Want to test your mettle against some of the most wily fish in Idaho? Southern Idaho is your spot. Others may flock to more famous territory up north, but rainbow trout, bass, bluegill, and carp are all up for grabs here — even mighty, ancient sturgeon. One of these destinations may become your new secret fishing hole.
Hagerman Fish Hatchery
Fishing at a fish hatchery must be like shooting fish in a barrel, right? We’re not saying it’s that easy, but your odds are good. Check out the Oster Lakes for trout stocked by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. This series of ponds extends into the Hagerman Wildlife Management Area, and while you’re casting you’ll likely see many waterfowl, from mallards to mergansers and redheads to ruddy ducks.
Situated about 24 miles away from Burley, this dam is great for fly fishing and bait casting. Chances are you’ll get a bite from a catfish, perch, freshwater sunfish, walleye, or rainbow trout. In fact, in 2009 an angler caught a state-record-setting 17-pound, 12-ounce walleye.
Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir
If you want to catch walleye, this is the place to do it: It’s known for its trophy catches. Ice fishing is available in January and February, but you can cast year-round for kokanee salmon, Chinook salmon, brown trout, yellow perch, black crappie, small-mouth bass, and channel catfish. This area is also a draw for antelope hunters during the autumn and floaters during the summer.
Midway between Twin Falls and Ketchum, this 3,700-acre historic reservoir is a mecca for ice fishing. And when it’s a good water year — such as in 2016 — it can be great summer stop for brown trout, rainbow trout, and yellow perch. Check out the buggy southwest side of the reservoir to increase your odds.