Best Destinations


Catfish are so popular in many different types of water.  You can usually find them close to home depending on where you live.  They may be in the neighborhood ponds, rivers or nearby lakes in good numbers, so most people do not plan specific trips just to catch catfish.  However, many anglers do plan trips to go target some quality catfish in some of the better vacation destinations throughout the United States and into Canada.  Below are some of the best destinations to target catfish in a good fishing vacation destination.


California Delta Lake Powell
Chattanooga, TN
Clear Lake Lake Texoma
Kentucky Lake
Lake Barkley Manitoba
Lake Fork Norfork Lake
Lake Guntersville Patoka Lake
Lake Oroville
Lake Pepin Rend Lake

Alabama


Lake Guntersville


Lake Guntersville stretches 75 miles from Guntersville Dam to Nickajack Dam.  It is Alabama’s largest lake at 69,000 acres.  It is a popular lake for recreation such as fishing and boating.

This is a very popular lake on many bass fishing tournament circuits.  Lake Guntersville gives anglers a chance to catch good numbers of bass to go along with some very big bass. Even with the very high fishing pressure on this lake, it just continues to produce year after year.


Pickwick Lake & Wilson Lake


Pickwick & Wilson Lakes are very popular for fishing and boating.  This area is known as one of the better fishing destinations in the country for multiple species of fish.  Whether you come here to enjoy the outdoors, go boating or go fishing, you have a lot of water to explore here.

Pickwick Lake and Wilson Lake offer some tremendous fishing opportunities for a variety of different fish species.  This area has definitely gained in popularity over the years due to its excellent fishing throughout the year.  Whether you’re looking for numbers, big fish or a variety of fish, it’s all here.  It is known for its awesome smallmouth bass fishing, but there is a lot more here than just smallies.  It’s one of the better fishing vacation destinations in the south.


Arizona


Lake Powell


The Colorado River impounded behind Glen Canyon Dam near Page, Arizona forms Lake Powell.  This lake is over 570 feet deep when filled to capacity.  Part of Lake Powell is in Arizona and the bigger portion of the lake is in Utah.  Since Lake Powell occupies two states, make sure you know the fishing regulations of the state that you are going to be fishing.  Lake Powell is known as a popular houseboating destination.

Lake Powell has good fishing for a variety of species of fish.  The striped bass fishery took off here and due to a “keep everything you catch” plan, it has helped this fishery avoid the boom and bust days that were common years ago.  It may seem weird that people come in and keep 100 striped bass in a day, but it actually helps this fishery because the spawn is so good here for the striped bass that if left unchecked, they would eat all the shad and the fishery would collapse.  Lake Powell is known for its striped bass, but it also has good fishing for so many other species of fish.  Target largemouth or smallmouth bass, catfish, walleye and panfish here and you’ll have plenty of action.


Arkansas


Beaver Lake


Beaver Lake is located high in the Ozark Mountains of northwest Arkansas, which is the birthplace of the White River.  The lake features around 487 miles of natural shoreline offering visitors plenty of recreational opportunities.  Beaver Lake is a popular vacation destination for boating, fishing, golfing, hiking and just relaxing around the beautiful lake.  Beaver Lake has more than 28,000 surface acres of water.

Beaver Lake is an awesome multi-species fishing lakes.  Striped bass are king here, but there are a variety of other bass, walleye, many different types of panfish and some awesome trout fishing close by.


Bull Shoals Lake


Bull Shoals Lake is located on the border of Missouri and Arkansas.  You can enjoy fishing, boating, hiking or just relaxing around the lake.  This region has plenty of places to stay, boat rentals and restaurants so you can plan a trip here, but don’t expect to find bigger towns with tons of stores.  This is an uncrowded destination, making it a wonderful place to get away from it all.  Just plan accordingly with the things you will need for a week on the lake.  Bull Shoals Lake is an awesome multi-species fishing lake.  Many different species of bass are available to go along with walleye, catfish, trout and panfish.


