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Holiday weekend marks start of fishing season

by CONNOR LIESS Contributing Writer
| May 31, 2022 1:00 AM

For a lot of Idahoans, the Memorial Day weekend marks the kickoff to fishing season. Whether you’re a first-time fisher, or a seasoned angler, Memorial Day weekend fishing offered up a whole slew of fishing opportunities across the state, and Idaho Fish and Game’s hatchery crews are stocking about 450,000 trout in May. But that's just the start of the season.

Uncharted waters

For those adventurous souls who are ever seeking new off-the-beaten-path fishing spots, Idaho Fish and Game’s Fishing Planner has everything a new or intrepid angler might be searching for. This online database is an easy and efficient way to search for accessible streams, lakes and reservoirs around the state. There you can find detailed information about Idaho’s waters, stocking reports, species, facilities, maps and rules.

High gas prices got you down?

Long-distance travel might not be in the cards this spring, so what about the homebodies who just want to fish in town all weekend? Chances are there are plenty of close-by fishing destinations right in your backyard.

Local ponds and lakes are usually stocked by Fish and Game staff throughout parts of the year (depending on the season), but May is when fish stocking really picks up, and it’s easy to see when a fishing spot was last stocked.

Be sure to check out Fish and Game’s fish stocking webpage to see if your local fishing hole has been paid a visit by the stocking truck lately.

Speaking of stocking …

As temperatures rise and the days grow longer, Fish and Game staff are working hard replenishing fisheries all around the state with rainbow trout. In May alone, nearly 450,000 catchable rainbow trout was stocked in ponds, rivers, lakes and reservoirs.

Memorial Day weekend saw a lot of folks itching to get outdoors. Lots of fish means lots of anglers. And lots of anglers can mean not a lot of easy fishing access. Remember to be courteous of other anglers and allow ample room along shorelines and boat docks.

If you’re thinking about heading out, fisheries staff has compiled some options for places that provide excellent fishing as well as lots of campgrounds, boat ramps, day-use areas and other facilities that can accommodate a lot of folks.

This list only scratches the surface, and these are some of Idaho’s favorite waters with plenty of developed facilities. Some of these destinations favor folks who own boats, but most provide good shore access as well.

Here are some lakes, reservoirs and local ponds that are getting lots of trout and are among the most angler friendly:

Panhandle Region

Brush Lake – 1,200 rainbow trout. A scenic lake tucked into the trees north of Bonners Ferry and favored by locals, it features a picnic area and wildlife viewing opportunities.

Fernan Lake – 6,000 rainbow trout. A popular fishing spot 10 minutes from downtown Coeur d'Alene, anglers of all abilities can enjoy fishing from floating docks, miles of shoreline, or from boats.

Jewel Lake – 2,700 rainbow trout. A peaceful lake located in a forested and picturesque rural setting. In addition to rainbow trout and channel catfish, there are lots of small bluegill that will thrill young anglers. There is a single fishing dock available.

Kelso Lake – 5,000 rainbow trout. With easy access to this quiet forested lake, you will find good fishing opportunities from a large dock. It's a great place for a small boat, kayak or canoe along Idaho Birding Trail 14 - bring your binoculars!

Sinclair Lake – 500 rainbow trout. A small, quiet lake beside the Moyie River, this is ideal for beginning and skilled anglers to enjoy good trout fishing.

Spicer Pond – 2,000 rainbow trout. This is a small, easily accessed pond next to the St. Maries River near the town of St. Maries.

Steamboat Pond – 1,000 rainbow trout. This easily accessible pond is located next to the North Fork Coeur d'Alene River. Anglers who might find fishing the river too difficult will enjoy harvesting a few trout from this pond.

Clearwater Region

Campbells Pond – 2,000 rainbow trout. This is a scenic forest pond where anglers can expect good catch rates. There are several docks, including one handicap-accessible dock, and a developed boat ramp.

Deer Creek Reservoir – 2,100 rainbow trout. This beautiful mountain reservoir was built specifically for trout fishing. Rainbow trout are stocked in this remote setting for high catch rates from shore or a boat. Boaters, please observe the no-wake restriction. Check out this video to learn more.

Deyo Reservoir – 9,300 rainbow trout. Nestled amid farms and timber, this waterbody provides a great family fishing experience. A maintained trail surrounding the entire reservoir features seven fishing docks and two large fishing peninsulas, making it easy to find a good place to fish. There is also a developed boat ramp, picnic shelter, benches, and two handicap-accessible docks.

