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Ice Fishing Lakes In Idaho

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Guide to favorite fish species at top ice fishing lakes in the state.

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

Ice fishing

Idaho offers exciting opportunities for ice fishing, providing anglers with a unique and thrilling experience during the winter months. Despite the cold temperatures, anglers can target a variety of fish species through the frozen surfaces of Idaho's lakes and reservoirs. The purpose of this page is to share basic information about the best ice fishing lakes in the state, plus the species found in each lake.

One of the primary species pursued during ice fishing in Idaho is trout. Rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, and even brook trout can be found in several frozen bodies of water across the state. Anglers employ various techniques, including jigging with small lures or bait, to entice these fish to bite. Other popular species for ice fishing in Idaho include perch, crappie, and kokanee salmon.

Ice Fishing Tips & Techniques Video

Ice fishing methods in Idaho often involve drilling holes through the ice and setting up ice fishing shelters or tents to shield anglers from the elements. Anglers use specialized ice fishing rods and reels to lower their lines into the water, adjusting the depth based on the target species and their behavior during the winter months. Tip-ups, which are devices that suspend baited lines beneath the ice, are also commonly used for targeting multiple fish simultaneously.

Safety is paramount when participating in ice fishing. Idaho anglers must ensure the ice is thick enough to support their weight. Ice thickness can vary, so it is crucial to check the ice thickness regularly and only venture onto ice that is at least four inches thick for walking and at least six inches thick for ice fishing. It's advisable to wear appropriate clothing for the cold conditions, including insulated waterproof boots, layered clothing, and gloves. Additionally, having safety equipment such as ice picks, a throwable floatation device, and a rope is essential for any ice fishing excursion.

Before heading out, it's crucial to check local ice conditions and weather forecasts. Ice fishing in groups is recommended for added safety. It's also important to inform someone about the fishing location and expected return time. As with any outdoor activity, using caution and common sense while ice fishing in Idaho ensures a safe and enjoyable experience.

Ice fishing in Idaho provides a unique way to enjoy the winter season while pursuing a variety of fish species. With the right equipment, knowledge of safety measures, and a sense of adventure, anglers can create memorable experiences and catch impressive fish through the ice-covered waters of Idaho's lakes and reservoirs.

The best ice fishing lakes in ID include Twin Lakes, Spring Valley Reservoir and Blackfoot Reservoir. The most popular species are rainbow trout, brown trout and yellow perch. See a list of lakes and species below.

Ice fishing is as basic as fishing gets. During winter, it is popular here in the state. Aside from the tools one uses to create a hole in the ice, all other gear is very basic. A simple rod, reel, line and hook or lure is all you need. Lures, live bait and prepared bait are options, depending on the fish species in the lake or pond.

Fishing Boats For Rent In Idaho

Top Ice Fishing Lakes & Species

There are numerous places to go ice fishing in the state. Here are a list of some of the proven, best destinations.

American Falls Reservoir

Smallmouth bass Rainbow Trout Cutthroat Trout Yellow Perch

Bear Lake

Rainbow Trout Cutthroat Trout Lake Trout

Blackfoot Reservoir

Rainbow Trout Cutthroat Trout Lake Trout

Chesterfield Reservoir

Rainbow Trout Cutthroat Trout Brown trout

Hayden Lake

Rainbow Trout Cutthroat Trout Bluegill Yellow Perch Northern Pike Kokanee Salmon

Henry's Lake

Cutthroat Trout Brook trout

Island Park Reservoir

Rainbow Trout Cutthroat Trout Kokanee Salmon Yellow Perch

Lake Cascade

Rainbow TroutYellow Perch

Lower Twin Lakes

White crappie Rainbow Trout Kokanee Salmon

Magic Reservoir

Rainbow Trout Brown trout Yellow Perch

Mormon Reservoir

Rainbow Trout Yellow Perch

Palisades Reservoir

Cutthroat Trout Brown trout Lake Trout Kokanee Salmon

Payette Lake

Cutthroat Trout Rainbow Trout Lake Trout Yellow Perch Kokanee Salmon

Priest Lake

Smallmouth bass Cutthroat Trout Lake Trout Bluegill Yellow Perch Kokanee Salmon

Ririe Reservoir

Rainbow Trout Yellow Perch Kokanee Salmon

Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir

Smallmouth bass Walleye Black crappie White crappie Rainbow Trout Cutthroat Trout Bluegill Yellow Perch Kokanee Salmon

