Lots of options available for Magic Valley ice anglers

Winter is here, and the Magic Valley is a destination for ice anglers because of its reliable ice and many places to fish from local ponds to large lakes and reservoirs. 

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Mark Fleming

Magic Valley Ice Fishing Report: December 2018

1. Magic Reservoir: Yellow Perch, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Smallmouth Bass

Summer creels saw full stringers of large Rainbow and Brown Trout from the reservoir. Multiple reports of stringers with 20+ inch trout came in all fall. As usual there were numerous 8” smallmouth to be had. Yellow Perch averaged 7” in spring, with reports of 9” perch being caught regularly in late summer. 

Fringe ice is beginning to form around the reservoir and it won’t be long before anglers test the ice and start drilling holes. Ice fishing typically picks up in January when thicker ice is more likely to form. It’s best to access Magic Reservoir through the township of West Magic, but watch weather patterns as the road is plowed intermittently.

• Trout limit is 6 per day, mixed species bag, any size

• Perch: No limit

• Smallmouth Bass limit is 6 per day, any size


2. Mormon Reservoir: Rainbow Trout

The rumors are true! Mormon is back and producing gobs of giant Rainbow Trout. Numerous anglers reported 50+ fish days and average sizes of 18" throughout the summer and fall. Recently, catch rates have slowed to around 25 fish per day, with periodic 20+” trout being caught. 

As of the first week in December there was 2” of fresh ice with about 8” of snow on Mormon Reservoir. Early ice conditions can be sketchy at best so take precautions. Camas County plows the road into the reservoir periodically, so check with the county before you head up (otherwise it’s a long walk in). You can access the fishery by heading south from the town of Fairfield on Mormon Reservoir Road.

• Trout limit is 6 per day, any size


3. Carey Lake: Yellow Perch, Bluegill, Bass

There are no current reports from Carey Lake, but typically the small ice fishery turns on mid-December. Perch can be caught in the channels running through the center of the lake, and Bluegills can be caught on the West end where the lake is deepest. Bass catch rates have been good in recent years, but most bass are below the 12” minimum. 

Carey Lake is located east of the Town of Carey, with a parking lot and bathroom on the west side of the property. Ice forms early in typical winters, but the east inflow keeps a pocket of open water.

• Perch: No limit

• Bass limit is six per day, none under 12”, mixed species bag

• Bluegill: No limit


4. Connor Pond and Emerald Lake: Rainbow Trout

Both of these pond sized fisheries provide great ice fishing opportunity for Rainbow Trout. Every year these fisheries are stocked in mid to late-November with hatchery trout and fishing can be lights out early in the New Year. Both ponds are on the north side of I-84 in Burley. 

• Trout limit is 6 per day


5. Oakley Reservoir: Walleye, Yellow Perch, Rainbow Trout

Catch rates of 13-17” Walleye have been good all summer at various depths, with Perch fishing coming on very strong in the fall. 10” perch are being caught regularly in 10-15’ of water around rocky outcrops. Perch and Walleye are great, but Oakley is a secret Rainbow Trout honey-hole! Recent reports of 25” slabs are coming in. This is likely a result of increased stocking in recent years; including receiving 30,000 resident steelhead fingerlings the last 4 years. 

Oakley can see some early ice, but is best ventured to in mid-January to ensure safe conditions. Be aware the road into the reservoir is rough during summer months and receives very little maintenance past the dam during winter. 

• Walleye limit is 6 per day, any size

• Perch: No limit

• Rainbow trout limit is 6 per day, any size


6. Dog Creek Reservoir: Rainbow Trout, Bluegill, Bass

A popular summer time fishery Dog Creek is drawn down to minimum pool during winter months, concentrating all the fish in deeper water. This can make fishing really good! Dog Creek is an up and coming Rainbow Trout fishery, but most of the ice fishing centers on Bass and Bluegill, with the occasional Catfish, and Perch being caught. Because of the fisheries popularity it is best to focus efforts towards the early part of the season (if there’s ice). Dog Creek Reservoir typically is best in mid-January and be accessed heading north on S 1800 E out of the town of Gooding.

• Trout limit is 6 per day, any size

• Bluegill: No limit

• Bass limit is 6 per day, none under 12”


7. Thorn Creek Reservoir: Rainbow Trout

Thorn Creek grows BIG FISH! Similar in nature to Mormon Reservoir, Thorn Creek Reservoir typically has early ice fishing opportunity and when consecutive good water years line up can grow monster Rainbow Trout. Due to good water levels the reservoir has received multiple stockings of catchable (9”) rainbow trout in the previous 2 years, as well as 400 larger broodstock fish. Late-December to mid-January typically provides good catch rates fishing on the SW side of the reservoir near the dam. 

You can get to Thorn Creek Reservoir by way of Hwy 46, north out of Gooding. The roads into the reservoir are not maintained and likely require 4wd most months of the year. 

• Trout limit is 6 per day, any size


8. Roseworth (Cedar Creek Reservoir): Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout

Also known as Cedar Creek, Roseworth Reservoir is typically known for its high abundance and regular stocking of Rainbow Trout, although recent reports include anglers encountering 9” Brook Trout. This reservoir has fish! With over 100,000 rainbows stocked each of the past 3 years. To bolster the rainbow opportunity, an additional 80,000 steelhead fingerlings were released in September, 2017. Ice fishing really gets good in January and stays good throughout the season. Roseworth Reservoir has been referred to as the “Little Engine That Could”, because catch rates aren’t crazy (about 1 fish/hr), but anglers that put in the time usually leave with a limit of trout. You can get to Roseworth by heading west on Jarbidge Road out of the town of Rogerson, ID. 

• Rainbow Trout limit is 6 per day, any size

• Brook Trout limit is 25 per day, any size

Interested in other places? Here's some Statewide Ice Fishing Information. 

And to learn more about ice fishing safety and rules, check out our dedicated ice fishing page.