Elk Creek Reservoir – 2,700 rainbow trout. A forested road parallels the entire west side of this reservoir for easy access to fishing areas and has four fishing docks and a boat ramp. The east side of the reservoir provides great boat fishing opportunities where foot access is difficult.

Fenn Pond – 1,000 rainbow trout. If you visit the Selway River and are just looking for a good place to harvest some rainbows for dinner, check out this pond. It’s located next to the Selway River and offers especially good fishing. The boardwalk and fishing dock offer easy access.

Kiwanis Park Pond – 1,500 rainbow trout. This convenient community pond is located next to the Snake River in Lewiston and is within walking distance to picnic shelters and a playground. The pond is stocked with rainbow trout to maintain high catch rates for anglers.

Moose Creek Reservoir – 4,500 rainbow trout. A shallow lake in rolling timbered hills on Idaho's Birding Trail, this reservoir is ideal for kayaks and float tubes. A trail surrounds the lake and nine fishing docks provide good shore fishing opportunities. There is a small developed boat ramp but gas motors are not allowed on this lake.

Spring Valley Reservoir – 4,200 rainbow trout. Surrounded by rolling hills and trees, there is a trail that surrounds the reservoir. In addition, fishing docks and platforms increase shoreline access. There is a developed boat ramp but gas motors are not allowed. Bring your binoculars because this is Stop 35 on the Idaho Birding Trail!

Southwest Region (McCall)

Browns Pond – 1,500 rainbow trout. This small pond offers easy access to fishing on the southern edge of the McCall airport.

Cascade Reservoir – 87,650 rainbow trout. Among the largest waterbodies in Idaho, this lake offers great fishing opportunity with abundant camping options in the surrounding area.

Horsethief Reservoir – 10,000 rainbow trout. This reservoir has everything for a memorable fishing weekend - a beautiful lake in the trees, good fishing and camping. Camping is managed by the Treasure Valley YMCA. The YMCA manages a website related to camping at Horsethief Reservoir - to find updates and information related to camping, please visit: www.horsethiefcampground.com.

Lost Valley Reservoir – 14,000 rainbow trout. This scenic reservoir offers anglers plenty of places to fish from the shoreline.

Rowlands Pond – 2,500 rainbow trout. Also known as Scout Pond, this small but pretty pond in the woods close to McCall provides good bank fishing in a peaceful setting.

Southwest Region (Nampa)

Caldwell Rotary Pond – 900 rainbow trout. Located in a park-like setting with plenty of shade and lots of bank fishing opportunity for young anglers. A dock invites visitors of every mobility level to enjoy the fishing.

Grimes Creek – 1,600 rainbow trout. In addition to hatchery rainbows, small to medium-sized wild fish are also found in this creek. It is best fished shortly after high water.

Mann Creek Reservoir – 2,400 rainbow trout. This reservoir provides a diverse fishery. Warm water anglers can target crappie and largemouth bass. Those seeking trout can hook into a healthy rainbow trout population.

McDevitt Pond – 900 rainbow trout. Located in west Boise's McDevitt Sports Park, this small neighborhood pond offers easily accessible fishing.

Lowman Ponds – 600 rainbow trout. Enjoy good mountain fishing along the South Fork Payette River. Stocked trout thrive in its clean water and take advantage of abundant damsel flies.

Parkcenter Pond – 700 rainbow trout. This is a popular local fishing pond with a paved path alongside docks and tables with maturing trees. This convenient pond is located near the greenbelt and the BSU campus.

Riverside Pond – 900 rainbow trout. A quiet neighborhood pond right off the Boise Greenbelt and tucked into the trees off Glenwood Road. This pond offers good bank fishing and a large fishing dock.

Weiser Community Pond – 500 rainbow trout. This community pond offers an easily accessible shoreline and dock fishing near the Weiser River.

Magic Valley Region

Camas Kids Pond – 1,500 rainbow trout. This is a small, scenic pond near Fairfield. The Centennial Marsh and Camas Prairie Wildlife Management Area are nearby and provide great bird watching opportunities.

Cedar Creek Reservoir – 11,000 rainbow trout. Also known as Roseworth Reservoir, this is a remote trout fishery in high desert sagebrush. It has great shoreline access as well as high water and low water boat ramps.

Featherville Dredge Pond – 1,900 rainbow trout. This former gravel pit is now a nice trout fishing pond with camping nearby. Here is a video that gives you more information about this pond.

