There are two problems with telling someone about a great fishing hole:
1) You’ll have to share what was once your secret, secluded spot;
2) your friend could go home empty-handed, then soil your reputation by telling everyone you steer people to fishless waters. We’re willing to take that chance, so here are some prime backcountry spots to fish, or simply to relax by and watch ‘em jump.
(Note: Some of these rivers are long, so when planning your trip, you can call ahead to the appropriate land management agency and ask about good camping and fishing spots. Or better yet, for the most up-to-date information, phone the nearest fly-fishing shop or outfitter. They’ll know what’s biting, what flies to use, and where you should hike in.)
- Adirondack Park. New York: This park’s 6 million acres hold scores of streams and ponds that are accessible only by trail. Contact: The Adirondack Sport Shop, Wilmington, NY; (518) 946-2605; www.adirondackflyfishing.com.
- Big Thompson River, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado: If you get tired of catching rainbows, brookies, and cutthroats, you can stop and watch the bountiful wildlife this area features. Contact: Front Range Anglers, Boulder, CO; (303) 494-1375.
- Buffalo River, the Ozarks, Arkansas: Great for smallmouth bass. Contact: The Woodsman, Fort Smith, AR; (501) 452-3559.
- Eagle and Forney Creeks. Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Tennessee: There are about 700 miles of trout streams here, all far from the windshield tourists. Contact: Little River Outfitters, Townsend, TN; (423) 448-9459.
- Kerman Lake, Inyo National Forest, Sierra Nevada, California: Easy hiking through the aspens on the way to catching brilliant and challenging cutthroats and brook trout. Contact: The Troutfitter, Mammoth Lakes, CA; (760) 924-3676.
- Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area, Idaho: Beautiful canyon, beautiful fish. Who could ask for more? Contact: Silver Creek Outfitters, Ketchum, ID; (208) 726-5282.
- Rapid Creek, Black Hills, South Dakota: A blue-ribbon stream that’s home to brown trout and rainbows. Contact: Scheels All Sports, Rapid City, SD; (605) 342-9033; www.rapidnet.com/~jtuxford.
- Red River, New Mexico: The hiking is easy and the fishing is good year-round. Contact: Los Rios Anglers, Taos, NM; (505) 758-2798.
- Slough Creek on the Upper Yellowstone River, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming: If the trout aren’t biting here, keep hiking because Yellowstone is filled with great backcountry water. Contact: Yellowstone Angler, Livingston, MT; (406) 222-7130.
- White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire: Besides being a great hiking and backpacking destination, the Whites are home to plenty of mountain trout ponds that are usually stocked by helicopter. For a list of 53 ponds, contact: New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, Concord, NH; (603) 271-3211.
For More Destinations: Falcon Publishing Co. (P.O. Box 1718, Helena, MT 59624; 800-582-2665; www.falconguide.com) produces a series of fishing destination guidebooks. Some of the featured locales include: Alaska, the Beartooth Range in Montana, Florida, Glacier National Park in Montana, Maine, Montana, Yellowstone National Park, and Wyoming. Prices vary but average about $15.