Fishing piers can be excellent places to catch fish in both salt and fresh water. They run way off the bank giving you access to deeper water and fish you couldn't reach from the bank. Piers themselves are cover for the fish but additional cover is often added around them. Many piers also have small bait and tackle stores on them so you can get anything you need right there.
Some piers can be fished for free, but others charge a daily rate. Be sure you know before you go if you will have to pay to fish and be prepared with enough cash. Fees are usually low, and a few dollars a day for good fishing is well worth it.
Piers in fresh water are not as common as they are in salt water, but they can be excellent places to fish when you find them. Usually located on bigger lakes and rivers, fishing piers are usually placed near public picnic areas, campgrounds, or boat ramps. You'll seldom find a bait shack on a freshwater pier but it is likely to be less crowded, too. And freshwater piers are generally smaller then their saltwater counterpart.
On many lakes overseen by the Corps of Engineers, special fishing piers have been constructed to give anglers access to the lake. Most are handicap accessible and some have cleaning stations and restrooms available. The Corps often places brush in the water around the piers to attract more fish to the area.
Piers in Salt Water
Most every town on the coast has constructed a fishing pier. These are often right in town and many tourists can usually be found there trying their luck. Don't hesitate to join them. Watch for locals and try to fish like they do, because they most likely know what works on that pier.
Some piers are very short, especially if they're near a channel; others seem to run out a mile. At times fish migrate by piers making the fishing exceptional, but there are always resident fish around piers for you to catch. Live bait usually works best and you can use the current to drift your bait just like from a bridge.
When casting from piers and other crowded areas, watch behind you. If you're not careful you may hook someone walking past. Make sure you know what's behind you before every cast.
When fishing from a pier you may be high above the water, so it's often best to drop your bait straight down. Fish that live around the pier will be near the pilings looking for a meal, and fish moving through the area are just as likely to swim close to the pier, too. If you're high over the water, use a net to land the fish, otherwise you'll lose many of them.