera to use is the one you have with you. In this way, the best national park for fishing is the one you can access the easiest! That said, some parks are legendary for fishing. The rivers running through Yellowstone are truly picturesque for fly fishing while on Cape Hatteras National Seashore, you’ll likely love cast-ing into the ocean from Avon Fishing Pier. Nearly every park and seashore offers the opportunity to fish, but here are the 5 best fishing national parks.

National Park Week

National Park Week 2021 is April 17 to 25. Parks across America will be hosting programs, events, and theme days like Junior Ranger Day and Military Monday, showcasing the different ways everyone can enjoy national parks. And one of the best ways, of course, is to go fishing!

Whether it’s a national park or a neighborhood lake, here’s how to find the best spot for fishing this summer.

Jeff Bogle

Jeff Bogle

Jeff is a dad of teen daughters, avid traveler, photographer, and freelance writer. He’s penned stories on family travel, outdoor recreation, the environment, parenting, and more for Fodor’s, Reader’s Digest, Parents Magazine, Good Housekeeping, PBS, and Esquire, among other publications. Find him on his blog, OWTK.com and on Instagram @OWTK. Jeff is also the publisher of the quarterly literary zine, Stanchion