Each summer, fish biologists and technicians lace up their boots and hike deep into Idaho’s mountainous backcountry. They spend several weeks each year collecting information on fish populations to help make decisions about where to stock fish, how many, and how often. Click the video below to learn about how IDFG manages fishing in alpine lakes!
Idaho is home to over 3,000 backcountry alpine lakes. They range in size from small frog ponds, to deep blue lakes over a mile long. While some lakes may only have insects, frogs and salamanders, others have good populations of scrappy trout. Most alpine lakes were formed thousands of years ago as massive glaciers pulled away from Idaho’s landscape, carving deep holes along the mountains that filled with snowmelt. Trout were never able to reach these lakes, so most backcountry lakes were historically fishless. As settlers pushed west in the mid and late-1800’s, they brought trout with them and started a long tradition of stocking Idaho’s alpine lakes.
Today, anglers willing to hit the trail into the backcountry have a chance to experience some incredible fishing in some of Idaho’s most pristine and beautiful scenery. Not all lakes may have fish, but there are usually a variety of cutthroat, rainbow, or brook trout willing to take a fly or lure. Alpine lakes can even offer the chance at a rare golden trout or arctic grayling. Put an alpine lake on the list for your next adventure.