Take Epic West Fishing Adventure Right Now

Summer playbook: Ready for a little summer fun the whole family can enjoy? Here are some of the West's top destinations for family fishing adventures.

Take Epic West Fishing Adventure Right Now

Aaron Ostrom with a beautiful lingcod taken near Trinidad, Calif. There’s no shortage of fishing fun to be had along California’s north coast during the summer and upcoming fall months. (Photo by Scott Haugen)

Nothing captures the spirit of summer like a family road trip. Below, we’ve highlighted half a dozen epic adventures around the West you can take right now. So throw the kids, the dog and a few rods and reels in the family truckster and hit the open road. These journeys are all about the destination and the great fishing you’ll find when you get there.

Lake Roosevelt Kokanee, Trout and Burbot

There are monster kokanee—up to six pounds—lurking in northeastern Washington’s Lake Roosevelt, a massive impoundment of the Columbia River created by Grand Coulee Dam. For a body of water this big, trolling is the most reliable way to get on trophy-class fish. Roosevelt anglers use downriggers with a dodger, planers and flatline techniques to cover a range of depths. Small plugs and spinners tipped with maggots and dyed shrimp tails work well.

West Fishing
Washington’s Lake Roosevelt kicks-out some dandy rainbow trout as well as trophy-class kokanee. (Photo by Scott Haugen)

There’s a two-kokanee limit per person on Lake Roosevelt, but if you’re looking for more fish for the pan, the trout fishing can be spectacular. Trout can be caught while trolling for kokanee, but anglers floating bait off the bottom from shore catch their share of rainbows, too. At night, the burbot fishing along rocky shorelines can be very good. For a guided trip, contact Austin Moser of Austin’s Northwest Adventures.

Oregon Cascade Trout

In Oregon’s central Cascade Range, a series of lakes provide families with water that is fun and easy to fish. Rainbow trout, brookies and browns are the target here. Crane Prairie Reservoir has been a longtime favorite of many anglers, where fishing with live hellgrammites below a bobber is relaxing and productive. Find the channels and you’ll find the fish as water temperatures warm.


West Fishing
Nestled in the heart of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, Crane Prairie Reservoir is just one of multiple popular summer trout fishing lakes. (Photo by Scott Haugen)

Trolling and working flies in Wickiup Reservoir and Davis Lake, which are both near Crane Prairie, produces great trout fishing, too.


For Oregon anglers looking to tie into some kokanee, Odell Lake is one of the best in the West, and trolling small, skirted spinners is the way to go. There are also some monster lake trout in Odell that can be had by trolling or jigging. You can launch your own boat on Odell Lake, or go with guide Dave Jones (541-915-5710).

California Ocean Kayak Fishing

Farther south, the little town of Trinidad, California, 20 miles north of Eureka, is home to some of the best, and safest, kayak ocean fishing on the West Coast, and there are plenty of campgrounds, RV hookups and other accommodations. “We call this place Little Alaska,” says Aaron Ostrom, General Manager of Pacific Outfitters, a well-equipped sporting goods store that also offers guided adventures in the region.

West Fishing
Looking to explore kayak fishing adventures along California’s north coast? Trinidad, just north of Eureka, is the place to be. (Photo by Scott Haugen)

There are a lot of rockfish in this area, and halibut and Chinook salmon can be caught when in season. Inside nearby Humbolt Bay, trolling the shallows for California halibut is a blast, as is the crabbing and surf perch fishing. Nearby beaches offer clamming for multiple species.

Clark Fork Trout

For some fun in Big Sky Country, consider Montana’s Clark Fork River. This 280-mile long waterway can be fished in many places, but it flows right through downtown Missoula, which makes for easy access. Simply walk from town or drive the roads up and down the river—being sure to avoid private property—to find a place to fish.


Salmonflies, Green Drakes, hoppers and dun patterns are hard to beat when it comes to catching rainbows, brown trout and the occasional cutthroat in this area.

Carlsbad Warmwater Grab Bag

In New Mexico, the Carlsbad region is known for providing plenty of fun family getaways, and there’s no shortage of warm-water fishing in the area. Lake Carlsbad lies within the city limits and offers both bank fishing and boat access for bluegills, crappies, walleyes, bass and catfish.

