Questions & Answers: Fishing

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A: When fishing in Idaho, it doesn't matter if you have an "Alabama rig" or gear names after any other state - you can only have 5 hooks per line under your direct control. I will say a "qualifying yes" to your question on lures.  Provided the lure isn't scented, they would be legal.  Scented lures ...
A: Outfitters for fishing and hunting are confined to specific locations and often specific species. Without knowing where and what species you want to catch - we can't give you a good answer. What we can tell you is to visit the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Licensing Boards webpage http://oglb.idaho. ...
A: The lake trout bounty program on Lake Pend Oreille was discontinued in 2013.   Originally, it was funded by Avista Power Company and was intended to assist our agency in restoring/reducing depredation on kokanee by lake trout.  Between the bounty program and selective netting with commercial ...
A: Thanks for your interest in ice fishing Mackay Reservoir.  As you note, the lake does not always freeze completely over, which means there can be thin ice in certain areas, and possibly around the edge.  The reservoir is generally filling during the winter, which means it is increasing in size.  ...
A: We have not stocked Tiger Muskies for several years, but some still exist in Lamont and Johnson reservoirs near Preston Idaho. General regulations for using bait apply on both waters.
A: American Falls Reservoir has a healthy population of smallmouth bass.  Spring fishing is the best.  Fish rocky shorelines and use plugs, rubber worms or poppers for best results.
A: Fishing from public bridges is allowed unless posted as "closed to pedestrian traffic" by the appropriate regulatory body (Idaho Dept. of Transportation, County Commission order, City Ordinance, etc.).  Only the Idaho Fish and Game Commission can designate a public area "open or closed to fishing ...
A: Thanks for your question on the Big Lost River access at the Mine Hill Bridge.  We've been dealing with this particular issue for well over a decade, and have been unable to find documentation that there is a highway easement on the private property that encompasses three of the four corners of ...
A: Channel catfish adults were transferred to multiple ponds in Southwest Idaho during 2013 and 2014.  The lack of 2013 records in the stocking database is an oversight and will be corrected shortly, whereas the 2014 events have yet to be entered. It should be noted that we no longer stock fingerling ...
A: The best way to find out when waters are open to salvage is to watch our press releases on our webpage.  We do our best to let people know about rule and bag limit changes (including salvage orders) by sending information as soon as possible when a change order is signed. At the present time, ...
A: I'm not going to tell you that lures don't work for catching Chinook salmon - because as soon as I do, the fish prove me wrong.  If you are going to use a lure, use one that mimics a predatory fish the Chinook think might be a threat to eat the eggs they are preparing to lay.  I would consider an ...
A: If you go to our webpage (; click on the "Science" tab; "Fisheries" and search for "Swan Falls Reservoir," you will find all our technical information for Swan Falls Reservoir.  Swan Falls Reservoir has both species of bass, bluegill, crappie, pumpkinseed, yellow perch, and ...
A: This winter and spring we held public meetings, sent out e-mails (over 800) and posted notices in the newspaper to get input on which fish people would like to see the reservoir managed for in the future.  Based on public response we have decided to manage Soldiers Meadow Resrvoir for Kokanee.  ...
A: The fishing on mink creek is fair. You are correct, in many areas the riparian corridor is quite thick making it difficult for young children to fish there. However, the Cherry Springs area would be a good starting point as well as several areas on the EF of Mink Creek. These areas are visible ...
A: Idaho Parks and Recreation enforces boating rules in Idaho.  What you need are:  a fire extinguisher, properly rated life jackets for all people in your boat, a whistle or horn that can be heard at a distance of 100 feet, and your current boat registration with hull sticker and ID numbers.   If ...
A: The nets placed in Payette Lake were to allow us to 1) assess the body condition of lake trout in Payette Lake and 2) to make a population estimate of the lake trout in Payette Lake. We have a known number of tagged lake trout in the waterbody from previous trapping efforts.  We can then use the ...
A: Condie Reservoir did not drain last year. The reservoir got extremely low in 2012, but some fish survived. We supplemented the bass and bluegill populations in 2013. Catch rates may be lower than normal because these populations are still recovering. 
A: Idaho Code Section  36-1201(c) requires a person to have the proper required license on his person at all times while hunting, fishing, or trapping, and to produce the original license for inspection upon request of a person authorized to enforce fish and game laws. This legal requirement places ...
A: We have chosen to not stock Mt. Home Reservoir during 2014. From recent tagging studies, we have learned that very few rainbow trout return to anglers creels during moderate to poor water years. Catchable rainbow trout are very expensive to raise and stock. Our agency has to be very efficient in ...