Little Camas Reservoir – 4,500 rainbow trout. The western gateway to the mile-high Camas Prairie, this reservoir can offer good trout fishing with solitude and snow-capped mountains. The area is known for wildlife and bird-watching. Primitive dispersed camping opportunities exist along the west and north shore; please respect private property postings.

Little Wood Reservoir – 3,000 rainbow trout. This reservoir provides great trout fishing in an upland desert setting. Bell Mountain provides a scenic backdrop for memorable sunsets year-round.

Thorn Creek Reservoir – 1,800 rainbow trout. This high desert reservoir feels quiet and remote, and it is generally uncrowded. It fills with melting snowpack from upland streams and is subject to drawdown as the irrigation season progresses. Rocky outcrops along the perimeter offer scenic fishing access points.

Southeast Region

Bannock Reservoir – 1,000 rainbow trout. Located within the Portneuf Wellness Complex near the County Fairgrounds in Pocatello, this community park offers good trout fishing. Multiple docks provide fishing access around the 5-acre pond.

Bear River below Oneida Dam – 3,000 rainbow trout. These fish will be stocked in the very scenic Oneida Narrows reach of the river below the dam. This popular section of the river offers the longest continuous public access along the entire Bear River.

Dike Lake – 1,500 rainbow trout. Located adjacent to the Blackfoot Reservoir Campground, this waterbody gets stocked once a year. Come catch ‘em before they’re gone!

Dingle Gravel Pond – 1,000 rainbow trout. This pond is located adjacent to the Bear River east of Dingle in Bear Lake County.

Montpelier Rearing Pond – 500 rainbow trout. This little fishing spot is tucked into a scenic high desert canyon in the hills east of Montpelier. It’s a great spot to take kids fishing.

Montpelier Reservoir – 5,000 rainbow trout. This reservoir is located in the hills east of Montpelier at 6,500 elevation. It has very basic facilities, but offers a variety of fish species in a peaceful rural setting.

Upper Snake Region

Ashton Reservoir – 38,751 rainbow trout. A scenic 400 acre reservoir on the Henrys Fork, this waterbody is known for rainbow trout and is also home to the state record brown trout.

Birch Creek – 4,750 rainbow trout. A productive spring creek in a high desert basin, this small stream is ideal for kids and less experienced anglers. Rainbow trout are stocked heavily around access areas and wild brook trout are fairly common.

Blue Creek Reservoir – 2,000 rainbow trout. This reservoir is located approximately 15 miles north of St. Anthony and is part of the Sand Creek Wildlife Management Area. There are additional ponds in close proximity that provide additional fishing opportunity. These include:

• Sand Creek MWA Pond #1 – 3,500 rainbow trout.

• Sand Creek WMA Pond #4 – 2,700 rainbow trout.

East Harriman Fish Pond – 1,500 rainbow trout. A stone's throw from Harriman State Park, this is a picturesque pond off the beaten path, ideal for visitors interested in a peaceful fishing trip.

Henrys Fork – 10,000 rainbow trout. World Famous for trout fishing! The river is suitable for wade fishing, bank fishing and fishing from a boat.

Ririe Reservoir – 18,000 rainbow trout and 3,600 Tiger Trout. This waterbody provides an exceptional and diverse fishery. Springtime is ideal to troll for kokanee and rainbow trout.

Teton River – 1,000 rainbow trout. This river drains the west slope of the Teton Range and provides excellent fly fishing opportunities for all skill levels. Fish will be stocked in the Rexburg area. Check out this video showing the magic of fly fishing!

Trail Creek Pond – 400 rainbow trout. Also known as Victor Kids Pond, this small, scenic pond is located in the lush Teton Basin. One of the most consistent kids fisheries in the area, it is easily fished from the bank, with trails and picnic tables around the perimeter.

Warm River – 1,800 rainbow trout. This river is short compared to nearby waters and is spring fed. It’s best fished by wading.

Salmon Region

Blue Mountain Meadow Pond – 300 rainbow trout. This park-like pond is easy to access and overlooks the golf course in Challis. Kids will enjoy fishing from the banks and having a picnic in one of the two gazebos.

Mosquito Flat Reservoir – 1,000 rainbow trout. This remote waterbody offers trout and kokanee fishing opportunity. There is a Forest Service recreation site that has 11 campsites and a day use picnic area along the shore of this reservoir.

Hayden Creek Pond – 1,000 rainbow trout. This is a family friendly fishing area in the high desert along Hayden Creek. Anglers will find ample bank fishing opportunities and a dock for anglers with limited mobility.

Connor Liess is a public information specialist with the Idaho Department of Fish & Game.

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