By Montana Grant

Posted: June 11, 2023

Secret Fishing Holes have become fewer and further between. There seem to be more folks that have discovered the joys of fishing. Humans are Hunters and Gatherers so catching fish is in our DNA.

I am originally from Maryland’s western Appalachian Mountains. As a kid fishing was easy. Rarely did I feel crowded out or lack decent fishing holes. Maryland is America in miniature. You can fish in the Atlantic Ocean, tidal waters, Chesapeake Bay, Piedmont Plateau meadows, Spring Creeks, and mountains. The diversity of fish to catch is wonderful. The problem has become more fishing pressure, more people, more private, and invasive species feasting on native fish. Hot fishing has cooled down.

If you want to catch Snakeheads and Blue Catfish, Maryland is the go-to honey hole. Please catch and kill every one of these invasive fish.

Some things held true. The further you walked, the better the fishing. Private permission was worth the effort. Changing fishing styles as the seasons changed was important. You could begin ice fishing, then early trout stocking, anadromous species season, bass and lake fishing, summer Bay and beach fishing, back to Fall stocking of trout and so on. You had to be the student of your sport and go with the flow.

We ventured up and down the east coast, trout trekked west, flew into Canada, and fished in tropical places. Each destination was fun and had new discoveries. Most of the best fishing requires you to do your homework. Neighboring states had plenty of different, seasonal opportunities. We located the watersheds, read books, and made friends. Today, YouTube videos and searching the web streamlines this process. Hiring guides makes it faster but takes away much of the personal satisfaction and rewards.

Montana was once the perfect destination. You needed to road trek or travel a long way. Not anymore. The Big Sky experience has become a crowded, overfished, and declined fishing experience. Guides have increased dramatically. Rivers are crowded with drift boats and floaters. Fish are scarred and worn out. Good luck catching an unscarred fish in the primary rivers. There is also a sad brown trout problem that is killing off the fishery. Areas where browns were surveyed at 1,500 fish /mile and down to 25 in the same sections of the Bighole and Clarks Fork. The Bighorn boat ramps have doubled parking areas that are overflowing daily.  Much of the best fishing has been fenced off as wealthy people buy up and post the state.

Wyoming was also a great adventure. It still has some good options. There are fewer crowds and guides. Drift boat fishing means no anchoring or getting out of the boats. There are many wonderful hikes into lakes and the Miracle Mile is still loads of fun. If you are willing to explore, your efforts will be rewarded.

Canada fly in and remote fishing watersheds are still worthwhile. You can meet an outfitter at their home, and they can fly you into wonderful remote lakes for a variety of fishing. The boats, cabins, and necessities are perfect for a fun fishing adventure. The walleye and pike fishing can be superb. Yellow perch and trout can also be had from the same camps. You will not hear any noise from civilization for a week. Definitely a great experience and hot spot.

Costa Rica has wonderful fishing opportunities. Peacock bass is an amazing sport. Argentina and Chile trout fishing are worth the trip. Mexico also offers many remote fishing opportunities for bass and saltwater species. People are friendly and accommodating.

New Zealand is an outstanding trout fishery. They also offer great saltwater sport. The 2 islands have great diversity of species and opportunities. You can rent a van and camp remotely. You will rarely feel crowded, and the fish are huge!

Alaska is a big fishing hole! Fishing for saltwater salmon, halibut, crabs, shrimp, rockfish, cod, and many other species is the best. You can visit a camp that offers all meals, tackle, bait, and gear. You will catch more fish than the trip will cost you. Traveling home with full coolers of vacuum sealed quality fresh fish is the best.

“Best” is a term relevant to each angler. For some, the Honey Hole may not have anything to do with fishing. For others it may be about size, quantity, or success.

Be open-minded and don’t be afraid to travel!

Montana Grant

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