The Top 10 Fish to Catch in 2023: A Comprehensive Guide for Anglers

top fish to catch

Fishing isn’t just a pastime; it’s an adventure, a dance between humans and nature. Each tug at the end of the line is a thrill that pulses through your veins, a connection that ties you to the world beneath the waves. Angling enthusiasts, whether experienced or new to the sport, are in for an incredible experience in 2023. Our carefully curated selection presents the top ten fish species that will undoubtedly capture your attention and entice you to cast your line.

From freshwater bass to saltwater tunas, our list is brimming with fish that offer not only a worthy challenge but also a worthwhile reward. Read on to discover what the waters have in store for you in 2023! Each of these aquatic wonders has a unique tale to tell, from their intriguing behaviors to their preferred hideouts. So grab your fishing gear and prepare for an unforgettable fishing journey!

Join us as we explore the intricacies of each fish species, including their natural environments, optimal fishing periods, and valuable advice for effectively catching them. This is your roadmap to fishing success in 2023. And remember, fishing is not just about the catch; it’s about the moments of serenity between each bite, the meditative lull broken by the thrill of a catch, and the stories that emerge from every fishing trip. Now, let’s cast our line and reel in the knowledge of the top 10 fish to catch in 2023!

Largemouth Bass

top fish to catch
  • Habitat: Clear, quiet bodies of fresh water, such as lakes, rivers, and streams.
  • Catch time: Early morning and late afternoon, or in the period before spring spawning.
  • Gear: Medium weight rod, 10 to 20 lb test line bait or spinning reel, select bait or live bait.

Largemouth Bass are abundant in lakes and rivers in the southern United States and throughout North America. They’re drawn to areas with lots of cover, like submerged logs, weed beds, and man-made structures.

The best time to catch Largemouth Bass is during the warmer months, typically from late spring through to early fall. Early mornings and late evenings are their most active feeding times.

When it comes to the equipment, a medium-heavy rod with a fast action is often a top choice. Soft plastic lures, crankbaits, or spinnerbaits can all be effective in enticing a bite.

Please keep in mind that capturing Largemouth Bass involves not only reeling them in but also locating their whereabouts initially. But don’t worry, the reward of catching one is worth every second of the hunt!

Next up, we’re heading to the colder waters to meet a true predator: the Northern Pike. Stay tuned and keep those lines ready!

Northern Pike

top fish to catch
  • Habitat: Clear, quiet, cooler bodies of water, including lakes, rivers, and streams, preferring places with lots of vegetation.
  • Catch time: During the pre-spawning period in late winter and early spring, in the morning and evening.
  • Gear: Spinning or bait reels of 10 to 20 lb test line

Northern Pike inhabits fresh waters across the northern hemisphere, including North America, Europe, and Asia. Look for them near underwater plants and structures, where they hide to ambush their prey.

When is the best time to catch these fighters? Late spring and early fall are prime times. But don’t limit yourself – pike is active year-round. Even ice fishing for Northern Pike can be an adventure!

In terms of gear, a heavier rod and reel combo is recommended due to the Pike’s size and strength. When it comes to baits and lures, spoons, spinners, and swimbaits are popular choices. Remember, these fish have sharp teeth, so a wire leader is a must to prevent them from biting through your line.

Catching a Northern Pike isn’t just a thrill – it’s a fishing accomplishment. Stay patient, keep your gear sturdy, and brace yourself for the moment that Pike strikes. And when it does, oh boy, will it be a ride!

Now, we’re setting sail for the high seas, where the majestic Blue Marlin awaits. Keep on reading to discover the allure of this saltwater giant!

Blue Marlin

top fish to catch
  • Habitat: Warm ocean waters.
  • Catch time: Most active during the warmer months, often caught during daylight hours.
  • Gear: Heavy-duty rods and reels with 50-100 lb test line, large bait, or live bait.

Blue Marlins are typically found in warm and tropical waters in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. This species is known for its preference for pelagic environments, residing in vast open seas, far from coastlines. Blue Marlin are often found near the surface, especially in areas where there are sharp underwater cliffs or seamounts, which push nutrients to the surface and attract smaller fish that Marlin feed on.

The best time to catch Blue Marlin depends on the location, but in general, warmer months are more productive. Keep in mind; these are powerful, large fish. It’s crucial to have the right gear, including a sturdy fishing rod and a high-capacity reel.

Lures for Blue Marlin are often brightly colored and designed to imitate the fish they eat. You might use artificial lures or rigged natural baits. It’s also common to troll for Marlin, which means dragging your bait behind a moving boat.

