How to Plan the Best Fishing Trips

When it comes to fishing vacations, you can go for casual or you can go for spectacular. Sure, an overnight stay at a popular lake that is an hour’s drive away from your house can scratch the fishing itch. But the most exciting memories come from unique challenges and experiences — and you won’t get that by staying close to home. In general, traveling to unique climates and environments can broaden your fishing experience.

The best fishing trips take you to new places and offer experiences that you haven’t had before. That may be deep sea fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, ice fishing in North Dakota or catching King Salmon in Alaska. As such, before you pack your bags and load up the car or buy a plane ticket, you should have your vacation itinerary in place.

Decide on Your Ideal Fishing Vacation

Before you begin planning a fishing trip, you should decide which kinds of experiences you wish to have. From flyfishing to rock fishing to fishing in a lake in a canoe, your options are endless. Do you want to go ice fishing? In that case, a trip to Devil’s Lake, North Dakota may be right for you. Devil’s Lake boasts some of the largest perch in the country. If you visit during winter, you can rent an icehouse or get a guided ice fishing tour.

If you’re more interested in wrestling with billfish in warm waters during your fishing vacation, you may want to head down to sunny South Florida. You can rent a charter boat to take you to deep waters for the best catch. Moreover, you may try trolling for fish in the open ocean or skimming the flats closer to shore. Key West has some stellar species worth traveling for, including blue marlin, tarpon, sailfish and more.

Maybe you want a well-rounded fishing experience, trying out as many different styles of fishing as you can. In that case, consider exploring some of the best fishing trips in Virginia. Here, you can explore the lakes, rivers and creeks that populate the west side of the state. If that doesn’t scratch the fishing itch sufficiently, head east and enjoy fishing in Chesapeake Bay and the Virginia coastline.

Create a Fishing Trip Checklist and Budget

The best fishing trips are well-rounded and eventful without breaking your budget. You may think, “I can save a lot of money by focusing on fishing trips near me.” However, that limits the scope of experiences you can enjoy. Expanding your horizons can offer many more exciting opportunities you may not normally get to try.

In order to make the most out of your fishing vacation, you should plan the logistics of your visit in advance. Will you be bringing your own fishing gear, for example, or will you rent equipment when you arrive? Do you plan on camping or will you stay at a lodge? Each decision you make will have an impact on the price of your trip.

If you plan on hiring a guide or charter for your trip, make sure to book your slot in advance. You don’t want your fishing vacation itinerary to be upended because you didn’t make the necessary reservations. If you plan on staying at a lodge, resort or camping ground, confirm your reservations before you arrive. Finally, check the weather around the time of your trip — you don’t your entire vacation washed out by seasonal rainstorms.

You should also decide how much you want to spend ahead of time and plan your trip around that budget. For instance, a trip with a $500 budget will look very different from a trip with a $5,000 budget. How many days will you fish? Will you fish in multiple locations, or select one location to hang out in for a weekend? If you hire a guide, you may pay more than $200 per day per person. Fishing independently can be cheaper, but if you are inexperienced with a particular region or style of fishing, you may spend a day catching nothing.

Once you have a budget for your fishing vacation in mind, decide where you want to go and how long you want to stay there. Once you select a location, determine whether you will drive or fly. If you fly, you may prefer to rent equipment rather than worry about safely transporting your own. If you plan on camping, you also have to think about transporting your camping equipment. Otherwise, you should have a plan for how to get to the fishing spot when you land.

Plan Each Day of your Fishing Vacation

Once you know where your fishing vacation will be and what equipment you’ll be using, you can begin planning your visit to make the most of it. Create an itinerary for each day of your trip. For example, if you are taking a trip to Alaska, you might spend one day out in the open waters with a charter boat catching halibut. The next day, you can focus on the inland rivers and hunt for Alaska’s famous salmon. You can spend a third day searching for trout in some of the state’s pristine lakes.

If you plan on traveling, you should make time in your schedule to get from point A to point B. You may also research ahead of time what the best point in the day is for catching the species you are aiming for. For instance, if you plan on catching species that are active in the early morning, arrive at the fishing spot the night before so that you don’t have to travel.

The best fishing trips include a variety of activities and experiences. You could just travel to the nearest large lake and spend a few days there. However, that may become monotonous. To make the most of your fishing vacation, plan different adventures for each day of your trip. Even if you do not want to hire a guide or charter so that you can keep the costs down, you can still change things up. For example, you can fish from shore one day and rent a canoe the next day.