Inland recreational fisheries have social, economic, and ecological importance worldwide but these fisheries are increasingly challenged by the diverse effects of climate change. Coupled with other anthropogenic stressors, climate change has contributed to declines in freshwater biodiversity of greater severity than those observed across marine or terrestrial taxa. At a macro level, inland fisheries are experiencing declines. There are, however, a number of success stories, or ‘bright spots,’ in inland recreational fisheries management, where innovative approaches are leading to increases in social and ecological well-being in the face of climate change. Cases such as these are important sources of inspiration and learning about adaptation to climate and environmental change. In this article, we analyze 11 examples of such ‘bright spots’ drawn from multiple jurisdictions around the world from which we extracted lessons that might apply to fisheries management challenges beyond the region and context of each case. Collectively, these bright spots highlight adaptive initiatives that allow for recreational fisheries management to mitigate to stressors associated with current and future climate change. Examples identified include community-based restoration projects, collaborative and adaptive approaches to short-term fisheries closures, transdisciplinary large-scale conservation projects, and conservation-minded efforts by individuals and communities. By highlighting examples of ‘small wins’ within inland recreational fisheries management, this review contributes to the idea that a ‘positive future’ for inland recreational fisheries in the face of climate change is possible and highlights potential strategies to adapt to current and future climate scenarios.

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