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What You Should Research Before a Fishing Trip in the South

Gone fishing? Fishing in the South can be wildly successful for many anglers. Warmer waters mean fish are more aggressive and likely to bite, and sunny weather also makes for more pleasant days of fishing. Fortunately, some of the country’s best fishing locations are in the South.

Before you plan your Southern fishing trip, however, you should do some research to ensure that you are totally prepared. You’ll not only need the right gear, but also some knowledge about where you’re fishing, proper technique and what species to target. Be sure to research the following factors before you leave for your next fishing adventure down South:


Before you can leave to go fishing, you obviously need to know where you’re going. Aside from the need for directions, however, there is plenty that you can learn about a fishing location to help you make the most of your time on the water. If you haven’t already picked a location, choose from some of the top fishing spots in the South. Otherwise, consider factors like local fishing laws and regulations, as well as where to find fish on a certain body of water. 

Most states require a fishing license. Research the location you’re planning to fish to figure out what licensing you’ll need. If you’re taking out a boat as well, you’ll need a boating license and proper registration. Be sure to follow all state and local laws wherever you go. Some locations have regulations about what you can catch, how much and catch and release laws to follow. There may also be laws about gear. Some locations don’t allow lead in their waters, and others may not allow new technology like drones, so leave your drone fishing kit at home. 

Best Fishing Locations in the South

Haven’t chosen a destination for your big fishing trip yet? Why not go to one of the best locations for casting your line in the South? The Southern states have plenty of great opportunities to catch fish, but the top places are known for both their abundance of fish and trophy-sized catches. Check out some of the best fishing locations in the South to maximize your chance of a catch. 

Lake Okeechobee, Florida

Lake Okeechobee is the second-largest freshwater body of water in the U.S., and it is one of the most popular fishing locations nationwide. Also one of the best bass lakes, it is known for an abundance of largemouth bass, crappie, pickerel and bluegill. 

Lake Fork, Texas

Lake Fork located east of Dallas is one of Texas’s best fishing lakes and a major tributary of the Sabine River. It is known for big bass and currently holds records for 34 out of the top 50 largemouth bass caught in Texas, but other common catches include white and black crappie, catfish and sunfish. 

Tellico River, Tennessee

Home to a nationally recognized trout stream in the Cherokee National Forest, the Tellico River is heavily stocked by the state and requires a permit to fish. Fly fishermen will want to try the river’s smaller, wild trout streams for native brook, rainbow and brown trout.

Species and Techniques

Once you know where you’re fishing, it’s important that you know what fish are located in that lake, river, or ocean. Different species will require different gear, lures, bait, and techniques. If you don’t know what you’re fishing for, how will you know how to fish or what gear to use?

If you go out without doing the proper research, you could be extremely unsuccessful or even end up losing or breaking gear. Imagine you go to a lake with huge bass, but you only packed for smaller fish. If you manage to hook a strong bass, it could potentially break your gear or drag your fishing rod out to sea. 

On the other hand, a day without a single nibble can be disappointing and can waste the money you spend on a boat charter, fuel, gear, bait, and so on. Research the species in your area and figure out what gear and techniques you should use. 


You should always check the weather before you go fishing. Luckily, the weather in the south is great for fishing (unless you love ice fishing). Warmer temperatures are typically better for fishing, and with steady warm days from spring through fall, there are ample opportunities for fishing. 

Still, check the weather the day of to dress for the temperature and to make sure it won’t rain while you’re fishing. The day after the rain is often the best day for fishing, so if you monitor the weather beforehand you can try to follow a storm. 

Regardless of the weather conditions, always carry a good pair of polarized glasses that will allow you to annihilate the glare and make your fishing sessions more relaxing.

Seasonal Changes

By seasonal changes, we don’t just mean the weather. The season can change fish behavior and alter how they eat, migrate and more. For most fish, spawning season brings changes in how they behave, and often they move locations to lay eggs. Before winter comes, many fish store up on nutrients, so it may be a good time to try and reel in a hungry fish. Ask a local guide, or do further research on species and behavior as it relates to their seasonal behavior. 

Do Your Research Before Your Next Fishing Trip

Be sure to do some research to make the most of your fishing trip! The south is a great area for fishing, but with extra knowledge you are sure to have a successful day out on the water. 

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