Norfork Lake


Norfork Lake is one of the most popular vacation spots in the Ozarks.  The lake has some beautiful surroundings to go along with its clear water.  With over 550 miles of shoreline and 22,000 surface acres, there is plenty of water here for pleasure boaters and fishermen.  Because of the warm climate, you can fish this lake year round.  The lake does not freeze over.

Norfork Lake is known as a good striped bass fishing lake, but there is so much more here to offer anglers.  Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, white bass, bream, crappie, walleye and catfish are all here.  Many of the species of fish are underfished and there is more water here to fish in a lifetime.


Canada


Manitoba


Manitoba is remote and a farther drive for most people looking to go to Canada, however, there are some awesome places to fish in Manitoba.  You aren’t going to find as many lakes or areas that are super popular like you will in Ontario, so we just listed the resorts and lodges as well as guide services in alphabetical order.  There is a little bit of everything in Manitoba, but most people come here for the awesome northern pike, walleye and lake trout fisheries.


California


California Delta


dsfs


Clear Lake


Clear Lake is a very popular boating and fishing destination in California.  It’s only a couple of hours from San Francisco, which helps make it such a popular destination.  This lake is beautiful and it offers visitors so much to do if you enjoy outdoor recreation.  Clear Lake is known as one of the better bass fishing lakes in the entire country.  With its excellent weather, anglers can fish Clear Lake year round.


Lake Oroville


Lake Oroville is a large reservoir that was formed by the Oroville Dam across the Feather River.  The lake is situated in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada about 5 miles northeast of Oroville.  The lake is fed by the North Fork, Middle Fork, West Branch and South Forks of the Feather River and it is a popular lake for recreation.  The fishing can be very good for a variety of different fish.


Illinois


Lake Shelbyville


Lake Shelbyville is one of the most popular lakes in Illinois.  It has 11,000 acres of water with an average depth of 16 feet and a maximum depth of 67 feet.  There are 250 miles of shoreline with many creek arms that provide excellent cover for a variety of fish.

This lake is known for producing trophy largemouth bass.  Lake Shelbyville is a popular lake for bass fishing tournaments and many bass are caught in the 4 to 7 pound range every year.  There are also plenty of other fish to catch such as crappie, catfish, white bass, walleye, northern pike, muskie and bluegill.  Anglers report catches of muskie over 40 inches and catfish over 10 pounds to go along with stringers full of crappie and white bass.  Lake Shelbyville is a big lake and it may take some time to learn it, but the fishing can be incredible once you know some of the better spots to fish.


Rend Lake


Rend Lake is a huge lake with 18,900 acres of water and over 20,000 acres of land in Jefferson and Franklin counties.  Rend Lake is one of the few lakes in Illinois where you can find some nice resorts to accommodate you.  Rend Lake is very popular for boating, fishing, hunting and golfing.  Because of the warmer climate in southern Illinois, the fish grow faster in Rend Lake than in the lakes in northern Illinois.

Rend Lake is a good multi-species lake with largemouth bass, crappie, white bass, catfish and bluegill available.  Most anglers come here to target largemouth bass and crappie.  Some very big bass up to and above 7 pounds are caught here every year.


Indiana


Patoka Lake


Patoka Lake is a very large lake located in southern Indiana.  The lake covers 8,800 acres and it is very popular for fishing and boating.  This lake is one of the more popular lakes in Indiana to get away for the weekend.  There are a variety of fish in Patoka Lake.

In this lake, there are good populations of largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, striped bass, catfish and white bass.  Bass fishing tournaments have grown in popularity here over the last few years.  Bass in the 3 to 5 pound range are common and many tournaments will see a big fish that exceeds 5 pounds.  Muskie and pike are here too, but in smaller numbers.


Kentucky


Kentucky Lake


Kentucky Lake is one of the world’s largest man-made lakes.  The lake covers 2,380 miles of shoreline and 160,000 acres of water.  Kentucky Lake is a very popular vacation destination.  Whether you’re coming here for a fishing getaway or a family vacation, there is something to do for everyone.

