While participation numbers have suffered greatly for a number of activities while we deal with this pandemic, one thing is seeing a historic surge.


According to the latest figures, more than 55 million Americans have grabbed a rod and reel in the past year, that's the highest total in nearly 15 years.

And with National Hunting and Fishing Day coming up Saturday (September 25), it's likely we'll see a whole host of people doing playing 'weekend angler'.

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So which states are the best, and worst, when it comes to the whole fishing experience?

Lawn Love looked at figures from Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Field & Stream, and Scheels to get the answer.

If you're looking for South Dakota on the list, you'll be searching a bit.

The Mount Rushmore State is ranked as the eighth-worst fishing state in America thanks to poor showings in two key categories.

Not surprisingly, South Dakota is 44th in the 'access' category, which factors in things like the amount of shoreline and the number of marinas.

The state also was in the bottom ten in the 'cost' category, which looks at how much money it takes for fishing licenses, tags, and permits.

On the plus side, South Dakota was 12th in supplies (fishing gear stores and bait and tackle shops per 100,000 residents) and 13th in community (fishing license issues per capita, number of fishing competitions, and number of fishing charters and guides).


  1. Nevada
  2. Arizona
  3. New Mexico
  4. Kansas
  5. Nebraska
  6. Utah
  7. Tennessee
  8. South Dakota
  9. Colorado
  10. Arkansas

Not surprisingly, the best places to drop a line in America all have proximity to the ocean, major lake, or both.


  1. Alaska
  2. Michigan
  3. Maine
  4. Rhode Island
  5. Florida
  6. Hawaii
  7. Wisconsin
  8. Massachusetts
  9. Louisiana
  10. Alabama

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Many of the included towns jump out at the casual observer as popular summer-rental spots--the Ozarks' Branson, Missouri, or Arizona's Lake Havasu--it might surprise you to dive deeper into some quality-of-life offerings beyond the beach and vacation homes. You'll likely pick up some knowledge from a wide range of Americana: one of the last remaining 1950s-style drive-ins in the Midwest; a Florida town that started as a Civil War veteran retirement area; an island boasting some of the country's top public schools and wealth-earners right in the middle of a lake between Seattle and Bellevue; and even a California town containing much more than Johnny Cash's prison blues.

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