Catching a Blue Marlin is a memorable experience, the kind of fishing story you’ll be telling your grandkids about. Remember, it’s not just about catching. It’s also about respecting this magnificent creature and releasing it to fight another day.

Our next stop takes us back to the freshwater world, where the lively Yellowfin Tuna is eager to meet you.

Yellowfin Tuna

top fish to catch
  • Habitat: Warm Waters, Pacific and Indian Oceans.
  • Catch time: Warm months, early mornings, and late evenings.
  • Gear: Medium to heavy-duty rod and reel setups.

Yellowfin Tuna are found in warm waters worldwide, mainly in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. They’re pelagic, like our friend the Blue Marlin, living in open water far from shore.

These fish are most active during the warmer months. You’ll have a better chance of catching Yellowfin Tuna early in the morning and late in the afternoon, as these are their prime feeding times.

When it comes to gear, go for a medium to heavy rod and reel setup. It needs to be sturdy to handle the Yellowfin’s strength. For bait, consider using live or dead natural baits like sardines, mackerel, or squid. Artificial lures can work too, especially if they mimic the fish’s natural prey.

Catching a Yellowfin Tuna is like winning a sea-bound marathon. They are known for their long, hard fights, so be prepared for some serious rod-bending action. Once you’ve reeled one in, you’re in for a treat, as Yellowfin Tuna is highly prized for its delicious, firm meat.

Next, we’re heading back to the cooler freshwater world where the vibrant Rainbow Trout awaits. So keep reading, the adventure continues!

Rainbow Trout

top fish to catch
  • Habitat: Coldwater rivers in North America and Asia.
  • Catch time: Early mornings and late evenings in spring and fall.
  • Gear: Medium action rods, worms, spinners, and flies.

Rainbow Trout are originally from cold-water rivers in North America and Asia but have been introduced to other areas around the world. They thrive in cold, clear water where they can find plenty of insects, their favorite food.

Rainbow Trout are most active in spring and fall, making these seasons the best times for catching them. Early mornings and late evenings, when insects are buzzing about, offer some of the best fishing opportunities.

When it comes to gear, a light to medium-action rod is typically sufficient. As for baits and lures, the options are endless. Everything from live worms to small spinners and flies can be used to lure in this vibrant fish.

Catching a Rainbow Trout is a thrill, thanks to their acrobatic jumps and strong runs. And let’s not forget the sheer beauty of these fish. Their colorful skin glistening in the sunlight is truly a sight to behold!

Up next, we’re going to meet a tropical beauty: the Dorado, also known as Mahi-Mahi. The adventure continues, so stay with us!

Dorado (Mahi-Mahi)

top fish to catch
  • Habitat: Warm, tropical, and subtropical oceans worldwide.
  • Catch time: warmer months.
  • Gear: A medium-weight spinning or baitcasting setup.

Mahi-Mahi are found in warm, tropical, and subtropical oceans worldwide. They like to stay near the surface, often hiding under floating objects or seaweed. To find these amazing treasures, watch for floating objects on the water’s surface where they tend to gather.

Fish can be caught all year, but warmer months usually yield better results. Early mornings are the prime fishing time for Mahi-Mahi as they’re the most active feeders during this period.

As for gear, a medium-weight spinning or baitcasting setup usually does the trick. Mahi-Mahi loves flashy, fast-moving lures. Try out bright-colored poppers, jigs, or trolling lures to attract their attention.

The thrill of hooking a Mahi-Mahi is something every angler should experience. They are quick, strong, and often leap out of the water, creating a spectacle that’s hard to forget. And the reward? Mahi-Mahi is not only a joy to catch, but it’s also a delight to eat, known for its sweet, firm flesh.

Coming up next, we’re swapping the tropical heat for the cool rivers of North America. Get ready to meet King Salmon, a true heavyweight of the freshwater world.

King Salmon (Chinook Salmon)

top fish to catch
  • Habitat: Northern Pacific Ocean and the river systems.
  • Catch time: Spawning runs, which can occur at various times between spring and fall.
  • Gear: A heavy-duty rod.

King Salmon are native to the northern Pacific Ocean and the river systems that flow into it. They tend to favor deep, cold waters in lakes and rivers but travel upstream to shallow spawning grounds during the breeding season.

The best time to fish for King Salmon largely depends on their spawning runs, which can occur at various times between spring and fall. The action can be fast and furious during these runs, so make sure you’re ready!

