BOISE, Idaho — Angler alert! More than 400,000 catchable rainbow trout are headed for Idaho waters this month.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game says fish stocking around the Gem State is in full swing as the weather continues to warm up across the state. About 420,000 catchable sized rainbow trout are headed to Idaho waters in May – nearly twice as many as April.
Many of the waters are easy to access, family-friendly fishing destinations. All you need to get started is a fishing license and some basic tackle. Annual adult fishing licenses cost around $30, junior licenses (ages 14-17) cost $16, and youth under 14 fish for free.
Fishing for stocked rainbow trout, particularly in community ponds, is a great way to introduce new anglers to the sport by using simple (and relatively thrifty) set-ups like worm/marshmallow combinations or commercial baits like Power Bait or Crave, either near the bottom or below a bobber.
Most Idaho waters are open to fishing year-round, but some may have slightly different rules. Be sure to pick up a 2019-21 Idaho Fishing Seasons and Rules Booklet, which outlines season dates, special regulations and bag limits at any Idaho Fish and Game offices or most sporting goods stores statewide.
Fish and Game hatchery staff have highlighted some stocking events:
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.
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.
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)
Cascade Reservoir – 87,650 Rainbow Trout. Among the largest water bodies in Idaho, this lake offers great fishing opportunity with abundant camping options in the surrounding area.
Horsethief Reservoir – 35,000 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.
Lost Valley Reservoir – 14,000 Rainbow Trout. This scenic reservoir offers anglers plenty of places to fish from the shoreline.
Rowland 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.
Horseshoe Bend Mill Pond – 900 Rainbow Trout. Just north of town, this pond features easy access and productive fishing for bass and trout in a pleasant setting next to the Payette River. This is one of more than 70 waters designated as Family Fishing Waters in Idaho. These waters have been established to make it easier for families to go and enjoy fishing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Devil Creek Reservoir – 5,150 Rainbow Trout. This reservoir provides some of the best trout fishing in this region and is conveniently located right off I-15. Most anglers fish from boats or on the bank around the dam.
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
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 Reservoir – 2,700 Rainbow Trout.
Sand Creek WMA Pond #1 – 3,500 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. This waterbody provides an exceptional and diverse fishery. Springtime is ideal to troll for kokanee and rainbow trout. Bank anglers can have success for trout from Blacktail Park on the southern end of the reservoir.
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.
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.
Squaw Creek Pond – 300 Rainbow Trout. This small, seasonal pond provides easy access and fishing opportunity for anglers of all ages. It's located between Challis and Stanley on Hwy 75, about 3 miles west of Clayton.