Whether you dangle a jig through a hole in the ice or cast a streamer into an open river, wintertime is a great time for fishing. Southeast Idaho has no shortage on fantastic winter fisheries-- but before you head out to reel in the fun, be sure you know the rules.
Here are some important reminders based on some of the most common violations Fish and Game conservation officers encounter in the Southeast Region.
Know your limits.
- Chesterfield Reservoir located near Bancroft is a popular year-round fishery with fast-growing rainbow trout. Just remember it has a two-trout and six-bass limit. And, any bass must be at least 14 inches if you want to take it home for dinner.
- American Falls Reservoir which has produced some Idaho state record trout is also a great bass fishery. It has a bass limit of 2, any size. Trout limit is 6.
- On the Snake River from Eagle Rock upstream to American Falls Dam, the trout limit is 0 (catch-and-release) from October 16 to the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. Saturday of Memorial Day weekend to October 15, the trout limit is 2.
Don’t take the bait.
- Daniels Reservoir near Malad City is a popular trout fishery and produces some beautiful fish. However, anglers need to leave the bait at home! Seriously, don’t even have it in your tackle box, or you may have some explaining to do. Barbless hooks are also required. Trout limit is 2, none under 20 inches can be kept.
- Both Treasureton Reservoir in Franklin County and Twenty-Four Mile Reservoir in Caribou County have some of the same rules as Daniels. No bait allowed, barbless hooks required, and there is a trout limit of 2, none under 20 inches. But at Treasureton, there is no size, bag, or possession limits on bass. And, at Twenty-Four Mile, no motors allowed.
- Those 14 and older must have a valid Idaho fishing license to fish in Idaho.
- This is true even for small community ponds located in parks, nature areas, and recreation facilities, such as Pocatello’s Edson Fichter Nature Area and Portneuf Wellness Complex and Soda Spring’s Upper Kelly Park Pond.
- Bear Lake in the southeast corner of the state straddles the Idaho-Utah border, so either a valid Idaho or valid Utah fishing license can be used to fish this body of water-- no matter which part of the lake you drop your anchor.
Don’t slip on the ice (fishing)!
- When cutting a hole in the ice, make sure it is no bigger than 10 inches in diameter. This is not only for public safety, it is the law. The exception: any size hole may be cut through the ice to dip net cisco on Bear Lake (season goes from Jan. 1 to Feb. 15).
- How many poles can be used? Depends where you are fishing. For example, at Bear Lake, two lines are permitted when ice fishing with a two-pole permit. When ice fishing at Daniels, Treasureton, or Twenty-Four Mile Reservoir, only one line is allowed.
There’s an app for that.
Use your phone to download Idaho Fish and Game’s free gooutdoorsidaho.com app and never be without your fishing or hunting license again. That’s because you can purchase your license through this app and download it right to your phone! Need to double-check a regulation? You will have that info (and more) at your fingertips, too.
Know something? Say something!
If you witness or suspect someone is committing a wildlife violation, please say something. The majority of Fish and Game’s wildlife cases come from tips from the public. You can make a call to your nearest regional Fish and Game office or contact Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) at 1-800-632-5999. Callers can remain anonymous, and rewards are available for information that leads to an arrest. Can’t remember the CAP number? It’s there on the back of your fishing, hunting, or trapping license— or you can find it on gooutdoorsidaho.com.
Hopefully, these reminders will help you better prepare for your next fishing adventure in the Southeast Region. Just remember, it’s your responsibility to “know before you go”. For a complete list of Idaho fishing regulations, please refer to the 2022-2024 Fishing Seasons and Rules available online or in booklet form at an Idaho Fish and Game vendor.