A: There is one fishing access on the Portneuf River between McCammon and Inkom.  The access is called Crane Creek. Here is a link to help you locate the site: Because of all the lack of road crossing to and all the private land, I do not ...
A: Unfortunately, Paddock Valley Reservoir was very low during late fall 2013 as it has been for the majority of the last several years. I would not recommend it as a good use of your valuable fishing time. The only exception might be the trophy bullhead population; as they have faired well despite ...
A: Yellow perch, for the most part, are prolific and environmental factors influence populations more than angling harvest.  In years where water temperatures coincide with zooplankton blooms and reduced numbers of primary predators, the perch population can exceed carrying capacity of the waterbody ...
A: Yes, except when fishing for Chinook salmon (ocean-going), steelhead, or when fishing on Henrys Lake.  Just be aware, if you hook a fish and cause mortality after reaching your bag limit, you could be cited for an over-limit.
A: Because current rules do not allow you to spear game fish. IDAPA rule says,   201.FISHING METHODS AND GEAR. Unless modified by a regional exception, the following fishing methods and restrictions are applicable in all Idaho waters. (3-20-97) 01. Archery and Spear Fishing. Fishing ...
A: Yes, we have recently stocked early spawning kokanee in Hayden Lake for the purpose of providing a sport fishery.  We have significant numbers of early kokanee from our south Idaho egg taking station at Deadwood Reservoir. Kokanee, in certain waters, can be extremely difficult to manage when ...
A: This is a tricky question and open to interpretation by individual enforcement officers.  First, you've acknowledged that it is illegal to keep the smallmouth bass.  If a bass is bleeding from the gills but still alive, if you can remove the hook without doing anymore damage - do so and release ...
A: Yes, crayfish and bullfrogs are the only two fish species that can legally be taken using just your hands.  Everything else requires the use of fishing gear, tackle, or traps.
A: Cold coupled with elevation.  Indeed it is cold in the Snake River, but it’s also nearly 1,000 feet lower in elevation (assuming you are referring to the American Falls area, where bass fishing is good).  As such, it has a longer growing season than Ririe does.  There are also springs that dump in ...
A: We have not documented natural spawning below the dam.  I am sure spawning occurs but the young do not appear to survive long enough to be caught in the fishery.  We tag all of the sturgeon stocked.  The fish we have surveyed appear to all be of hatchery origin.  
A: Not removing or checking crayfish traps is a misdemeanor in Idaho.  Fine will probably be around $100.   F08
A: Trapping or Seining Minnows and Crayfish   Nongame fish (minnows), yellow perch, and crayfish may be taken only in waters open to fishing; provided the seine or net does not exceed ten (10) feet in length or width, and nets and seines must have three-eighths (3/8) inch square or smaller mesh; and ...
A: As long as you have the two-pole permit you can fish with two poles until your limit is reached.  You don't have to stop using two poles when you only have one more fish left to make your limit.  Two poles can be used for steelhead, Chinook and trout fishing.
A: Muskie have been found in Cascade Reservoir and Little Payette Lake.  Pike are generally found in Idaho's big Panhandle lakes.
A: There aren't any sturgeon in Lucky Peak.
A: The catch-and-keep season for bass is open year-around on most waters.  There are, however,  a few exceptions where we are trying to manage for quality or trophy populations of bass. In order for a fish to qualify as a "state record" the fish needs to be weighed on a state certified scale.  These ...
A: The harvest quota is refined as we get information either from PIT tagged fish passing monitoring points or fish actually arrive at the hatchery.  The quota adjusts based on the estimated harvestable surplus of hatchery fish returning to Rapid River Hatchery.   F08
A: It is not legal to do this in Idaho.  Lines must be attended by the person fishing.  There is no exception for nongame fish.
A: You can use a seine or throw-net to harvest nongame fish and yellow perch.  The net can be no more than 10' in length or width and must have 3/8" or smaller mesh.  The seine or net cannot be left unattended.  See page 51 of the 2013 - 2015 Fishing Rule booklet.    
A: Please contact the Southeast Region office at 208-525-7290.
A: If he is hunting, he must have an Idaho hunting license.  If he is fishing, he must have an Idaho fishing license.  If he is trapping, he must have an Idaho trapping license. He should check with the region office in the area for information about contacting the land management agency (for example ...
A: The Snake River covers such a big part of Idaho that it would probably be easiest for you to contact the region office for the area you want to fish.  Region office contact information is online.
