The mighty Mississippi, America’s most thrilling river, offers an electrifying fishing experience unlike any other! Converging with the Ohio River just west of Paducah, the mighty Mississippi surges powerfully for miles before crashing into the Tennessee border.

A jaw-dropping variety of hard-fighting fish call the middle Mississippi home, and you can hook into nearly all of them with a fly rod! Carp, which have exploded in popularity among fly fishermen over the last five years, are especially plentiful. While wading is mostly impossible in the Mississippi, a canoe or kayak is the perfect way to explore this iconic American waterway while hunting for fish.

The Mississippi has certainly faced pollution issues, but mankind’s impact on this massive watershed has also produced the ideal conditions for some fish to thrive, giving anglers a thrilling adventure on America’s most significant river. Anglers can expect to battle huge striped bass, feisty black bass, and the underrated carp.

Carp are wrongly blamed for damaging the Mississippi, but scientists know carp actually prefer muddy, flat areas that other fish avoid, so they’re not really competing. Carp have become all the rage in fly fishing because they are so challenging to catch, fight like bulls, and provide the closest thing to saltwater flat fishing—earning the name “the poor man’s bonefish”! Catching carp requires skill, but a few large nymphs and a 7- to 9-weight rod will get you in on the action.

You can fish anywhere along the public Mississippi in Kentucky, but Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site and Columbus-Belmont State Park offer access and fascinating history.

If you only like pristine trout streams, this trip isn’t for you. But if you see opportunity in unlikely places, the Mississippi will thrill you! Beyond the surroundings, this is a chance for angling history buffs to appreciate a vital part of America’s past while searching for hard-charging bass and tailing carp. If you love fishing in a place that inspires appreciation for times gone by, you’ll adore this destination!

Make sure you have the proper fishing licenses, then launch your adventure from Columbus-Belmont State Park, which offers camping, multiple launch points, and scenic cliffs to explore. Columbus-Belmont is in Columbus, Kentucky, open year-round, and steeped in Civil War history—a bonus for history enthusiasts. The coordinates will guide you to pulse-pounding fishing on the mighty Mississippi!