High water this Memorial Day weekend will likely put a temporary damper on fishing many local rivers and streams, but fortunately, local ponds and lakes are a good bet for anxious anglers.
These close-to-home fishing holes provide families with young children a good chance of catching fish. Add a picnic lunch and some lawn chairs, and families can have an ideal outing spending some quality time together.
Here are some convenient spots to try your luck this spring. For stocking reports, direction maps, rules and more on each water, visit Idaho’s Fishing Planner at https://idfg.idaho.gov/ifwis/fishingplanner.
Kids Creek Pond: Regularly stocked with rainbow trout, this 0.6 acre pond located near downtown Salmon provides a convenient fishing hole, especially if you’re limited on time. Picnic tables, a covered picnic table area, restrooms and outdoor grills make it a perfect, close to home family fishing spot.
Hayden Creek Pond: This 1.7-acre pond is about 24 miles south of Salmon on Hayden Creek Road. This popular fishing pond is stocked with trout monthly through spring and summer. Because of spring water that makes great habitat, the fish that don't get caught right away continue to grow, giving anglers an opportunity to catch some larger trout as the summer progresses. This area also has a picnic shelter, grills and restrooms.
Blue Mountain Pond: This 0.7-acre pond overlooks the golf course in Challis. Kids will enjoy fishing for stocked rainbow trout from the banks and having a picnic in one of the sheltered picnic tables arranged around the pond.
Squaw Creek Pond: This small seasonal pond is stocked with rainbow trout and is located about three miles west of Clayton, north of the Salmon River off the Creek Road. Recent deepening and improvements to the pond’s outlet structure will make this a great fishing location through early summer, when the water will likely be drawn down for irrigation.
Hyde Pond: This small irrigation pond provides ideal bank fishing for beginning anglers and those who want to practice casting techniques. Heavily stocked in May, this pond is located south of Salmon on the road to the Sunset Heights subdivision.
Trout enthusiasts looking for a weekend adventure or anglers with older children might want to try:
Williams Lake: Located southwest of Salmon, this 180-acre lake provides good fishing for feisty wild rainbows in the 12 to 16-inch range. Float tubes and boats provide anglers access throughout the lake. Good bank angling can be found on the northwest portions of the lake near the recently improved public boat ramp and day-use area. A nearby hiking trailhead, which leads anglers to the south side of the lake, can be accessed a half mile west of the boat ramp. Campers will also find an 11-site BLM-managed campground located about a mile east of the lake.
Jimmy Smith Lake: The half-mile hike or ride to Jimmy Smith Lake is rewarded with scenic views and wild rainbow trout. Located in the East Fork Salmon River drainage southeast of Clayton, this 47-acre lake is accessed by foot, horse, motorcycle or ATV ride from the trailhead on Big Lake Creek. Anglers should do well fishing for rainbows with worms, corn, eggs, mealworms, Power Bait, or even fly-fishing gear. Rainbows in excess of 14-inches can be found here, and the daily bag limit is currently 25 trout. Camping is limited to two dispersed sites along the access road from the East Fork Road and at the trailhead parking area.
Mosquito Flat Reservoir: Both novice and expert anglers alike will enjoy Mosquito Flat Reservoir near Challis. This 49-acre irrigation reservoir is known for beautiful scenery, camping, plentiful rainbow trout, and luckily - not many pesky mosquitoes. The reservoir is now filling with water, and was recently stocked with 1,000 rainbows. Fish and Game has also stocked 13,000 sterile kokanee into Mosquito Flat the last few years, some of which have now grown to over 14-inches. Prized for their hard fight and excellent table fare, a fresh kokanee fillet off the grill will make a Memorial Day highlight. A Forest Service day-use picnic area, 11-unit campground and boat ramp is available. Currently, the best route to the lake is the Garden Creek-Challis Motorway, as a landslide has damaged the Challis Creek Road and full-size vehicle travel is not advised. For more on the road condition and campground, contact the Challis-Yankee Fork Ranger District at (208) 879-4100.