Escape Routes: Seven D.I.Y. Fishing Road Trips

Your dream road trip awaits—as do a mess of fish and a ton of fun.

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We’ll leave it to you to figure out what tackle to bring on your road trip. As for the other essentials, here’s a checklist.Photographs (clockwise from bottom right): Arian Stevens; Tom Fowlks; Brian Grossenbacher

Want to enjoy your best summer ever? Then load up your car with tackle and camping gear for an unforgettable fishing road trip. We’ve dreamed up 16 D.I.Y. adventures—all packed with amazing country, great food, and out-of-this-world fishing. You can send us a thank-you postcard from the road.

GREAT TRIPS

The Meat Marathon

Top off the gas tank and fill the cooler with ice. The summer bite near the nation's border in the Upper Midwest is your perfect chance to pack the freezer full of fresh fillets.

The Trash Haul

The stretch of the Mississippi River that splits Illinois and Missouri holds a bounty of trash fish in the American heartland. Sure, the river is great for bass and walleyes, but fish like carp, drum, and bigmouth buffalo are here in large numbers, creating shots at hard fights that those glamour species just can't deliver.

Minor League, Major Fishing

The summer road trip—like baseball and fishing—is an American institution. Combine all three with a journey to one of these minor-league parks that bat above average in fishing opportunities.

The 'Bow Crawl

Fish, drink, repeat. It's the mantra for many a trout bum, and it may as well be the Oregon state motto. No place else can claim the staggering number of craft breweries as found here, and most are just a cast from waters filled with trophy trout. The city of Bend serves as the starting point for an epic brew-and-trout road trip. Just remember to be responsible and take turns as the designated driver.

The Cat and 'Cue Run

Of all the south's defining characteristics, catfish and barbecue might be the most widespread. There's so much fish to catch and pork to eat, you can't go in a wrong direction. So, here's one option cutting through the middle of the region's ­catfish-​and-​'cue corridor.

National Treasures

This year marks the 100th anniversary of America's National Park Service. Celebrate the century mark by hooking into a trophy at one of these six road-trip-worthy park destinations.

The Lunker-Taco Trail

Bass and tacos—both are emblematic of central Texas, where big largemouths swim in the region's many lakes and homespun taquerias stand at seemingly every corner. To find the best, I grabbed food blogger and local taco expert José R. Ralat to serve as my copilot on this grande gustatorial adventure.

GREAT TIPS

Because junk food on a road trip is a rite of passage.