Fishing Fans: These Are the Most Popular Catches in Your Region

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If angling is your sport, it probably looks a lot different depending on where you’re fishing. The best catch in Alaska isn’t going to be one you’ll find in Florida, after all. Check out the most popular catches in your region and see if they match your favorite fish to hook. 

Image Credit: Spencer Neuharth / USFWS / Flickr.

1. Northeast: Striped Bass

Stripers are the prize catch along the Atlantic coast. These bass can grow to some seriously impressive sizes, typically weighing between 20 and 40 pounds, although they can grow to weigh even more. Anglers seeking stripers will have the best luck between the beginning of September until the end of April and will find bunker to be one of the best baits to use.

Image Credit: Nils Rinaldi / Flickr.

2. Midwest/Great Lakes: Smallmouth Bass

If you’re fishing the Great Lakes, there are several fish you might find. In the Midwest, the smallmouth bass is the most popular catch, and that’s probably because you can catch them even when you’re not trying to, since they’ll bite on a variety of baits — live or lures. Early Spring is when smallmouth fishing is at its hottest on the Great Lakes, and these fish are wildly attracted to spinnerbaits and buzzbaits.

Image Credit: Spencer Neuharth / USFWS / Flickr.

3. Southeast: Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass can grow to be real hogs, reaching up to 20 pounds. The largemouth bass is the most popular catch in the Southeast, but if we’re being candid, this fish is a popular one to hook across the nation. These big-mouthed babies can be found in top water during the evening, and you’ll have the best luck landing one when the sun isn’t beaming down on the water. Largemouth bass will bite the hook for everything from buzzbaits and spinnerbaits to rubber worms, frogs, mice, and spiders — basically anything that will fit in their giant mouths.

Image Credit: Florida Fish and Wildlife / Flickr.

4. North Central (Plains States): Walleye

Walleye are the most popular catch in the Plains States; they’re unmistakable with their sharp teeth and glassy eyes. Walleye, also known as marble eye, are some of the best-tasting freshwater fish too, which adds to the allure of angling. Extending beyond the Plains States, you can also find walleye hot spots, especially along Michigan’s Detroit River, which sees the biggest springtime migration of walleye in the world. To catch these fish and rough your thumbs up, you can jig the river with colorful rubber-coated jigs or pull crawler harnesses when the water temperature is above 50 degrees. 

Image Credit: Captain John / Flickr.

5. South Central: Bluegill

Bluegill are small but mighty, with beautiful coloring and delicious flavor when fried. In the South Central region, these guys are the most popular catch of all (although you’ll find them in other regions, too). You’ll have good luck with live bait like red worms, wax worms, nightcrawlers, and leeches, but you can even catch bluegill with the old reliable hook and bobber — which makes them a good catch for younger anglers. 

Image Credit: Alabama Extension / Flickr.

6. Northwest: Chinook Salmon

Chinook salmon are king in the Northwestern part of the States — no really, they’re called king salmon more than they’re called Chinook salmon. These prized fish are renowned for their size, strength, and taste, making them a top target for both recreational and commercial fishermen. Chinook salmon are typically found in the Pacific Northwest, with prime fishing spots along the coast of Alaska, British Columbia, and the Pacific Northwest states. Anglers often use a variety of techniques to catch these salmon, including trolling, casting, and drift fishing. 

Image Credit: USFWS Pacific Southwest Region / Flickr.

7. Southwest: Golden Trout

The golden trout is a prized catch among anglers in the Southwestern states. Native to high mountain streams and lakes in the Sierra Nevada range of California, as well as some parts of the Rocky Mountains, the golden trout is known for its stunning gold, red, and black coloration. 

This trout species thrives in clear, cold waters, often found in remote and beautiful alpine environments. Anglers seeking golden trout often embark on challenging hikes into these remote areas, adding to the allure of the catch. Due to their limited range and sensitivity to environmental changes, golden trout are considered a species of conservation concern, making the opportunity to catch one even more special for those fortunate enough to encounter them in the wild.

Image Credit: Anthony Greco / Flickr.

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