Upper Twin Lakes

Largemouth bass Pumpkinseed Sunfish Yellow Perch Northern Pike

Williams Lake

Rainbow Trout

Click the images for species details.

This is a great way to get the kids to go outdoors in winter, connect with nature and learn to fish. The first consideration when attempting to go ice fishing, is safety. Make sure the ice is safe, and that you are prepared should an accident occur. Dress to stay warm - it's better to remove extra jackets than be cold and miserable. Be aware that the ice can be slippery, and falls can be dangerous.

Click here for ice fishing basics, including details on finding the best place to fish, tips for cutting a hole, basic tackle, bait, lures, depths to fish, safety, shanty's, tents and huts.

Best ice fishing method for crappie, bluegill, perch and sunfish

Horizontal jigs and spoon-type baits are the go-to baits for crappie, either tipped with a minnow, wax worm or prepared baits often triggers more bites. Jigs work better close to the bottom, spoons tend to work better higher in the water column. If options allow, 15 to 30 feet is the most common depth. Adjust as necessary. See additional info on ice fishing for crappie, perch and sunfish.

Best ice fishing method for walleye

Four basic lures are all you need. Ice jigs are minnow shaped with a tail that causes them to fall in a circular patter. Drop them to the desired depth (often to the bottom), then lift the bait a few feet to let it fall on slack line. Spoons: Metal slabs in chrome or a wide array of colors are used to jig up-and-down mimicking a dying baitfish. Lipless crankbaits: Fish like a spoon. Jigs: Use slightly larger jigs than for crappie, preferably with a flashing blade attached. Tip with live bait and let it sit, up a ways from the bottom typically 1 to 3 feet. A general tip is to always keep your bait off the bottom, one to 5 feet is an ideal place to start. Additional information about ice fishing for walleye.

Best ice fishing method for trout

Trout focus on small forage fish in winter, so baits that flash silver - jigs or spoons, do well in attracting trout. Dual rods, where legal, are very effective. One rod with a jig/live bait set up on a tip-up, the second with a spoon fished up and down pretty aggressively. See more detail about ice fishing for trout.

Best ice fishing method for bass

Bass are often found closer to the shoreline than schooling fish. Fish the same as other species, using a bit larger baits and slightly heavier line. Be prepared to battle using your drag if you hook a big one. Additional information about ice fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass.

Best ice fishing method for pike and musky

Live bait, shiners and sunfish, are a great way to attract these big fellahs, assuming local law allows their use. Heavier line, steel leaders, bigger hooks and stronger tip-ups are in order. See more information on ice fishing for pike and musky.

Click here for a Idaho Fishing License.

Idaho Map


States with notable ice fishing.

AZ Ice Fishing CA Ice Fishing CO Ice Fishing CT Ice Fishing IA Ice Fishing ID Ice Fishing IL Ice Fishing IN Ice Fishing
KS Ice Fishing MA Ice Fishing MD Ice Fishing ME Ice Fishing MI Ice Fishing MN Ice Fishing MT Ice Fishing ND Ice Fishing
NE Ice Fishing NH Ice Fishing NJ Ice Fishing NM Ice Fishing NV Ice Fishing NY Ice Fishing OH Ice Fishing OR Ice Fishing
PA Ice Fishing RI Ice Fishing SD Ice Fishing UT Ice Fishing VT Ice Fishing WA Ice Fishing WI Ice Fishing WY Ice Fishing