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The 10 Best Trout Fishing Streams in the United States

I’m taking a huge risk by putting forward the finest 10 trout rivers in the nation. I’m sure I’ll overlook some that are deserving of recognition but will list the ones I think are the best. However, when it comes to a list like this, you must ultimately choose the streams; and I apologize in advance if I do not include your favorite river. There are dozens of remote Alaskan rivers and private trout streams that are likely superior than any of these that don’t make the list. However, these are all easy-to-reach rivers with fantastic trout fishing to offer. These are all well-known streams that will be crowded from time to time. They’re all long rivers, though, so there’s plenty of room to spread out. It’s no coincidence that Montana is well represented in the list, it is home to a long list of trout rivers. But, without going to deep here is the list:

1. Missouri River (Montana)

The Missouri River begins in Montana’s Three Forks and flows west into the United States. The river as a free-flowing river and as reservoirs flows at a moderate rate from the headwaters to Holter Dam. This section of the river has great trout fishing during the spring and fall seasons. Brown trout are the prevalent fish in this area, although a few rainbows may be found in the river’s numerous lakes.

2. Gallatin River (Yellowstone National Park and Montana)

Most people spend the bulk of their trip fishing on “very classy” trout streams like the Madison, Yellowstone, Firehole, or Paradise valley spring creeks. The Gallatin is a tiny river that runs through beautiful mountain country and breeds some little trout. The Upper Gallatin, on the other hand, is a gorgeous river with less traffic and more accessible. You won’t find the thousands of trout per mile that you’ll find on the Madison or 20″ browns, but it doesn’t get any more beautiful and the fish aren’t picky. Under the undercut banks, big browns begin to appear in large numbers below the East Gallatin’s mouth. This is excellent float fishing water, although waders may also fish well here.

3. Yellowstone River (Yellowstone National Park and Montana)

This is the third Montana stream on the list. The Yellowstone is without a doubt a must-see for any list of top trout waters, providing 250 miles of some of the most beautiful and breath-taking trout fishing in the world. The fishing begins in the Wyoming Thoroughfare region. There is no easy way to get there. It takes a lengthy trek and a commitment of several days to fish this water the way it should be fished. This is extremely cutthroat water, with both resident fish and migratory trout from Yellowstone Lake. This is as deep into the wilderness as you can get in the lower 48 states, and you must be confident that you will be able to survive on your own. IIn the event of an accident, you’ll be on your own. Grizzlies, black bears, moose, and other risky animals are all found in abundance. That might be a deterrent or a draw depending on how you look at it. You make the final decision based on your own preferences.

4. Madison River (Yellowstone National Park and Montana)

The Madison River originates in Yellowstone National Park as an odd spring creek. Because it is fed by two distinct cold and hot springs that flow into its two feeder streams, the Firehole and Gibbon, it is so strange. In the spring, early summer, and fall, however, it prefers to reside in this upper section. The water may become too hot in the summer due to the hot springs, making it impossible for the trout to feed. In the 10-14″ range, rainbows and browns are the most common fish. In the spring, large rainbows migrate from Hebgen Lake. Large browns from Hebgen do the same in the fall. The residents of this area are well-known for their dry flies. The graceful rainbows and browns appreciate burly streamers and wet flies fished deep.

5. White River-Bull Shoals Tailwater (Arkansas)

The only Southern river on our list is Arkansas’s White River, which is also the only one in which 80 percent of the whitewater is put and taken. This tailwater comes from Bull Shoals Dam high in the Ozarks. The cold plume from the bottom of Bull Shoals Lake, as well as the chilly flows of the North Fork River, enable trout to travel for nearly 100 miles below the dam. It’s a tailwater with rapidly changing water levels that can be deadly. Because of the dam’s high volume, it can be waded at low water levels. When the dam is releasing a significant amount of water, however, bank and boat fishing are the only alternatives. A guide will be helpful on your first float.

6. Green River (Wyoming and Utah)

The Green River has a variety of personalities. It’s a high-plains river in Wyoming’s upper reaches that is home to enormous brown trout. This is ranch country in the west, and trout hang around undercut banks throughout the summer seeking hoppers. There you should be casting with a Letort Hopper and maybe a Hare’s Ear dropper for good measure. There are a few public access sites where visiting anglers can fish for free, but the opportunities aren’t ideal.

7. Connecticut River, (New Hampshire and Vermont)

The Connecticut River is a Western river with an Eastern style. The scenery will not be topped in the gorgeous Appalachian region of Northern New England, which it passes through. The river’s headwater region comprises of 3rd Connecticut Lake, 2nd Connecticut Lake, 1st Connecticut Lake, and Lake Francis. This stretch of the river is home to numerous brook trout that are eager to be caught. In the spring and fall, Atlantic Salmon migrate up from all of these lakes and provide excellent fishing opportunities in the river. There is some legal water for spinning rod fishing, but it’s mostly fly fishing.

8. Manistee River (Michigan)

Manistee River, in Michigan’s lower Peninsula, is one of the world’s best. It begins life as a tiny spring-fed brook trout stream deep in the lower Peninsula of Michigan. Although this isn’t the place to go for trophy trout, the brookies are stunning and brilliant, and they’re always eager to provide a wonderful experience. A few of browns do get into this region, and they can get rather large. While most people prefer to fly fish, spin fishing is both legal and successful in these waters.

9. Niagara River

Did you know that this magnificent river, which flows beneath Niagara Falls, is a great trout and salmon stream? This is a migratory fishery with decent counts of steelhead, brown trout, and several species of salmon. As you’ve probably guessed, this isn’t an easy river to fish. There are likely some locations where you may cast from the bank, but wading is out of the question. There are numerous expert guides in the region that will assist you in this gorgeous hazardous river, and we propose their services to guarantee a safe journey. This isn’t a major summer fishery, with the exception of during the spring and fall. There will always be some kind of salmonid traveling up the river during the spring and fall. In the summer, focus on smallmouths, which are plentiful and huge.

10. Beaverkill River

Is this one of the country’s 10 best trout streams? To be honest, it isn’t likely to be one. It’s just that the history on this stream is so illustrious that it would be a crime not to include it on the list.The Catskill River, which is famous for its trout fishing, begins as beaver-dammed mountain water. There are lots of eager brook trout in the higher elevations, and it’s relatively unexplored. This river is on public property, so if you want to explore it further, go ahead and do it. The Beaverkill Campground is the first stop for most people when they begin fishing. In the warmer months, you’ll find browns and brookies both in this gorgeous fast water setting, and it’s always a joy to fish there. In addition, because it doesn’t get nearly as hot as the lower reaches do during the summer, you can probably expect to catch a few if you have to arrive in July or August.

These are just ten streams that we believe merit discussion for one reason or another. It’s debatable whether these are truly the best ten trout rivers, as we noted before. However, it is true that these are excellent trout streams with characteristics that are truly beautiful.

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