If you want more seclusion, drive a few miles north of Carlsbad to Avalon Reservoir, where white bass, bluegills and catfish reside. Head south from Carlsbad and you’ll hit the 1,200-acre Black River Recreation Area where bluegills and bass abound, and where winter-stocked rainbow trout can be found in Higby Hole. There’s all kinds of hiking, wildlife watching and other outdoor fun to be had in this region.


West Fishing
Summer means fun in the sun and warm-water fishing adventures. Panfish options are many throughout the West, and hard-fighting, great tasting bluegill and crappie, like these, are just the start. (Photo by Scott Haugen)

Corn Lake Crowd Pleaser

While there are many family-friendly waters to fish in Colorado, you can’t go wrong at Corn Lake, near Grand Junction. Corn Lake holds rainbow trout, bluegills, crappies, bass and channel catfish, and can be fished from shore or from a boat with an electric motor. A mile to the west you’ll find the Colorado River Wildlife area, a popular place for hikers and wildlife watchers. Corn Lake is one of many in the region that’s stocked throughout the year.

Whether you’re looking for some family fishing fun close to a popular western town, a secluded getaway or an ocean-fishing smorgasbord, there’s no shortage of options around the region. Before leaving home, though, plan your trip carefully and check for any restrictions that may be in place due to Covid-19. Also, be sure check state fishing regulations for up-to-date laws.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

New Gloves from Fish Monkey

New Gloves from Fish Monkey

Quick look at Stealth, Half-Fingered & Stubby gloves; 2020 ICAST New Fishing Gear Guide.

How to Drift Rivers for Summertime Catfish

How to Drift Rivers for Summertime Catfish

While anchoring up is a good way to catch summertime catfish, so too is floating the current line on a local river. As Jeff Williams explains on this episode of Outdoors with Ole Pops, it’s as easy as finding fish with your electronics, pinpointing the action with a Garmin Panoptix LiveScope, and dropping the right rig of a weight, circle hook and Team Catfish Fiber Nugget down below. Just remember, the strikes can be subtle even when you’re watching the live action, so don’t miss!

To learn more and to purchase Team Catfish and Wohali tackle, click here to visit their website.

What

What's Next for ASA & ICAST?

American Sportfishing Association president talks ICAST, coronavirus and the fishing industry.

Tactacam Fish-I Camera and Remote

Tactacam Fish-I Camera and Remote

Recording your fishing success is a one-button deal with Tactacam's FISH-I Camera and Remote. Tactacam's Ben Sterns shares insight on the camera system with In-Fisherman's Todd Ceisner as part of our 2020 ICAST New Fishing Gear Guide.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use bait rigs for stripers. Striper & Hybrid

3 Deadly Bait Rigs For Stripers

J.B. Kasper

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use bait rigs for stripers.

A quick look at offerings from SPRO for 2020-21. Baits & Lures

New from ICAST: Rattle Little John; Essential Series

Game & Fish Staff - July 13, 2020

A quick look at offerings from SPRO for 2020-21.

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options. Catfish

12 Great Catfish Baits

Jeff Samsel

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options.

The best jig fisherman are those that are always aware of what their jig is doing. Bass

4 Tips When Jig Fishing For Bass

Chris Schneider - August 25, 2015

The best jig fisherman are those that are always aware of what their jig is doing.

See More Trending Articles

More Playbook

Fishing can be on fire on waters throughout the Midwest in the summer months. Here are several top spots to try for some of the region's most popular species. Playbook

Midwest's Hottest Summer Fishing Destinations

Mike Pehanich

Fishing can be on fire on waters throughout the Midwest in the summer months. Here are several...

From striped bass to giant speckled trout and largemouths, these two southern destinations offer a variety of family fishing opportunities. Playbook

Destinations: Fishing Fun in the Southern Sun

John N. Felsher - July 24, 2020

From striped bass to giant speckled trout and largemouths, these two southern destinations...

Summer Playbook: Action abounds both on and off the water in the Western New York region. Playbook

Family Fishing Getaway: Niagara Falls, N.Y.

Jeff Knapp - July 23, 2020

Summer Playbook: Action abounds both on and off the water in the Western New York region.

From crappie to giant sharks, take advantage of these southern hotspots to this catch more fish this summer. Playbook

South's Hottest Summer Fishing Destinations

John N. Felsher

From crappie to giant sharks, take advantage of these southern hotspots to this catch more...

See More Playbook

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now