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Top 10 Fly Fishing Destinations | Suntan USA | Fishing in the Sun

Sun lovers generally enjoy sports outdoors in the sunshine, and a great way to get out there and do that is fly fishing. There are many ways to catch a fish and one of the most conventional is the act of fly fishing. This type of fishing is when artificial lures are used, instead of live or dead bait on the hook. Artificial lures or flies are when artificial or natural materials are fastened together into a lure to match or mimic the colors and patterns of a tasty treat for a unsuspecting fish. Fly fishing in America (Alaska, too!) has always been a favorite pastime and its popularity is on the rise again. Once known as “just for the guys", fly fishing has evolved into an under the sun activity for women and kids, as well. So for some healthy outdoor fun and relaxation... grab your gear, a fishing vacation may be just what you need!


Fly fishing is said to have originated in Northern England and the rivers of Scotland. However, in the United States, the granddaddy of fly fishing is Charles F. Orvis, who is famous for his contributions of designs of reels and flies. His reel (circa 1874) is considered the "benchmark for American Reel Design". He founded the Orvis Company to help bring the love of fly fishing to passionate individuals across America.

One may envision a distinguished gentleman in waders and typical fly fishing gear standing in a picturesque setting, when hearing the words "fly fishing". That seems very idyllic; though keep in mind that with this particular activity, sometimes that "perfect spot" may be extremely inaccessible or at the very least a challenge to reach. Some are reachable only by boat or canoe and some of the most extreme are fly-in destinations only.

There is no doubt that the western half of the Unites States has amazing topography and destinations for those wanting to getaway, but great fly fishing vacations are easy to find, coast to coast. Things to consider when picking where you'll vacation are: fresh or saltwater? Going for cold or warm water fishing? Extreme angling or a more casual atmosphere? Which time of year? Year-round angling is possible in some locations, while others are only accessible from spring to fall. Our Suntan.com Top 10 will cover trout and salmon, unarguably two of angler's favorites. Since everyone's #1 spot is always a matter of opinion, this top 10 is in no particular order...Enjoy!

1.    UTAH

This is fly fishing with so many choices! Beautiful sunny countryside, crystal clear rivers and streams and breathtaking blue mountain lakes all contain tough, fighting wild trout. All of these things, both spectacular and challenging, create a fly fishing vacation that exceeds your wildest dreams!

The Provo - Being Utah's most popular fly fishing destination and located near many major cities, the Provo has endless opportunities for brown and rainbow trout dream getaways. Record length trout are typically 17+ inches and weighing in at over 30 pounds and in some areas, they are so heavily populated that an estimated 7500 trout can be found per square mile. Although many parts of the river are private property, there are an abundance of tour companies and lodges that offer access in these areas.

The Green - Want a river that is "unbeatable"? Then hit the Green. Located in northeast Utah, the Green River holds over 30 miles of water, which can be fished either from shore or a boat. Passing through a beautiful red canyon and flowing into deep, clear, greenish pools, the Green River is stuffed with insects and can be fished year-round. Self-producing Brown trout averaging around 16 inches are the dominant catch, but there are some Rainbow & Cutthroat trout there as well. Below the Flaming Gorge Dam is known to be perhaps the best tail water fishery in the U. S., if not the top fishery, period. In 1996, a rod-snapping 30 pound Brown trout was caught here!


Here in Big Sky Country, the landscape is stunningly beautiful, with rich, clean air and instant "help" for unplugging alone or getting away with several couples. Numerous outdoor activities abound, and the Fly fishing choices in Montana are amazing!

Armstrong Spring Creek - For some of Montana's most beautiful and brightly colored fish, you need to check out Armstrong Creek and its 50-100 foot wide classic flat water meadow stream. With hatches of mayflies, midges and caddis throughout the season, this is one world class (dry) fly fishing destination. These wild trout are normally Rainbows, averaging 14+ inches and often exceeding 20+. Nice Brown and Cutthroat trout caught here, as well. Bring your camera to capture the scenic view of the Absaroka Mountains in the background. The view here is unbelievably stunning.

Flathead - Untouched by human development and some of the nation's most beautiful wilderness, lays the south fork of the Flathead River. This is the home of the West Slope Cutthroat trout. These trout feed almost entirely on insects and dry love flies so fly fishing is optimal. The icy, cold and crystal clear waters of the south fork are also home to the healthiest Bull trout population known in Montana. The best time to fish is August and September. A catch from a day out in the late summer months could be 20+ thick-bodied 14 to 20 inch Cutthroats...with unlimited access, you can fish for miles!


Wyoming is just another incredible example of unspoiled wilderness and an outdoor lover's paradise.