As for gear, you’ll want a heavy-duty rod and reel that can handle the King Salmon’s power. Bait options include herring, squid, and even shrimp. Artificial lures such as spinners and spoons can also be successful.

Catching a King Salmon is a remarkable achievement. They’re known for their vigorous fights and strong, sudden runs that will test both your gear and your skills. Once you’ve landed one, you’ll know why they’re called “King.” They truly are royalty in the fishing world!

Next, we’re heading back to the saltwater domain, where the majestic Tarpon awaits. So don’t stop now, our journey continues!


top fish to catch
  • Habitat: Warm coastal waters.
  • Catch time: Warmer months
  • Gear: A sturdy, heavy-duty rod and reel setup.

Tarpons inhabit warm coastal waters, especially around the Atlantic Ocean. Such organisms are commonly observed in prominent destinations like Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean. These fish prefer shallow waters and are often found near river mouths, mangroves, and even in some freshwater systems.

The prime time to hook a Tarpon varies by region, but in many places, the warmer months are best. Tarpon are known to feed most actively early in the morning and late in the evening.

Due to the Tarpon’s size and strength, a sturdy, heavy-duty rod and reel setup is a must. Live baits like mullet, pinfish, or crabs are popular choices. Artificial lures, including plugs, jigs, and soft plastics, can also entice a bite.

Catching a Tarpon is an exhilarating experience, filled with high jumps, head-shaking, and long runs. Fishing for Tarpon is like a roller-coaster ride that requires strength, patience, and a bit of luck. Once you’ve experienced it, you’ll be hooked for life!

Coming up next, we’re going to meet a freshwater favorite, the playful Crappie. So stay tuned; the excitement isn’t over yet!


top fish to catch
  • Habitat: Lakes, rivers, and reservoirs in North America
  • Catch time: Early morning and late afternoon.
  • Gear: A light to medium-action rod and reel combo.

Crappies are freshwater fish native to North America. You’ll find them in many lakes, rivers, and reservoirs, where they enjoy hanging out in schools around structures like submerged trees, docks, and weed beds.

The optimal periods for fishing crappies are during the early morning and late afternoon, particularly in the spring and fall seasons. It is these times when they tend to approach the shore for their spawning activities. These are the periods when they’re most active and likely to bite.

When it comes to gear, a light to medium-action rod and reel combo should suffice. As for bait, minnows are a favorite among crappies. If you prefer artificial lures, small jigs in bright colors can be very effective.

Catching a Crappie is a joy, plain and simple. Although not the biggest fish in the water, anglers love their scrappy fights and tasty fillets, making them a favorite catch. Plus, their tendency to hang out in schools means where there’s one, there are often many more!

But don’t pack up just yet! We’ve got one more fish to meet: the mighty Goliath Grouper.

Goliath Grouper

top fish to catch
  • Habitat: Warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Catch time: The warmer months.
  • Gear: Heavy-duty fishing gear.

Goliath Groupers dwell in the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean. They’re most common in the Florida Keys, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean. These behemoths prefer shallow, tropical waters and love to hang out near coral reefs and shipwrecks.

While Goliath Groupers can be caught year-round, the warmer months are generally the best times to try your luck. These fish are primarily daytime feeders, making early morning and late afternoon prime fishing hours.

Given the Goliath Grouper’s immense size and strength, you’ll need heavy-duty fishing gear. Large baitfish such as mullet, jack, or even small barracuda make great bait for these mammoth creatures.

Catching a Goliath Grouper is an experience like no other. The moment they strike, you’ll feel their raw power. Be prepared for an intense fight, these groupers are known to dive back towards the safety of their reefs or shipwrecks, testing your gear and resolve to the limit.


That’s it! Our thrilling journey across the waters has come to an end. We’ve journeyed from the freezing rivers of North America to the warm, tropical seas, meeting an array of majestic fish along the way. From the fierce Northern Pike to the colossal Goliath Grouper, each of these amazing creatures offers its own unique challenge and reward, making every fishing trip an unforgettable adventure.

It’s about immersing yourself in nature, appreciating the tranquil solitude, and enjoying the exhilarating rush of landing a fish. This hobby teaches us important qualities such as patience, appreciation for nature, and self-reflection.

We hope that this list of the top 10 fish to catch in 2023 has ignited a spark of adventure in you. Despite fishing experience, the pursuit offers new opportunities to learn about different fish species and explore unexplored waterways.

As you embark on your next fishing expedition, keep these incredible fish in mind. But more importantly, enjoy the process, respect the waterways, and appreciate the intricate beauty of these aquatic creatures. After all, every day spent fishing is a good day.

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