Kentucky Lake is known for its tremendous crappie fishery.  Spring and fall are the best times to plan a trip for the crappie fishing.  During the spawn, 1 – 1.5 pound crappie are considered common.  Largemouth and smallmouth bass are also plentiful on Kentucky Lake.  There are more largemouth than smallmouth in the lake, but if you target the rocky areas, you can usually find some smallmouth bass.  If you time the spawn right in the spring, you can experience some awesome fishing for largemouth bass with 30 to 50 fish days being possible.  Get away from the crowds and find the pattern and you will catch more fish.  Other species that are available are white bass, sunfish, sauger, catfish and striped bass.


Lake Barkley


Lake Barkley was impounded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1966. The dam impounds the Cumberland River near Grand Rivers, Kentucky, approximately 38 miles up stream from where the Cumberland empties into the Ohio River.  One mile above the dam is a canal connecting Lake Barkley with Kentucky Lake, forming one of the greatest freshwater recreational areas in the country.

There are many opportunities for fishing Lake Barkley.  There is a very healthy population of crappie, largemouth bass, white bass, catfish, sauger and bluegill.  Spring crappie fishing is a favorite for most anglers.  The crappie spawn is an excellent time to fish with fish all over the shallows from 4 to 6 feet deep.  In some areas, you can find them in as shallow as 1 foot of water or less.  Bass fishing is also excellent on this lake.  May and June are excellent times for catching trophy bass.  Anglers also like to target catfish and white bass.


Minnesota


Lake Pepin


Lake Pepin is a 24,550 acre lake that is located on the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin. This is a popular lake for fishing and boating.  There are numerous public boat launches, fishing guide services, marinas and plenty of lodging options to accommodate you on your trip here.

Lake Pepin is a very good walleye and sauger fishery.  Anglers can catch good numbers of walleye to go along with some big fish too.  Pike are caught throughout the lake as well and there are some big pike here too.  Fish in the 30 inch range are reported frequently on Lake Pepin.

Bass are under fished here due to the walleye, sauger and northern pike fishing.  You can target largemouth bass and smallmouth bass and do fairly well here, but they are definitely a secondary species of fish here.  Catfish are common throughout the lake, but they don’t get a lot of interest from most anglers who fish here.


Missouri


Bull Shoals Lake


Bull Shoals Lake is located on the border of Missouri and Arkansas.  You can enjoy fishing, boating, hiking or just relaxing around the lake.  This region has plenty of places to stay, boat rentals and restaurants so you can plan a trip here, but don’t expect to find bigger towns with tons of stores.  This is an uncrowded destination, making it a wonderful place to get away from it all.  Just plan accordingly with the things you will need for a week on the lake.  Bull Shoals Lake is an awesome multi-species fishing lake.  Many different species of bass are available to go along with walleye, catfish, trout and panfish.


Oklahoma


Lake Texoma


Lake Texoma is one of the largest reservoirs in the United States.  Located along the Oklahoma – Texas border, this lake covers over 89,000 surface acres.  Lake Texoma is extremely popular among anglers and boaters alike.  The lake draws around 6 million annual visitors.

For fishermen, Lake Texoma offers some of the best striped bass fishing in the entire country.  Natural reproduction maintains a strong year-round striped bass fishery on this lake.  Many lakes that have striped bass must rely on stocking efforts, but on Texoma, they naturally reproduce, which allows for some fantastic fishing and liberal regulations.  Last we checked, each person is allowed to keep 10 fish with only 2 over 20 inches, but make sure to check the regulations before you head out onto the lake.  There are plenty of fishing guides available and this is one of the very few lakes that you can limit out consistently in a couple of hours or less with the right guide.


South Carolina


Santee Cooper Lakes


Lake Marion

Lake Marion is the largest lake in South Carolina, covering over 100,000 acres.  It is one of the Santee Cooper Lakes and it is known for its excellent catfish fishery.  The crappie fishing is also very good, but this lake really stands out for its catfish.  Fish in the 10 to 20 pound range are common and there are many fishing guides that can take you out for some incredible fishing.  Striped bass, largemouth bass and bluegill round out a good fishery.