A: Yes, freshwater mussels can be used for fish bait.  In Idaho, there are no limits or restrictions on harvesting mussels.  Once mussels are removed from their shells, they cannot survive, so they are not considered "live" bait.
A: It is legal as long as you remain with the jug.  You can have one fishing line in Idaho (or 2 lines with a two-pole permit) and it must be tended. So, if you teather a line to float/jug, you must remain with the float/jug for as long as you are fishing.
A: We have not documented a spawning run/event on the stocked coho. We have seen females with ripe eggs over the years but don't really think they can complete their life history in Cascade. Unfortunately we have stopped using coho in Cascade Res. due to poor returns (the numbers of coho caught by ...
A: Actually, many wouldn’t consider the diversity of fishes in the Clearwater Region to be poor.  The Clearwater, Snake and Salmon rivers all flow through the Clearwater Region.  As a result, we have many fish species that don’t occur in other regions in the State.  For example, we have anadromous ...
A: We haven't scheduled one yet, but if weather and ice conditions are conducive, we'll try to hold one in mid-February.  All we can say at this point is stay tuned.  We'll certainly get a press release out and advertise the event if/when we do it.  It will likely be at Hauser again.  Though the ...
A: We don't have a DAV discount on a fishing only license but we do have a discounted DAV combination (hunting/fishing) license.  It costs $5.00 and is available for residents only.
A: It is not legal in Idaho to let your line sit overnight.  Fishing lines must be attended at all times by the person who is fishing.
A: This list includes fish species found to be present in this water during fish surveys. This may not be a complete list of species present in this water. Some species listed here may only be present in small quantities or seasonally. Black Crappie ,  Brown Bullhead ,  Brown Trout ,  Bull Trout ,  ...
A: According to IDPA rules, “you can not use live bait” so, it would be illegal to use live mice as bait.  Dead “pinkies” would probably work just as well for bass.
A: No.  While resident children under 14 can fish without a license, they must purchase a two-pole permit to fish with two poles.  Resident children under 14 can purchase a two-pole permit without a fishing license. 
A: No.  It is illegal to fish in any waters of Idaho by archery, spearfishing, snagging, hands, and netting except as permitted. Archery and spearfishing is permitted only in the taking of bullfrogs and unprotected nongame fish and only in those waters during the season set for the taking of game ...
A: There used to be a rule that banned the use of lights to fish at night. That rule was dropped years ago. Generally, there are no hour limits to fishing and you can fish all night long. It is actually fairly popular to fish for catfish into the wee hours of the night. . However, there could be some ...
A: This is a difficult question to answer because there is no clear definition of "humanely."  Working in the commercial fish industry, we used to put trout in tanks where we pumped carbon dioxide into the water.  After a short period of time the fish tipped over and we ran them through the ...
A: You can use a remote controlled boat to fish, provided you have a fishing license, you are fishing during a legal season and using legal bait, and the craft is under direct control of an operator.
A: It is illegal to use dipnets to harvest kokanee in Mores or Grimes Creek. Please refer to page 44 of the fishing rules book. Kokanee in Mores Ck are mostly past the stage of being edible.
A: General rules apply to the water below the Hayden Lake outlet, so snagging, spearing, and netting are not allowed and limits do apply.  It's relatively uncommon to have so much outflow (like we had this year) that large numbers of fish actually leave the lake through the outlet, so we have not ...
A: indeed there are! 
A: The report of catching catfish in American Falls Reservoir is a little surprising.  We stock channel catfish in the McTucker ponds which flooded last spring and were directly connected to the reservoir.  I am sure some of the catfish moved into the reservoir then.  However, I do not have any ...
A: Every year we release over one million hatchery steelhead smolts into the South Fork Clearwater River (no hatchery rainbow trout catchables are released into this river).  Two years later, many of these steelhead smolts will return as 12-16 pound steelhead that attract anglers from all over the ...
A: The closest place to Pocatello is Rose ponds near Blackfoot.  
A: Yes, there are fish in Long Tom and Mountain Home reservoirs.  Mountain Home Reservoir is typically stocked with rainbow trout in the early spring.  Fish will survive all year if adiquate water remains in the reservoir over the winter.  If conditions are right, this can be a very nice ice fishery ...
A: You can use a jug or plastic water bottle as a bobber provided it's attached to a tended line.  Each line can have 5 hooks and you can attach as many bobbers/bottles per line as you would like.
A: From the Boise area, a great place to camp and fish is along the Middle Fork of the Boise River. This area is accessed via Highway 21. Just past the high bridge over Mores Creek, turn right onto the Middle Fork Road and drive past Lucky Peak and Arrowrock Reservoirs. The Middle Fork offers a ...
