Paddock Valley Reservoir is an irrigation impoundment located about 20 miles east of Weiser, Idaho. This remote waterbody has long been a destination for anglers targeting largemouth bass, but the quality of this fishery can fluctuate and largely depends on the amount of surplus water available after irrigation needs are met. In low water years like 2005 and 2015, Paddock Valley is drawn down and fish numbers can drop. When this happens, it takes a few good water years before the population rebounds and fishing improves.
The Southwest regional fisheries team recently surveyed Paddock Valley Reservoir and found a healthy bass population as we captured over 100 largemouth bass with an average length just shy of 13 inches. The largest largemouth captured measured over 15 inches and numerous individuals weighed over 2 pounds. Our survey also found pumpkinseeds, brown bullhead, crappie and numerous trophy class bluegill with the largest measuring 10 inches. All fish captured in the survey were released back into the reservoir.
The current abundance of quality fish in Paddock Valley has occurred in response to the average to above-average water years from 2016 to 2019. However, given the below average water years of 2020 and 2021, it is likely that we could see a downswing in fish abundance in this reservoir in the near future. So if you like to fish for warmwater fish, you might consider giving Paddock Valley a try soon.
To fish at Paddock Valley Reservoir, anglers will need an Idaho fishing license and some time to make the long, bumpy drive (four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended). There are two boat launches on the southeastern corner of the reservoir that Idaho Fish and Game maintains through our fishing and boating access program. Anglers seeking to target largemouth bass should spend most of their time fishing the deeper water near the dam where these large fish can find cooler water throughout the summer. You will also likely want to use bright colored or shiny tackle to get the fishes’ attention since visibility in the water can be limited. The regulation on largemouth bass in Paddock Valley is the general southwest region regulation of 6 bass, none under 12 inches. Bluegill, crappie and brown bullhead can be found throughout the reservoir, there is no limit on these three species. Check out the Fishing Planner for more information about this fishery.