Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, is an angler’s paradise. The refuge covers more than 240,000 acres and extends 261 river miles in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois. Photos, clockwise from bottom left, by Pam Steinhaus/USFWS, Stan Bousson, Cindy Samples/USFWS
Anglers are a secretive bunch. They’ll sooner understate the size of a fish they’ve caught than reveal their favorite fishing spot. We, in the National Wildlife Refuge System, are not secretive. We’re proud to say that more than 270 national wildlife refuges provide wonderful fishing spots for everyone. Learn about a handful of these spots from those who know them best in this week’s Refuge System photo essay, Gone Fishing.
Here is a smattering of what the essay includes.
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, Virginia. Photos by USFWS
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia offers Atlantic Ocean surf fishing outside life-guarded beach areas. Tip from ranger Aubrey Hall:
“In the summer, it’s better to hike away from the crowds who will be enjoying sunbathing, surfing etc. Learning to read waves is key, since fish tend to congregate in the sloughs between the shifting sandbars. Waves break on the sandbars themselves, so casting your line where the water is calmer will put your bait in a slough.”
Most common species caught year-round are striped bass and drumfish.
Hanford Reach National Monument, Washington. Top photo by USFWS, bottom by Bruce Hewitt
Hanford Reach National Monument, which includes 51 miles of free-flowing Columbia River in Washington state, is one of eight Mid-Columbia River national wildlife refuges. Trophy bass can be found in side channels and along the river’s rocky shorelines. Fall chinook salmon return every year by the thousands to spawn. Steelhead are found in the cold, clear water; however, all wild steelhead must be released unharmed. White sturgeon are found in the river’s deep holes. Most fishing is from motorboat. Kayak, raft or canoe trips can offer fishing, too. Bank fishing is possible, with bass being the best quarry.
Fly fishing is glorious on the Russian River at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Photo by Berkley Bedell/USFWS
Gone Fishing is part of the Refuge System’s series of weekly photo essays that highlight the conservation work and visitor opportunities at national wildlife refuges, wetland management districts and marine national monuments. A new photo essay is posted on the Refuge System home page each Wednesday. The essays are archived here.