A: The schedule for stocking each month is posted online with the Fishing Reports-- the southwest region information is online at
A: According to our records, we did not know that there were wild trout in Sand Hollow Creek. I certainly didn't know.  A couple of other sampling sites surveyed in this creek during 2001 came up as no fish present.  We appreciate the information. I would like to talk with you on the phone about your ...
A: Most brook trout fishing opportunities within the Magic Valley involve smaller headwater streams.  Places such as upper South Fork Boise River, Upper Littlewood River, Upper Rock Creek (Twin Falls County), Upper Cassia Creek, and various tributaries feeding into the Upper Big Wood River.  All of ...
A: Please contact the Panhandle Region office for information.  Their number is 208-769-1414.
A: Yes, you can field dress fish by removing the entrails.  You just can’t cut off the any part of the head or tail of a game fish until it gets to your final place of residence. We require the head and tail be left on fish while in transit because a number of waters around the state have minimum or ...
A: Coeur d'alene Lake is like most other water bodies in that you can use two poles if you purchase a 2-pole permit ($13.75 for residents, $15.50 for non-residents).  This would apply to boat or shore.
A: What you describe is commonly known as a "bobber."  You can attach as many bobbers/bottles as you want to your line.  You can have two lines out at once with a Two-pole permit.  Without a Two-pole permit, you can only fish with one line.
A: Yes, it is legal to use gas boats on McArthur Lake, Boundary County.
A: Both are open all year.  The trout limit is 2.
A: At the present time, cutthroat trout are considered part of the “trout” bag limit in most of the state.  This means you can catch and harvest 6 cutthroat trout per day over most of Idaho.  The Magic Valley, Southeast, and Upper Snake restrict cutthroat harvest in rivers and streams to 2 cutthroat ...
A: Nonresidents can purchase a "daily" fishing license; the first day costs $12.75 and each additional day is $6.00.  You can purchase it at any vendor. If you are interested in Chinook salmon fishing, you can purchase a 3-day salmon/steelhead license.  This includes a fishing license and steelhead/ ...
A: The list of game fish (copied below) is found in the Fishing Rules Book.   Game Fish: Brook, brown, bull, cutthroat, golden, lake (Mackinaw), rainbow (including steelhead), splake and Sunapee trout; trout hybrids; Chinook, coho, Atlantic, and kokanee (blueback) salmon; grayling; whitefish; cisco; ...
A:  There is no limit to the number of non resident children under age 14 that can fish accompanied by  the holder of a valid fishing license.  All fish caught and reduced to posession shall be included in the license holders daily/possesion limits in order to fish without a license. Non resident ...
A: Yes, if he purchases a two pole permit.   Legislation passed in 2009 allows resident youths to purchase a two pole permit without a fishing license.
A: This is a good idea, and one we have tossed around, but not explored yet.  We will take this into consideration.  It will take some time to establish a framework for something such as this, but this could prove very worthwhile.  Thank you for sharing your idea!
A: Crayfish do not have a specific possession limit, however you can only have up to 5 traps at one time without obtaining a commercial fishing license and trap tags. This is from the 2012 fishing regulations: Trapping or Seining Minnows and Crayfish: Nongame fish (minnows), yellow perch, and ...
A: Idaho is in its 2012 fishing season which means that anglers must have a 2012 Idaho license.  Steelhead and two-pole permits must also be dated 2012.  (All 2011 season licenses and permits have expired).    
A: It IS legal to use fish as cut bait with a few exceptions. You can use the head, tail, and entrails of any legal fish. You can use all parts of a non-game fish but NO fillets of game fish. You are ONLY permitted to use the head, tail, and entrails of game fish.
A: Unfortunately, at this time we do not have discounted fishing licenses for nonresident veterans. However, you are able to purchase a daily or season fishing license online and have it mailed to you prior to your trip. Please allow 5-7 business days for mail delivery.  
A: A decision has not yet been made regarding the future of Priest Lake and the lake trout fishery.  IDFG is currently in the “scoping” phase of developing a new statewide fisheries management plan for 2013-2018.  The plan will set direction for Priest and Upper Priest lakes, as well as other ...
A: Yes, but we stress to all individuals the need to obtain a receipt.  This receipt must contain the following information: Name and tribal identification number of Nez Perce tribal member selling the fish Name of the fish buyer Date of the sale Number of salmon sold Species of salmon and where it ...
A: It depends. In most of the state, there are no restrictions on the number of holes, but an angler can fish with up to five poles orlines at a time, and up to five hooks per line. A two-pole validation does not allow more than five lines while ice fishing. All lines must be attended by the angler. ...
