Best Fishing Spots in Idaho

Fishing is one of Idaho's greatest recreational activities because of the multitude of lakes and rivers throughout the entire state. Some spots are more popular than others, but these ones are sure to get you a nice catch! It is important to note that in order to fish in Idaho, any person over 14 years old must have a valid fishing license.

Brownlee Reservoir - Located in Cambridge, Idaho, this fishing spot is sometimes overlooked. This reservoir stretches for more than 50 miles, separating Idaho and Oregon. It is the largest and uppermost part of Hells Canyon complex. You can catch smallmouth or largemouth bass, crappie, catfish, bluegill, trout, and much more! Since this is considered the best warm water fishery in Idaho, ideally, you will be sure to catch something. Be sure to check the water levels on their website before you get there because some of the boat ramps might be inaccessible!

Big Wood River - This tributary to the Snake and Columbia Rivers runs for 137 miles and is filled with rainbow, brown, and brook trout! The fishing season generally runs from Memorial Day through November. However, there are some parts of the tributary that are open year-round for a quick catch and release. This is a breathtaking location, so be sure to visit! Again, be sure to have your fishing license with you.

C.J. Strike Reservoir - This is probably the most accessible option on the list. Located near Grandview/Bruneau, Idaho, there are both warm and cold water species that thrive in these waters: crappie, bass, perch, catfish, sturgeon, and rainbow trout. There are three sections to choose from: the main area near the dam, the Bruneau arm, and the Snake River arm. Since the launching pads are open all year, the reservoir is also a popular area for boating! You may also consider also camping and trails in the area if you wish!

Little Salmon River - This is a tributary to the Salmon River and flows for about 425 miles. This makes it the longest flowing river in just one state! Fish species in this area include steelheads, chinook salmon, and rainbow trout, bull trout, and westslope cutthroat. Licensing information can be found on their website as well as specific rules and regulations for the area.

Swan Falls Dam and Reservoir - This fishing spot is located in Kuna/Melba, Idaho and has a wide variety of fish species. Just below the dam is where you can find catfish and smallmouth bass. It also has a large amount of sturgeon! Fishes over six feet are supposed to be caught and released. To catch these fish, it is best to use live bait such as worms. The roads near the spot are well maintained which makes it easy to access from the dam or just above the dam. Free camping is also available for those who would like to stay a little longer than a day.

Henry's Fork and South Fork of the Snake River - Henry's Fork flows through the high-desert floodplain, ranch land, canyons, and spring creek sections and is known for its great fly fishing. It is also home to moose, geese, blue heron, and muskrats. The fork is filled with many species of trout, including large rainbows and brown trout. The South Fork is located in the Swan Valley just below the Palisades Dam. This fork is known for its blue-ribbon trout and scenic canyon. It is also a great area for wildlife watching. You can learn more about each of these sections on their websites. The areas are only open during the summer and are open to rafts. If you access these spots, please wear a life vest at all times, as some parts of the river can present some risk. Camping along these spots are also available.

Lake Cascade - Found in Cascade, Idaho, this offers a number of campgrounds around the lake's perimeter. Being one of the largest bodies of water in Idaho, it is ideal for boating, water skiing, sailing, and of course fishing! There are six boat ramps to launch off so you can enjoy the experience. You can access the fishing spots during the summer and even go ice fishing during the winter months! Some of these fish you can catch are as follows: bluegill, catfish, coho salmon, crappie, kokanee, largemouth and smallmouth bass, rainbow trout, whitefish, and yellow perch.

Clearwater River - This fishing spot is found in Lewiston, Idaho and is one of the top steelhead streams in the area. It is also famous for the "B-Run" steelheads which come back to spawning areas after being in the ocean for two years. It also holds chinook salmon and cutthroat trout in the summer months. The rapids are gentle, so boaters are able to take in the beauty of the area as they float down the river. The catch-and-release season is in September, and the catch-and-keep season is from October to the end of April. Be sure to dress warmly in the mornings as it can get super cold.

Priest Lake - Located in Coolin, Idaho, this fishing spot offers several places to cast a line and catch a real beauty! If you are willing to hike to your chosen destination, there are brook trout that can be found in a number of streams which are hard to spot. The trout and kokanee limit, however, is six each, and you are not allowed to harvest any cutthroat trout in this area. You are also not allowed to use bait, so you need to have some barbless hooks. For more information on these rules, go ahead and check their website for details.

Idaho City - In this small town in the mountains near Boise, there are actually many opportunities to fish. There are around 48 lakes to choose from! However, if you prefer fishing in a river, stream, or creek, there are over 800 options! More information can be found on the town's website!

Ready for some great fishing? Come to Idaho and experience the fishing trip of a lifetime!