8 Great Fly Fishing Destinations
Hook a brownie, brookie or rainbow in one of the world's best fishing spots.
The rainbows and browns are out there, so what are you waiting for? Cast your line at one of these spectacular resorts and destinations. Most offer guides and instructions for every skill level, even if you don't know a fly rod from a plain old pole.
Blackberry Farm, Walland, Tennessee
Fly-fish two ponds or a stream on this 4,200-acre property in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. It's endorsed by Orvis, a leader in fishing, hunting and sporting goods. You can also drive into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to fish for wild rainbows and browns in some 700 miles of streams. Or reserve a Mackenzie-style drift boat, and fish the Clinch River, north of Knoxville, where the best fishing is from April through June and late August to early November. Blackberry Farm can also arrange guided fly-fishing on the Holston River, east of Knoxville, where your best shot at landing smallmouth bass and rainbows runs from late winter to spring.
The Lodge at Glendorn, Bradford, Pennsylvania
Surrounded by the majestic Allegheny Mountains, this lodge offers Orvis-endorsed angling for native brook trout, browns and rainbows on roughly three miles of Fuller Brook. You can also hit the west branch of “The Tuna,” or Tunungwant Creek, for trophy trout. Glendorn has three trout ponds for still water fishing, and offers guided drift boat and jet boat trips on the Clarion and Allegheny Rivers. Fishing on the Clarion peaks from April to early June; on the Allegheny, fishing is year-round, with peak-season depending on the outflow below the dam.
Madison Valley Ranch, Ennis, Montana
Named the 2015 Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Lodge of the Year, Madison Valley Ranch offers guided float or wade trips. The lodge is on the Madison River, known for its outstanding salmon fly hatch and great hopper fishing, and just behind the lodge, you can fish the Channels section of the Madison; Jurassic Pond, which boasts Kamloops rainbows; or Jack Creek, a dry fly stream populated with resident browns. The Bighole, Yellowstone, Beaverhead, Ruby and Gallatin Rivers are a short drive away. Find the best Montana fly-fishing seasons here.
Belcampo Lodge, Belize, Central America
Overlook the Rio Grande from this adventure lodge, and fly-fish for elusive permit at the Port of Honduras Marine Reserve. Luxurious Belcampo is about five miles from Punta Gorda. Guides will take you to the flats on a panga (a Mexican-style skiff with a casting platform up front). Tarpon, mutton snapper, Jack Crevalle and bonefish also swim in these waters. Note: conservation policies may restrict at least some of your fishing to "catch-and-release." The lodge offers fly-fishing packages year-round except when it is closed from September 30 to November 1. (Verify the closing dates, which may change, on the lodge’s website.)
Chiawa Camp & Old Mondoro, Zambia
Two award-winning camps, Chiawa and Old Mondoro, lie in Lower Zambezi National Park, a spectacular wilderness protected by the Zambian government. Both are highly-rated safari lodges on the Zambezi River. These Orvis-endorsed camps offer optional guides and boats; the best tiger fishing is from late August to late October. When you’re not casting, keep an eye out for elephants, hippos, lions and water buffalo.
The Moorings Village, Islamorada, Florida
After you’ve fished for bonefish, permit and tarpon in Islamorada, the “Sport Fishing Capital of the World,” cook your catch in a fully equipped kitchen at The Moorings. Winner of multiple readers’ choice awards, this 18-acre luxury resort is located on the site of a former coconut plantation. Charter a boat with an experienced captain or head out on your own to Florida Bay for redfish, snook and more.
Each year, Orvis-endorsed outfitters set up yurt camps in Mongolia, considered one of the world’s best fly-fishing destinations for its giant taimen (some up sixty inches long), as well as its native trout, grayling, and species of pike found nowhere else in the world. Meals and lodging are included in the nine to 11-day trips. You’ll stay in a hotel in Ulaanbaatar, the capital, on the night you arrive. Professional guides will take it from there, and you’ll have six or eight days to fish, primarily from drift-boats. Trips are offered from June to October.
This Orvis trip is the first of its kind to be 100 percent compliant with U.S. and Cuban regulations. It includes four days of guided fishing, with stops in Havana and Playa Larga, where you’ll have a chance to hook tarpon, snook, snapper and bonefish from the shallow, saltwater flats in Cienaga de Zapata National Park. Local guides, some of whom also work as park naturalists, will accompany you. Don’t miss the visit to the home Ernest Hemingway occupied from 1939 to 1960, where you can see his beloved fishing boat, Pilar.
Be sure to see each website for dates, pricing and other details, including requirements for fishing licenses and/or conservation and access fees. If you’re traveling internationally, visit the U.S. Department of State for information on passports and other documents you may need, vaccinations, currency restrictions, safety and security considerations and more.