The sun is blazing outside, there’s not a cloud in sight, you’ve got the day off, and there’s nothing you’d rather be doing than head out to the nearest lake or river to do some fishing.
Sounds perfect, right?
Of course, even the most familiar relaxation can stand to be shaken up now and then. If you’re dreaming of something a bit more adventurous than the local fishin’ hole, then here are some of the most unique spots for angling, ice fishing, trolling, and many more.
It’s a big world, and there are a lot of fish out there. Why limit yourself to just the local spots?
Here are a few of the most unusual and amazing fishing destinations in the world, as well as what to look out for, what you can catch there, and what sets them apart. In these spots, you’ll find natural splendor, new experiences, and fish that are well beyond the pale. Read on to find out more!
1. Lake Baikal, Russia
Russian cuisine is famous for its inclusion of incredible fresh fish dishes such as roe or caviar and herring, and with good reason:
The world’s largest country is home to some of the largest and most numerous rivers, lakes, and coasts, and Lake Baikal tops them all.
From the late spring thaw until the ice seals it over in autumn, Lake Baikal is an ideal fishing spot for pike, Arctic grayling, and Baikal sturgeon. The best way to get out on the water is to charter a boat in Moscow or in Listvyanka, a city on the southern tip of the lake where the Angara River flows out.
When winter comes, Lake Baikal is also a terrific ice fishing location. Here Baikal omul (a white salmonid) and Siberion lenok (trout) can be caught with the help of an experienced guide. Fish here are ususally smoked or grilled, or they can be sliced into long, thin strips called stroganina (or raskolotka around Lake Baikal) which are eaten raw with vodka and pickles.
2. Malindi, Kenya
Malindi lies at the mouth of the Kenya’s Galana River, at the far western edge of the Indian Ocean. This city usually doesn’t get as much attention from outsiders as its more southerly neighbor, the major port city of Mombasa.
So what does Malindi have?
Only some of the most stunning deep sea fishing in the world.
Fishing is a staple industry along the east coast and the Horn of Africa. It’s absolutely teeming with some of the largest and most challenging billfish to catch: blue, black, and striped marlin, sailfish, swordfish, and shortbill spearfish.
These can be caught from July until March when warm monsoon winds move up from the south, with billfish populations spiking around September. Popular methods include heavy-rod angling, trolling, and even spearfishing. These are renowned gamefish, well-regarded among both professional and recreational fishermen for their strength, size, and the difficulty in catching them.
Boats and equipment can be chartered through travel agencies in Nairobi and Mombasa, or through local companies in Malindi itself. With a large population of veteran fishermen, you’ll have your pick of experienced guides on this dazzling stretch of tropical blue water.
3. Graham Island, British Columbia
Graham Island is part of the remote Haida Gwaii, located over 30 miles off Canada’s west coast and between Alaska and Washington.
In a country famed for its fisheries, Graham Island must be something special to stand out — and stand out it most certainly does.
Home to enormous populations of King, Coho, and Chinook salmon, as well as equally impressive numbers of halibut, yellow eye, ling cod, and other bottom fish, Graham Island is not one to be missed by the traveling angler.
Apart from being an amazing fishing locale, Graham Island is also where the natural beauty of the Canadian Pacific can be seen in its fullest, with stunning inland forests of cedar, pine, hemlock, and alder. Its unique biome is the result of seeding and fertilization kicked off at the end of the last ice age as glaciers retreated.
All of this makes Graham Island one of the best spots for fishing in Canada: excellent game and food fish against a marvelous Northwest backdrop.
4. Tara River, Montenegro
Since it regained its independence in 2006, Montenegro has seen a remarkable uptick in interest in its forests, rivers, and mountains. Despite being such a small country, at only 5,333 square miles, it’s home to a rich and beautiful environment, and fish are no small part of that.
The prize fishing spot here? The Tara River.
While the river is better known to tourists for its thrilling rafting opportunities, it’s grown steadily in popularity for fishing tours. In the “gin-clear” water, as it’s known in fishing parlance, you can find abundant schools of stream trout, carp, grayling, and Danube salmon.
As with most tourism opportunities in Montenegro, tours are usually easiest to book in Podgorica, the capital, although along the river there are local tours and equipment rentals to be found. Fishing is only allowed with artificial baits and lures, which is just as well: apart from rod-and-reel angling, this river is an excellent spot for fly fishing.
5. Kiritimati (Christmas) Island, Kiribati
This is probably one of the more remote fishing destinations in the world, located over 1,300 miles south of Honolulu and accessible only by weekly flights from Hawaii or Fiji to Banana, the third-largest settlement on the island.
With only about 6,000 people and a local economy dependent on coconut and aquarium fish, there’s not much to draw travelers to this little corner of the Pacific.
So what’s the big deal?
Well, Kiritimati is known among connoisseurs as one of the most exquisite fly fishing spots in the world, featuring nearly ideal conditions for enthusiastic fly fishermen.
In the central Pacific, the weather is pretty consistent, meaning the concern with the correct season encountered in other fishing destinations is almost nonexistent, barring the odd tropical storm.
It also features five restricted wildlife preserves, which means the animal life on the island is exceptionally healthy. Bonefish, in particular, are this remote island’s claim to fame, with large schools of the hardy fish found in the innumerable salt flats there, as well as golden, island, and giant trevally.
Bonefish are known as one of the most challenging and satisfying gamefish to chase, with a reputation for tenacity and strength that only the most dedicated of fishermen can match. While they can be eaten, they’re more often released back into the wild. A better bet for your supper is the giant trevally, which can clock in at a whopping 176 pounds.
6. Lule River, Sweden
Luleälven, as it’s known in Swedish, is the very picture of the remote Northern Hemisphere. Rising from its source in Swedish Lapland and stretching for 290 miles to the Gulf of Bothnia on the Baltic Coast, this waterway is well-loved among Swedish ice-fishermen for its excellent winter fishing.
Here one can easily understand how the Sami people of northern Scandinavia would have had to innovate to stay fed in the long, dark, sub-Arctic winters by cutting holes in the frozen-over river to get at the countless salmon and trout below.
Luckily, we’ve come a long way since then, so you can now go ice fishing purely for fun. It’s still best to be safe, though: complete dark or relentless sunlight can confuse and distress newcomers.
Among the most numerous, and popular, fish to catch in the Lule are salmon, Arctic char, peled, grayling, trout, and perch. Salmon are particularly good to look out for; in Luleå, the town at the mouth of the river, salmon fishing was the main industry until a steel mill was set up in the 1970s. In 1949, 110 metric tons of fish were caught by Luleå fishermen on the river - an astonishing amount when using traditional fishing methods.