Lake Moultrie

Lake Moultrie is the third largest lake in South Carolina and it covers over 60,000 acres. There is plenty of public access on the lake and it is very popular among fishermen.  Lake Moultrie is one of the best lakes in the country for catfish.  Catfish anglers flock to this lake and channel cats in the 10 to 20 pound range are very common here.  There are some other species on the lake as well, but none get the attention that catfish do on Lake Moultrie.  Other fish consist of striped bass, largemouth bass, crappie and bluegill.


Tennessee


Chattanooga, TN


Chattanooga is the 4th largest city in Tennessee.  This city is located at the transition between the ridge-and-valley portion of the Appalachian Mountains and the Cumberland Plateau.  The scenery is beautiful in Chattanooga with mountains and ridges surrounding the city.

Fishing is also very good in this area with the Tennessee River, Chickamauga Lake and Nickajack Lake.  Anglers target largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, huge catfish, striped bass, crappie and bluegill.


Kentucky Lake


Kentucky Lake is one of the world’s largest man-made lakes.  The lake covers 2,380 miles of shoreline and 160,000 acres of water.  Kentucky Lake is a very popular vacation destination.  Whether you’re coming here for a fishing getaway or a family vacation, there is something to do for everyone.

Kentucky Lake is known for its tremendous crappie fishery.  Spring and fall are the best times to plan a trip for the crappie fishing.  During the spawn, 1 – 1.5 pound crappie are considered common.  Largemouth and smallmouth bass are also plentiful on Kentucky Lake.  There are more largemouth than smallmouth in the lake, but if you target the rocky areas, you can usually find some smallmouth bass.  If you time the spawn right in the spring, you can experience some awesome fishing for largemouth bass with 30 to 50 fish days being possible.  Get away from the crowds and find the pattern and you will catch more fish.  Other species that are available are white bass, sunfish, sauger, catfish and striped bass.


Texas


Lake Fork


Lake Texoma


Lake Texoma is one of the largest reservoirs in the United States.  Located along the Oklahoma – Texas border, this lake covers over 89,000 surface acres.  Lake Texoma is extremely popular among anglers and boaters alike.  The lake draws around 6 million annual visitors.

For fishermen, Lake Texoma offers some of the best striped bass fishing in the entire country.  Natural reproduction maintains a strong year-round striped bass fishery on this lake.  Many lakes that have striped bass must rely on stocking efforts, but on Texoma, they naturally reproduce, which allows for some fantastic fishing and liberal regulations.  Last we checked, each person is allowed to keep 10 fish with only 2 over 20 inches, but make sure to check the regulations before you head out onto the lake.  There are plenty of fishing guides available and this is one of the very few lakes that you can limit out consistently in a couple of hours or less with the right guide.


Wisconsin


Lake Pepin


Lake Pepin is a 24,550 acre lake that is located on the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin. This is a popular lake for fishing and boating.  There are numerous public boat launches, fishing guide services, marinas and plenty of lodging options to accommodate you on your trip here.

Lake Pepin is a very good walleye and sauger fishery.  Anglers can catch good numbers of walleye to go along with some big fish too.  Pike are caught throughout the lake as well and there are some big pike here too.  Fish in the 30 inch range are reported frequently on Lake Pepin.

Bass are under fished here due to the walleye, sauger and northern pike fishing.  You can target largemouth bass and smallmouth bass and do fairly well here, but they are definitely a secondary species of fish here.  Catfish are common throughout the lake, but they don’t get a lot of interest from most anglers who fish here.


Lake Winnebago


Lake Winnebago is the nation’s second largest inland freshwater lake.  It is 28 miles long, 11 miles wide and covers 137,700 acres.  It is so big that it takes up space in 3 different counties including Winnebago, Fond du Lac and Calumet.  The lake covers 85 miles of shoreline and you can find plenty of lighthouses, launch ramps, harbors, parks and restaurants around the water.  The lake is very popular for a variety of outdoor activities.  There is plenty of room on the lake for everyone.

The fishing on Lake Winnebago is excellent.  It is a large lake, but it is not as overwhelming as some would think.  It is known as a great numbers lake for walleye and there are many other species of fish that you can catch here too.