Due to COVID-19, Memorial Day will be memorable in ways people hadn’t anticipated, but fishing will remain a favorite activity during the holiday weekend. Fish and Game crews have been stocking trout and other fish, and anglers will have ample opportunity to catch them.
“Our hatchery staff continues to provide Idaho anglers with fishing opportunities throughout the state,” Fish and Game State Hatchery Manager Gene McPherson said.
Fish and Game hatcheries raise millions of fish annually, and those fish were ready for stocking on schedule this year, despite COVID-19, so the department continued to stock places that have traditionally received fish. You can find places that have been recently been stocked on the IDFG website listed at the bottom of this article.
However, things will be different than in the past for Memorial Day weekend, especially if you plan to camp. It may be confusing planning your trips, and the simple, but not-so-simple, answer is to do some homework before you go to avoid disappointment, especially if you plan to use developed facilities, such as campgrounds, boat launches, picnic areas, etc.
For example, Idaho State Parks won’t open for camping until May 30, and Fish and Game’s popular Horsethief Reservoir campground will also remain closed until then.
Many recreation facilities around Idaho are owned and/or managed by a variety of agencies and municipalities ranging from small towns to the federal government, so it can be hard to know exactly who manages each one. But there are links below to help you find information about your favorite spot.
Most of Fish and Game’s recreation sites remain open, and Fish and Game has resumed selling fishing licenses to nonresident anglers after a temporary suspension in April and early May.
Spring is primetime for fishing
Spring is a great time to fish in Idaho. Most lakes, reservoirs and ponds are in prime condition. Most are filled with cool water and have a variety of fish available, including numerous species of trout and various warmwater fish.
Anglers are also welcoming the return of Chinook salmon from the ocean, and Chinook fishing season is available on the Salmon and Little Salmon rivers. Things can change quickly during Chinook season, so be sure to check the current rules to find out which stretches are open for fishing.
River anglers may find their favorite streams running high and cold from snowmelt during spring, but there are still many fishing opportunities along spring-fed rivers and streams and those controlled by dams, as well as Snake River, which has a variety of stretches available to boat and shore anglers.
People itching to get into the mountains may find many upper-elevations are still blocked by snow. Spring may be a better time to fish those lower elevations that are in great shape now, but get warmer and more challenging to fish when summer heat arrives.
You can check on the IDFG website to see current fishing reports and to get more information about specific recreation sites.
Get your fishing licenses online
If you haven’t bought your Idaho fishing license yet, Fish and Game is recommending that you do it online. You can buy a fishing license with your smart phone or mobile device while you're in the field and need one immediately, and you can go fishing immediately after buying.
If you’re new to fishing, new to Idaho, or both, there’s also a handy video on the website that explains how to understand the Idaho Fishing Seasons and Rules book.
For more information go to the website at idfg.idaho.gov.