BEST Trout Fishing in the US: Streams to Catch BIG Fish!

BEST Trout Fishing in the US

North America is one of the best locations for trout fishing in the world.

Numerous wild streams full of different trout species attract anglers from all over the world.

There are some vary famous locations, where you can catch large specimens in high numbers, and those will be mentioned here.

One of the most popular techniques for trout fishing is fly-fishing, and all those extraordinary locations offer great fly-fishing spots.

From remote wilderness near some of the most beautiful national parks, to locations near towns, US streams are great for everyone. Beginners can learn the technique and experienced anglers can catch a massive trout.

For best trout fishing in the US, consider one of the locations mentioned in the following chapters.



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Trout species in the US

Before choosing the location, you should know some of the trout species living in US streams. There are different species, but all equally challenging and exciting to catch. And most of them can grow very big in certain locations.

Pacific Trout

This trout is a native species and very popular among anglers. It can be caught in various places and live close to other trout species. It has two types:

Rainbow Trout

This trout got its name because of the long pink stripe across the side of the body. Their original environment ranged down the pacific coast, but they were later introduced to many other locations. Rainbow trout has certain types like steelhead, golden and redband.

Cutthroat Trout

This species got its name because of the red colour behind its jaws. It is smaller than the rainbow trout and it can be found all over western part of US. Cutthroat trout has 11 different types, living in various locations.

European Trout

European trout is not native to the US and it has been introduced in numerous locations.

They are located in some of the most popular fishing places and anglers regularly catch them.

Brown Trout

Despite its name, this trout is more gold or yellow than brown. They look similar to salmons when considering their shape.


Here it gets confusing. Chars are not trout, and they are closely related to salmon as much as to trout.

However, there are certain species of char that are called “trout” and they are caught in the same way.

Lake trout

This species is huge! Some specimens weigh almost 100 pounds. They are known by numerous names and mostly live in lakes.

Brook Trout

They are very small and usually live in cooler waters.

Bull Trout

Those are rare, living in cold waters near the Pacific. They are very similar to Dolly Varden and inexperienced anglers often confuse them.

Dolly Varden Trout

Dolly Varden lives in the northern parts of US. Genetically, they are different than both trout and salmons. Because of their appearance, they can also be confused for other species.


Except all of the above, there are certain cross-breeds, and it is not unlikely you will catch one. It can be a Tiger trout and Splake, where the first one is one of the rarest trout species in the US.

Most of the species mentioned here can look similar and it can be very confusing for foreign anglers or beginners.

BEST Trout Fishing in the US - Catch and Release

Best Locations for Trout Fishing in the US

Now, when you know the basic difference between various trout species living in US streams, read further to find out where the best trout fishing in the US is.

Green River

This extraordinary river is located in Utah, in the northeast part of the state. Local anglers absolutely love this location, especially under the Flaming George Dam in the tailwater.

The best locations can be crowded, so it is better to avoid the most popular times.

Here you can find rainbow, brown and cuttroat trout. Try to fish for trout in Green River in the early spring.

This is one of the locations where only artificial lures and flies are allowed.

Some say that over 20 000 trout live here per mile, which makes it the densest trout population in the world. This huge number is true for the first few miles below the dam.

Upper parts of Green River are in Wyoming, which is also a great trout fishing location.

Same as in other locations mentioned below, try to practice catch and release. Trout is a very tasty fish, but keep in mind that over-fishing can have bad consequences for future fishing. Keep as much as you need and release the rest.

White River

This wild river flows trough Arkansas, with a small part in Missouri.

Surroundings, together with the river itself are one of the most beautiful locations for trout fishing in the US. Numerous dams create great fishing locations, and one of those is Bull Shoals Lake. This is also one of the rare locations in the southern part of the US that is excellent for trout fishing.

Below the Bull Shoals Damn, for dozens of miles, you can find amazing trout fishing locations. Water is cold, clear and the water level can vary. Some parts are considered to be dangerous and fishing there should be practiced with caution.

Rainbow trout live in these waters in high numbers.

The river is regularly stocked but most of the fish are wild, as they live in a very large environment.

Colorado River

Colorado River is enormous and it is more than 1400 miles long. And a lot of its length is suitable for fishing.

Rainbow and cutthroat trout live there in abundance and no matter where you go, you have a high chance of catching one. However, some places should be singled out as the best trout fishing in the US.

One of the best parts, known for some nice specimens is near the headwaters, in the upper Colorado. Between National park and Kremmling town you can enjoy trout fishing. Areas around Hot sulphur springs and Parshall have some nice access points. As the Colorado River origins as Rocky Mountains, Upper part is cold and clear, which makes it ideal for trout.

Here you can find a lot of private fishing locations. If you are in a search of that experience, choose among numerous service providers.

