Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Great Places to Fish With Us

Fishing on national forests and grasslands is sometimes more than a sport. For some, the rewards of lakes, rivers and streams feed families at home or at the campsite.

Thin strings of nylon or other materials can help bring home a king salmon, the most prized fish in Alaska, or a speckled trout from the cool Gold Medal Colorado rivers that flow through national forests.

State laws apply to fishing laws and regulations on all national forests and grasslands. Some states prohibit putting fish remains into the waters, lakes, streams or rivers after you have cleaned and gutted your catch. Some states set limits on the number of fish you can catch and when. Other rules are imposed by the national forest and grassland, such as not fishing during derbies or in areas posted as closed. But sure you know the rules before you angle to your favorite fishing spot.

Our partners at suggest these tips for a safe fishing experience:

  • If using a boat to fish, wear a life jacket and make sure each passenger wears one, too.
  • Inspect waterfronts daily—the natural environment is subject to change without notice.
  • Don’t fish in areas where it is not permitted. These areas have been declared “off limits” to protect wildlife, vegetation, or for your safety.
  • When choosing a site for fishing, always consider safety factors. Because fishing is practiced in a variety of environments, evaluate factors specific to safety in each environment.
  • Bring along extra safety items such as water, flashlights, maps, and a cell phone or radio.
  • Always wear foot gear appropriate to the conditions.
  • Stay dry, warm and protected from the elements. Wear a waterproof sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15. Wear thin layers of clothing that progress outward to include water and wind protection as the final layer.
  • Use appropriate insect protection measures, including proper clothing and repellents.
  • Keep fishing knives sharp and cover the blade when not in use.
  • Handle fish carefully.
  • Use caution when baiting and removing hooks.


Remember: You are responsible for your own safety and for the safety of those around you.