Wind River Canyon - Located in the Absaroka Mountain Range, Wind River Canyon offers thousands of miles of sunny hiking trails and an estimated 700+ trout lakes! These gorgeous mountain lakes and streams sprawl across western Wyoming, from Jackson Hole to South Pass, where the Oregon Trail crosses the Continental Divide. The majority of the lakes in this region have self-sustaining fish populations with countless Cutthroat, Brook, Rainbow and Brown trout. Golden trout are found in over a hundred of the waterways. There sheer number of trout lakes in this mountain range is far above any other of the ranges in the west.

Jackson Hole - Fly fishing in Jackson Hole is an experience in and of itself, but whether you are enjoying the mind-blowing local scenery, fishing for native Cutthroat, Brown or Rainbow Trout or simply enjoying the regal mountain topography as majestic bald eagles fly by; Jackson Hole is an outdoorsmen's (and women's) paradise. There are infinite choices in this locale... too many to list! There are many waterways to choose from: the Snake, the Green, New Fork and the Salt Rivers. If you don't know the area, a guided fishing tour vacation might be just the thing to get you to the ideal spot. With incredible resorts, dude ranches, easy access and all the fishing guides and tours you'd ever need, Jackson Hole has become a well-known luxury fly fishing destination for many including the rich and famous.


Renowned for being a outdoor person's utopia, Idaho is one of the hot spots in the west.

Henry's Fork - With nearly a hundred miles of various types of waterways, a fly fisherman could spend days on Henry's Fork and never fish the same spot. Once voted #1 in the entire nation, this trout stream had better be either pretty incredible or famous and Henry's Fork is both. With the waterway diversity here, it offers plenty to world class anglers, as well as those just beginning to learn. Its prolific insect hatches draw fly fishers from all over the globe to test their skills with wary Rainbow trout. These are all wild trout, as no stocking as been done here for years. One of the most popular sections is at the beginning of Box Canyon where the Buffalo River joins the Fork. This is where you want to go for huge trout with excellent and easy fishing conditions.

Mountain High Lakes - For extreme outdoors lovers only, Mountain High Lakes in Stanly, Idaho is another killer fly fishing destination. If you like to hike or backpack as well as fish, this is an exciting option. The deeper into the mountains you trek, the chance of bigger trout! Well worth the effort, there are fishing spots that require going in by horseback or airplane and roughing it, while enjoying the finest fly fishing in the country. Idaho's picturesque mountains will encourage any hardcore business person to let it go and just relax. The lakes and streams are well-stocked with Cutthroat, Brook, Rainbow and Golden trout - a fisher person's dream come true!


Washington is the evergreen state and is just waiting for outdoors lovers of all ages to come explore. Experience the abundant rivers and streams that are well-known by avid fishermen for catching record-sized salmon and trout.

Yakima - The Yakima River is one of Washington's most popular and well known waterways for giving up some incredible fish. Located just outside of the Cascade Mountains, the winter months can get quite cold, so try fishing in the spring or early fall here.

The Quillayute - This scenic river is located on the mystical Olympic Peninsula and is home to the healthiest native Steelhead trout population in the lower 48 states. The actual river is very short, only running about 4 miles in length, from the mouth at the Pacific Ocean to the confluence of the Sol Duc and the Bogachiel Rivers. When referring to fishing the Quillayute, these two very important branches of the river are always mentioned.

The river twists through the deep, dense and misty forest with trees bearded with long strands of moss along with the ground covered with ferns creates a magical place for fly fishing. When the first rains of the fall start, so do the annual migrations of large runs of salmon, both Silver & King, with the King Salmon often reaching up to 60 pounds. For more of a challenge, the Steelhead trout is a considerably smarter fish than the salmon. These challenging fish will fight and jump several times when you are bringing them in, hoping to avoid capture. To preserve the wild fish population here, the limit is 1 Steelhead and 3 Salmon, per angler, per day. With the Quinault Indian Tribe operating three local hatcheries and the natural abundant runs of salmon and trout, this "fishing hole" on the Olympic Peninsula is sure to provide fly fishing stories that no doubt will be told and re-told for generations.


Fly fishing in the golden state? There happen to be some great spots in California; an outdoor lovers' paradise, averaging around 250+ sun-filled days a year.

Owens - One of California's best trout rivers, with 7,000 - 11,000 fish per mile in some areas! This one-of-a-kind gentle current river flows through perfect mountain and glacial valleys with peaks 9,000+ feet high. Years ago, the Owens provided water and power for Los Angeles, but the conversion of the gorge killed much of the fish. The river has since been restored and now Brown and (stocked) Rainbow trout dominate, creating a very nice, year-round fishing destination.

Hat Creek - Another awesome fly fishing spot in California is Hat Creek. Located in Northern California just 70 miles east of Redding, this unincorporated area in Shasta County is a travel hot spot. The creek is thick with insects and filled with fat, finicky trout, usually over 12 inches in length. The Hat has been called one of the west's best spring creeks with 3 fairly distinctive areas to fish (the lower "wild trout area is the best for fly fishing!) and is very well suited for beginners as well as experienced anglers.