Yellowstone River

Yellowstone River is another very long river in the US, with some extraordinary trout fishing locations. Especially parts in Montana.

In Montana there is a lot of public access to the Yellowstone River streams, thanks to the supreme court decision and some other historical events.

There is more than 200 miles of excellent trout fishing locations along Yellowstone River in Montana. Fishing here offers a unique experience. Most of the river is located in a remote wilderness and rough terrain, absence of roads and various predatory animals present a real danger. Anglers who wish to fish here have to be well equipped for outdoor survival.

Most of those parts are not for beginners, and experienced anglers should ask locals for valuable advice, especially if they are not used to wild areas.

BEST Trout Fishing in the US - Yellowstone River Montana

Missouri River

This is another river in Montana. This state is a paradise for trout anglers.

In both spring and fall, locations between the headwaters and Holter dam are great for trout fishing.

Most of the trout are brown, but you can catch the occasional rainbow too.

Between Three Forks and Canyon Ferry lake anglers can catch huge brown trout specimens. October is one of the best months to test your fly-fishing techniques here. And between Houser lake and Canyon ferry, you can catch very big rainbow trout!

Under the dam, in the tailwater, you can find a lot of anglers, especially local ones. Here you can find more rainbow trout. This part of the river has some easily reachable access points and it is ideal for the less experienced anglers too.

Madison River

Madison river is a great location for Rainbow and Brown trout.

Fishing in summer should be avoided as the water heats up and trout stop feeding regularly. The best season for Madison river fishing is spring.

Madison river is very beautiful and the enjoyable surroundings are definitely a plus when fishing. It originates from Yellowstone National Park and in the end, it flows into Missouri river, near Three Forks, a previously mentioned location.

Most of the trout are found in river stretches below Hebgen Dam. Below Quake Lake, river is fast and wild, but with no dangerous rapids. Numerous micro-locations where the flow is steady offer great trout fishing experience.

Beaverkill River

This New York river, together with near by Willomec River offers great trout fishing opportunities. Upper flow is cold and fast, full of brown and brook trout. This cold water enables fishing in all seasons, except maybe late summer.

In the lower part, river gets warmer in summer, so you should fish in spring and fall. This is a very popular location among local fly-fishermen as fly-fishing technique became popular in the US thanks to this place.

Some anglers say it is not really the best trout fishing in the US, but its historical legacy makes it important. There is a lot of private land a public access is not possible everywhere.

The place where Willomec flows in, is one of the most popular trout fishing spots on the entire Beaverkill River. Most of the trout are average size and there is not as many of them as in some other streams on this list.

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Deschutes River

Deschutes River flows in Oregon. Here you can catch very large rainbow trout. Another trout type here is steelhead. This is one of the rare trout fishing rivers with mostly native trout species and types.

Lower regions of Deschutes River are the most famous for trout fishing. Waters are mostly cold and clear. For summer fishing these lower parts are the best option. If you wish to fish in winter, you should try the upper region.

The river is actually divided into three parts, the upper, middle and the lower. All of them are suitable for trout fishing and extremely beautiful.

There are certain rules and regulations valid on those parts and they differ, so make sure you familiarise yourself with the instructions provided by the authority.

Lower part has a closed season, all wild steelheads must be released and other types can be kept if they reach a certain size.

BEST Trout Fishing in the US - Beginner - Happy fisherman

Rules and Regulations for Trout Fishing in US

Before going fishing, every angler must have a valid fishing licence.

Every US state has different rules and regulations. Details are provided by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Make sure you read all regulations for a state you are going to fish in. It is possible to obtain a licence online and the price can vary.

One of the important things to mention is that in most places there is a “free fishing” day once a year, when you can fish free of charge. That date is different in different states so make sure to have a valid information if you want to use this opportunity.

For a trout fisherman, you must know that in certain locations only fly-fishing is available, and all other methods and techniques of trout fishing are forbidden.

Obey all the rules and closed season times to support fish conservation. In that way you, and all the other anglers, can enjoy trout fishing year after year.


“Best trout fishing in the US” is a very broad term. By choosing any of the mentioned locations you can’t go wrong. Except for the abundance of different trout species, those rivers are surrounded by breath-taking nature.

Some are better at certain times of the year, or have more easily accessible fish, but they all have their advantages. There is not a lot of places in the world where trout fishing is so versatile as in the US.

From well-known big rivers, to small and hidden streams, trout are there in very high numbers (here you can learnHow to Catch Trout in a River).

All those places are a paradise for fly-fishing technique, loved and practiced by numerous anglers. Before going to the water, check the local rules and regulations, obtain a licence and prepare to be amazed by the experience!

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I am Siniša Pintar (friends call me Sina), the guy behind This site is base camp for fishing enthusiasts from all over the world. I love fishing and want to share all my stories, knowledge and my experience with any and all potential anglers. Read more ...

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