A: Yes, the commission ruled to classify all salmon 24 inches and greater as adults; which is the reason for the rule. Fisheries data indicates that in over 7000 fish measured only 6 were 24 inches. The odds of catching a salmon exactly 24 inches long are very slim. Recommend measuring the salmon ...
A: Great to hear you’re wanting to give sturgeon fishing a try here in the Magic Valley Region.  Although your question was short – to answer it well in an email is difficult.  We would encourage you to stop into the Regional Office in Jerome or visit a local sporting goods shop and just chat with ...
A: You can tell the difference by the location of the mouth parts. Chiselmouth mouth parts will be farther back on the head. This picture is of a mountain whitefish.
A: Family Fishing Waters are great places to take the grandchildren and the rest of the family fishing. They are easy to get to, the rules are simple and they have plenty of fish to catch. To find good places to take a youngster fishing, directions on how to get there, what kind of fish will you find ...
A: Most resident general season deer and elk tags can be picked up after the controlled hunt drawings are over. Tags for elk zones subject to a quota went on sale Sunday, July 10. Resident quota elk tags available are:ELK ZONE--TAG TYPE--NO. AVAILABLEDworshak--B--2118Lolo--A--128Lolo--B--630Elk City-- ...
A: No. Under Idaho law, anglers do not need permission to fish along a navigable stream as long as they stay within the normal high-water marks and enter and exit the stream from a public right-of-way, such as a road or bridge. Anglers may cross private land only with permission, except to go around ...
A: No. Anglers need to record only adult salmon 24 inches or longer on their permit. Though salmon less than 24 inches, known as jack salmon, need not be recorded on the angler's permit and do not count as part of the season limit of 20 adult salmon, they do count as part of the daily and possession ...
A: No. When the court revokes someone's hunting, fishing or trapping privileges for a period of time, it means just that, the privileges are revoked, whether they need a license or not. It is illegal for anyone to hunt, fish, or trap or purchase a license to do so during the time the privilege is ...
A: Technically the brook trout is a char, more closely related to bull trout than to rainbows or cutthroats. They are not a native species in Idaho. The limit is high because brook trout are very prolific and tend to out-compete and interbreed with the other trout species, including the native bull ...
A: Many Idaho streams are generally high and may be difficult right now. It's not just about whether the fish will bite; it's also a safety question. Keep a close eye on young children around fast moving water. The best advice is to decide where you want to go and call Fish and Game or local tackle ...
A: Lots of environmental conditions affect when the salmon arrive at Lower Granite Dam. Fish and Game opens the season in late April to make sure that in years when the run is early, anglers are able to fish for the salmon. In 2001, a year with a large return, more than 38,000 Chinook salmon had been ...
A: The sign-up period to participate in depredation hunts this year runs from May 1 through June 30. Applications that come in after June 30 are added to the list but have little chance of being selected. Applicants must have a valid Idaho hunting or combination license. Depredation hunts, if needed, ...
A: Fish and Game stocks some waters all year round. Other waters are stocked at various times during the year. For a current stocking report contact the regional Fish and Game office, or go online to:
A: Fish and Game stocks some waters all year round. Other waters are stocked at various times during the year. For a current stocking report contact the regional Fish and Game office, or go online to:
A: Yes, you can. They have been available since January 1, 2003. Because no rules prohibited such plates, the Transportation Department decided it was allowed to issue some special interest plates for such towed vehicles. Wildlife license plates, including the bluebird, elk and cutthroat trout, ...
A: It depends. In most of the state, there are no restrictions on the number of holes, but an ice angler can fish with up to five poles or lines at a time, and up to five hooks per line. A two-pole validation does not allow more than five lines while ice fishing. All lines must be attended by the ...
A: No. Ice fishing rules are slightly different than general fishing for public safety and general crowding. Fishing is allowed only through a hole up to 10 inches in diameter. This reduces the risk of someone falling through holes. (The only exception is on Bear Lake in Southeast Idaho where anglers ...
A: It is simple and easy to make this kind of gift, and it works for lifetime licenses as well as annual licenses. Every Idaho Fish and Game office will sell you a gift certificate, which can be redeemed by the giftee at Fish and Game offices only, anytime within one year. Fish and Game cannot accept ...
A: Residents can buy a daily fishing license but not a three-day salmon-steelhead permit. Residents and nonresidents alike may buy a "license entitling a person to fish in the waters of the state on a day-to-day basis." A resident daily fishing license costs $11.50 plus $5 for each additional day ...