Idaho has a variety of fishing spots ranging from remote mountain lakes to giant reservoirs to rivers that run through the heart of Idaho's cities. For families looking to get outdoors and enjoy a little fishing without having to travel long distances or hike or boat to a remote location, Fish and Game has some family friendly areas that are easily accessible, and many feature more than fishing.
If the kids get a little bored and decide to chase frogs, catch butterflies, or venture into an adjacent park, good for them. The idea is to keep everybody happy and enjoying the outdoors, so check out these locations, and click on each one for more details.
Located minutes from downtown Coeur d’Alene and the post-card perfect shoreline of Lake Coeur d’Alene, Fernan Lake has a decidedly different feel. It’s part rural pond and part backcountry lake with parks and amenities along with undisturbed natural areas. It’s big enough for power boating, but small enough that it’s not intimidating for canoes and kayaks. And you can’t ignore the variety of fish that will keep an angler busy and wondering what’s going to bite next.
As part of a state park that shares its name, Winchester Lake welcomes boaters, campers, anglers and others who want to enjoy a placid place that’s user friendly. Docks, boat ramps, picnic areas and bathrooms with flush toilets (and showers) await. You can even buy an ice cream bar in the park’s visitors center. Bring your RV, tent, or rent one of the yurts available through Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation. Canoe rentals are also available at the park.
Southwest - McCall
This reservoir is disguised as a mountain lake ringed by tall pine trees and with rugged peaks in the background. It’s a Central Idaho gem where the reservoir is managed by Idaho Fish and Game and well stocked with rainbow and brown trout. It’s easily accessible from Cascade, but also a stone’s throw from Idaho’s isolated backcountry and even more fishing opportunities. This is also a popular camping area, but it's rustic camping with picnic tables, fire rings and outhouses.
Southwest - Boise
The J.R. Simplot Foundation spared no expenses to create a lasting legacy in Boise when it built and financed the pond and surrounding park. It’s a modern masterpiece that welcomes anyone to relax and recreate in its expansive 55 acres, which includes trails, docks, wetlands, boardwalks, shelters, grassy open areas, a playground, bridges and restrooms. The pond gets regular stocking of rainbow trout, and there are also largemouth bass in the pond. This pond is located along the Greenbelt and minutes from downtown Boise.
Fish? Swim? Or cannonball off the diving board? If you pick all the above, Dierkes Lake is your destination. This gem near Twin Falls is a fishing playground or a playground with fishing. It’s a fishing/swimming hole located in a city park with a host of amenities, so when you’re done with your swimming and fishing, have barbecue on the grill in the picnic shelter. It's also a short ways from Shoshone Falls, which is spectacular in the spring when the flows are high.
You rarely hear “state of the art” applied to a fishing pond, but it applies to Bannock Reservoir in Pocatello. It’s part of the Portneuf Wellness Center in a multi-use outdoors complex, which is a fancy way of saying “a really nice park” that has sports field and courts, and a variety of other amenities. The pond wasn’t so much dug as designed so it’s deep enough to keep fish thriving year round and with an inlet stream that mimics the real thing. This is an old-school fishing hole with new-school amenities and a great place to spend a day fishing and hanging out with the family.
Upper Snake Region
Not that it’s a contest, but if it was, Rexburg steps into the ring with its 15-acre Nature Park, about half of which is ponds and natural areas. It is also adjacent to the South Fork of the Teton River, and it's a place you can catch fish, watch the ducks, or ride at the Clair Boyle Skate Park. Still not enough? Bring your discs for the disc golf course in case the fish aren’t biting.
Sometimes, you just want to keep it basic on your fishing trip, and Hayden Creek Pond has you covered. This 1.7-acre pond gets stocked with trout monthly through spring and summer for nearly year-round fishing thanks to spring water that’s the perfect temperature for trout. The fish that don’t get caught right away continue to grow, which gives anglers an opportunity to catch some larger trout. The pond also has a picnic facility and bathrooms. Pack a lunch and drinks and plan to relax while fishing for trout.
Fishing Fernan Lake [video]
Father and daughter show why Fernan Lake is family friendly fishing.