Idaho’s most popular fish species include salmon and steelhead. Chinook salmon are native to the gem state. In fact, some of Idaho’s fly fishing is nationally renown. This state also loves holding tournaments, so you are sure to find a weekend of fishing entertainment. With Idaho your options for a fishing background are canyons through the desert or scenic mountains, so you cannot go wrong.
Salmon are Idaho’s best game fish. The southern section of the Salmon River provides good salmon fishing while float fishing, and a chance at trout and sturgeon too. Other great salmon fisheries include Cascade Reservoir, Redfish Lake, and Salmon Creek Falls Reservoir. Although they are natives of the state, Idaho also has a stocking program to supplement the natural salmon population.
Silver Creek brings in people from across the country – if you have something to prove about your fly fishing skill, then this is the place for you. Although more difficult, the fun is in the challenge! Angle for thick, feisty, rainbow and brown trout in the wonderfully clear Silver Creek.
For larger trout visit Ashton Reservoir, home of the state’s brown trout record of over twenty-seven pounds. If splake are your game of choice Ririe Reservoir is known for large ones. As cutthroat are Idaho’s state fish it would be a travesty not to catch one while visiting Idaho so head for Kelly Creek. You can also find variants of cutthroat, like Bonneville cutthroat in Bear Lake, or Yellowstone cutthroat in the Snake River.
The Snake River is an acclaimed waterway, but some parts of it have obtained more notoriety than others. Henry’s Fork of the Snake River is a world class fly fishing river for trout, particularly around Box Canyon where rainbow trout are large and abundant.
Steelhead rival salmon for Idaho’s best fish. One of the most beautiful rivers for pursuing steelhead is the Clearwater. It is active starting around June and tapers off at the end of winter. The Snake River, another of Idaho’s favorites, follows a similar pattern for steelhead.
If time is limited on your Idaho fishing trip you may want to select Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir. Not only will there be excellent salmon fishing, but with its diverse species (depending on the time of year) you may also be able to find: bass, trout, crappie, catfish, and Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir is also one of few places in Idaho to fish for walleye.
For a less common fish to angle for try Idaho’s population of tilapia or tench. Healthy tilapia can be caught from the Swan Falls Reservoir. The Spokane River and Hayden Lake are habitats for tench.
If you or your child is fourteen or older you will have to pick up a license. Buy licenses at agents, state offices, by phone, and online. Youth, senior, and disabled licenses are all less expensive. Annual and three year licenses are available for residents and non-residents alike, while non-residents may opt for a daily license (additional days optional) or three day salmon/steelhead license. Only residents may buy lifetime licenses.
Residents are considered to be Idaho state residents after being domiciled there for six months before apply for a fishing license. Members of the military or their family, after having been stationed in Idaho for thirty days, may qualify for residential licenses. If you can wait, the second Sunday in June is a free fishing day annually!
Whenever you head out fishing to a new place, it's always best to speak to local anglers. Use fishing forums to ask questions and learn about the most accurate and up to date conditions.