Another fly fisherman's dream vacation spot is Oregon. There are several places to catch your trophy trout but there are two not to be missed... the Rogue and Upper Umpqua Rivers. These are world famous for being amazing Steelhead trout fly fishing destinations. Over 3,000 Steelhead enter the Rogue River alone, every run.

Rogue - When fishing at the Rogue River you are able to step back into Oregon's rich history of summer Steelhead fly fishing. Also very famous for its white water rafting, The Rogue flows from the Cascade Mountains to the Pacific Ocean where early pioneer fly fishermen would travel 10 hours (by mule or boat) to upstream camps and locations where summer Steelheads would reach into the hundreds of thousands. Oregon's beautiful Rogue River is 1 of 8 Oregon rivers named in the "Wild and Scenic River Act of 1968".

Upper Umpqua - For experienced outdoors persons only!  This river is renowned for its treacherous wading. To reach perfect spots sometimes you must scramble down steep inclines, maneuvering through brush and thorny blackberry bushes and in others it's as easy as walking a well-worn path through beautiful forest. The North Umpqua is in many ways, an all Steelhead river. The infinite places where the water runs... along steep canyon walls, glass smooth tail outs, choppy chutes and deep pockets... this is every imaginable type of Steelhead water and a whole 33 miles set aside for fly fishing. Both the north and south ends of the Umpqua should be fished with experienced guides!


Fly fishing in the state of Michigan is arguably the best fly fishing in the mid-west. Diverse trout waters allow fisherman of all levels to reach quality trout holes. The Great Lake state has over 70 listed trout rivers. Over 10 of these are listed as "wild and scenic rivers" and some are located in the gorgeous Upper Peninsula, known as the "U.P."

AuSable - This Michigan river is one of the finest trout fisheries in the nation. Prolific hatches, quality trout and heave runs of Steelhead make this waterway quite a famous place. One of the better-known sections is known as the "Holy Water". Located a few miles east of the town of Grayling is the start of the "fly fishing only; catch and release" section that extends for nearly 9 miles downstream.

Boardman - The Boardman River is perhaps the finest wild trout streams in the state, with a long standing reputation for big Brown trout and tons of wild trout. The fly fishing world's most famous fly pattern, "The Adams", was made for the famous Boardman River. In 1922, Judge Charlie Adams had one frustrating evening while fishing. The Judge called upon his friend, Len Halladay to create a fly that imitated the insect that the trout were feeding on that day. After doing so, Halladay named the pattern after his good friend, Judge Adams. Almost 80 years later, the Adams is still regarded as the most effective pattern ever designed.

At night, when the Hex fly feeding frenzies are going on during May and June even the reclusive big Brown trout come out to join the feast. The popping and splashing sounds of feeding fish, the twittering wings of a Woodcock, the screech of a Nighthawk or Great Horned Owl... Night fishing is definitely to be considered here and the Boardman river makes it an unforgettable experience.


Offering some of the finest fly fishing in the east, New York State is an excellent choice for a fly fishing adventure.

Upper Delaware - If you are planning a trip to the Big Apple or get in a New York state-of-mind fly fishing urge, check out the Upper Delaware river located about 150 miles northwest of NYC, nestled in the Catskill mountains. This big, wild trout river's main stem forms by the merging of the east and west branches in small town of Hancock, New York. Offering long, wide pools and flowing around small islands, this river is brimming with Brown, Rainbow & Brook trout. Most areas can be waded but some require a boat, due to the thick weeds.


Our number 10 fly fishing destination could easily be our favorite, being the most extreme of the group. In Alaska, the only way to go is with a professional fishing guide. The extreme wilderness and predatory wildlife that abounds can leave a person very vulnerable and in danger. Day trips to fly-in week long trips are offered. Over 12,000 rivers, thousands more creeks and streams are here for you to explore.

Kenai - Coined the "Granddaddy" of all rivers on the Kanai Peninsula because the variety, abundance and size of the fish caught here is nothing less than amazing. Chinook, Coho and Sockeye salmon all have 2 different runs a year. Trophy sized (30+ inch) Rainbow trout are also plentiful and the wilderness just doesn't end. Heaven!

We at Suntan.com promote safe and healthy sun tanning, no matter where you are and what you are doing under the sun! Enjoy the outdoors; don't ruin a great day of fishing with sunburn! As all avid anglers and people who "live outdoors" know, a quality pair of polarized sunglasses is an absolute must when spending time in the sun and especially near water. Protecting your eyes, as well as your other exposed areas from overexposure is a must! After getting your dose of Vitamin D, make sure you cover up with UV shielding clothing and sunscreen. Hats are great to wear fishing and protect and shield from harsh rays. Remember that the higher the elevation, the greater chance for sunburn! One last tip is to make sure you also stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Beer and soda doesn't count!

Where do you love to fish in the United States? Been guided to a great fly fishing spot? We want to hear your fish stories! Tell us at: info@suntan.com

-SoCal Suntan


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