Horsethief Reservoir continues to be a camping and fishing destination for outdoor enthusiasts across Idaho. As visitation continues to increase, the need has arisen to provide more structured camping to protect the very environment that visitors travel to Horsethief to enjoy.
That effort began in 2018, when three of Horsethief’s east side camping loops -- Beaver Tail, Trout Landing and Horsethief Creek -- were upgraded with compacted gravel loop roads, parking pads, new picnic tables and fire rings.
That project was just the beginning. In 2019, Horsethief Reservoir underwent additional renovation, this time targeting the King’s Point camping loop and the adjacent boat ramp area. The loop road was widened and paved, as were all 28 King’s Point campsites, with each site outfitted with large sand living pads, picnic tables and fire rings. The boat ramp parking area was enlarged and paved to better serve Horsethief boaters. Both will be ready for campers and boaters when the snow melts this spring.
None of this would be possible of course without the collaborative partnership forged in 2017 between the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and three other entities: the Southwest Idaho Resource Conservation and Development Council (SWIDRCD), the Treasure Valley YMCA, and the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDPR).
Aerial view of Horsethief Reservoir - Summer, 2019. In the foreground,
crews can be seen putting the finishing touches on the King’s Point
Campground and Boat Ramp. Jordan Messner, IDFG
Next Steps -
This coming summer, the Osprey Bay and Easter’s Cove Campground loops will be upgraded. The Osprey Bay loop road will be graded and paved, as will the loop camp sites. The Easter’s Cove loop road will be properly graded, graveled and compacted. Campsites in both loops will be improved, with the installation of new living pads, picnic tables and fire rings. Due to construction, these loops will be closed for a good portion of the 2020 camping season.
Just two other camping loops remain to be improved at Horsethief - Bear Knob and Timber Bay. Idaho Fish and Game, SWIDRCD, and the Treasure Valley YMCA are applying for IDPR Recreational Vehicle Fund grants to finance improvements to these camping loops in 2021. Bear Knob campground will mimic King’s Point and Osprey Bay, with a widened, paved entrance road and paved campsites, while improvements to Timber Bay will maintain a more primitive camping experience, similar to Easter’s Cove and the Eastside camping loops.
Even with all the camping improvements, visitors should not overlook the great fishery that Horsethief Reservoir provides. A study by Fish and Game staff this past fall showed that rainbow trout are the most abundant fish species in Horsethief, ranging up to 15 inches long, followed by brown trout and Kokanee salmon, many of which exceed 14 inches in length. And what goes better with camping than a fresh fish dinner?
Plan to attend the 11th annual Youth Ice Fishing Day at Horsethief on Jan 11, 2020 from 10am-3pm, hosted by Idaho Youth Outdoors. Learn more at this website: https://www.idahoyouthoutdoors.org.
- IDFG -