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The 10 Best Fishing and Boating Spots Across the U.S.

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    10 Best Fishing and Boating Spots Across the U.S

    “As grandparents get more involved in their grandkids’ lives, we’re seeing them teaching the kids to do the same things they still love to do,” says Frank Peterson, president of the Virginia-based Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation. The foundation’s Take Me Fishing campaign has rated the top 100 fishing and boating spots in the U.S. with certain criteria in mind: They must be within an hour’s reach of an urban area, they need to have certain amenities in place (such as bait, boat ramps and restrooms), and they must have stellar fishing opportunities. Here are 10 top spots where you just might hook the big one.

    “As grandparents get more involved in their grandkids’ lives, we’re seeing them teaching the kids to do the same things they still love to do,” says Frank Peterson, president of the Virginia-based Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation. The foundation’s Take Me Fishing campaign has rated the top 100 fishing and boating spots in the U.S. with certain criteria in mind: They must be within an hour’s reach of an urban area, they need to have certain amenities in place (such as bait, boat ramps and restrooms), and they must have stellar fishing opportunities. Here are 10 top spots where you just might hook the big one.

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    Lake Berryessa, Napa Valley, California

    Lake Berryessa, located in Napa County’s wine country, is one of California’s largest man-made lakes, prime for both cold and warm water species: rainbow trout, bass, catfish, crappie and bluegill. Ever thought about a houseboat vacation? Try one here.

    Lake Berryessa, located in Napa County’s wine country, is one of California’s largest man-made lakes, prime for both cold and warm water species: rainbow trout, bass, catfish, crappie and bluegill. Ever thought about a houseboat vacation? Try one here.

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    Bahia Honda State Park, Big Pine Key, Florida

    It’s tough to be a grumpy fisherman on an island paradise. Bahia Honda State Park, located on a 500-plus-acre offshore island in the Florida Keys, is one of the southernmost state parks in Florida. Start with some tarpon fishing and end with some snorkeling. The family-friendly setting is an ideal place to teach the grandkids the tricks of the trade.

    It’s tough to be a grumpy fisherman on an island paradise. Bahia Honda State Park, located on a 500-plus-acre offshore island in the Florida Keys, is one of the southernmost state parks in Florida. Start with some tarpon fishing and end with some snorkeling. The family-friendly setting is an ideal place to teach the grandkids the tricks of the trade.

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    Galveston Island State Park, Galveston, Texas

    Go for the fishing and stay for all the other activities that Galveston Island has to offer. While fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, you can expect to catch flounder, trout, sheepshead and redfish. But the park also offers good swimming, cycling and hiking. Pitch a tent at the park’s campground so you can take an afternoon siesta after a day’s fishing; then cook up your day’s bounty.

    Go for the fishing and stay for all the other activities that Galveston Island has to offer. While fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, you can expect to catch flounder, trout, sheepshead and redfish. But the park also offers good swimming, cycling and hiking. Pitch a tent at the park’s campground so you can take an afternoon siesta after a day’s fishing; then cook up your day’s bounty.

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    Table Rock State Park, Branson, Missouri

    Bass fishing enthusiasts, look no further: Rent a boat at the Table Rock Lake marina, throw out a line and enjoy some of the country’s best bass fishing. You’ll find largemouth and smallmouth bass as well as crappie and bluegill. Oak and hickory trees nestle the lake, and easily accessible camping is nearby.

    Bass fishing enthusiasts, look no further: Rent a boat at the Table Rock Lake marina, throw out a line and enjoy some of the country’s best bass fishing. You’ll find largemouth and smallmouth bass as well as crappie and bluegill. Oak and hickory trees nestle the lake, and easily accessible camping is nearby.

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    Presque Isle State Park, Erie, Pennsylvania

    The 3,200-acre peninsula arching into Lake Erie provides an idyllic “seashore” for Pennsylvanians. In addition to great fishing, there’s hiking, swimming and bird-watching. Expect to land some perch, bass, walleye, trout and steelhead.

    The 3,200-acre peninsula arching into Lake Erie provides an idyllic “seashore” for Pennsylvanians. In addition to great fishing, there’s hiking, swimming and bird-watching. Expect to land some perch, bass, walleye, trout and steelhead.

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    Starved Rock State Park, Oglesby, Illinois

    The Illinois River near Starved Rock is known as the “sauger capital of the world.” A close relative of the walleye, the sauger is the park’s main draw for anglers, but they won’t mind the crappie, carp and catfish.

    The Illinois River near Starved Rock is known as the “sauger capital of the world.” A close relative of the walleye, the sauger is the park’s main draw for anglers, but they won’t mind the crappie, carp and catfish.

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    Lake Norman State Park, Troutman, North Carolina

    Located just 40 miles from Charlotte, Lake Norman is a popular spot in the summer — but come autumn, the fishing is still great. Part of the charm of fall fishing is that not only are the fish jumping more, but the crowds have died down. Go here and expect to catch some crappie, catfish, bass and sunfish.

    Located just 40 miles from Charlotte, Lake Norman is a popular spot in the summer — but come autumn, the fishing is still great. Part of the charm of fall fishing is that not only are the fish jumping more, but the crowds have died down. Go here and expect to catch some crappie, catfish, bass and sunfish.

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    Maumee Bay State Park, Oregon, Ohio

    If you want to catch some walleye, head to Maumee Bay State Park. The park, on Lake Erie, is the “walleye capital of the world” and is considered to have some of the best fishing in the Midwest. You may also hook catfish, freshwater drum, bass and perch.

    If you want to catch some walleye, head to Maumee Bay State Park. The park, on Lake Erie, is the “walleye capital of the world” and is considered to have some of the best fishing in the Midwest. You may also hook catfish, freshwater drum, bass and perch.

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    Round Valley Recreation Area, Lebanon, New Jersey

    It’s hard to believe you can find yourself casting a line just an hour’s drive from the urban bustle of Newark. Round Valley Reservoir offers 16 species of fish, including largemouth and smallmouth bass. At 180 feet deep, Round Valley is the deepest lake in New Jersey.

    It’s hard to believe you can find yourself casting a line just an hour’s drive from the urban bustle of Newark. Round Valley Reservoir offers 16 species of fish, including largemouth and smallmouth bass. At 180 feet deep, Round Valley is the deepest lake in New Jersey.

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    High Cliff State Park, Sherwood, Wisconsin

    First-time angler? The park’s office loans out rods, reels and basic tackle free of charge. You just need to provide the bait. You can’t ask for a better incentive for newcomers — or those who haven’t been back to the sport for a while — to give it a go. High Cliff is located on the shores of Lake Winnebago, where you’ll find walleye, white bass and perch.

    First-time angler? The park’s office loans out rods, reels and basic tackle free of charge. You just need to provide the bait. You can’t ask for a better incentive for newcomers — or those who haven’t been back to the sport for a while — to give it a go. High Cliff is located on the shores of Lake Winnebago, where you’ll find walleye, white bass and perch.

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