Frequently Asked Questions

We get a lot of questions. We post here answers to questions we're being asked frequently. If you have a question not answered here, please contact us. Urgent questions should be directed to your nearest office. Some answers change over time; please take note of the "answered" date.

Displaying 76 - 100 of 198 questions

Q: Stocking

When will the Squaw Creek Pond be stocked for 2014?


First, thanks for the note.  Water was just turned into the pond last week.  It is scheduled to be stocked with rainbow trout the first week in June and again just before the 4th of July.  It should receive about 600 fish in each stocking event.
For more information, contact Regional Fisheries Manager Greg Scoby at the Salmon Office 208-756-2271.

answered 5/15/2014

Q: Middle Fork Boise Season

In reading the regulations I am not certain what the fishing season is on the Middle Fork of the Boise for 2014. Is it open year round?


The Middle Fork Boise River is open year-around for fishing.  You can keep 6 trout EXCEPT from the confluence with the North Fork Boise River to Atlanta Dam.  In this reach you can only keep 2 trout and they must be at least 14" long.  Artificial flies and lures only with a barbless hook is required in this area.

answered 5/14/2014

Q: About Williams Pond

Hi there F&G Peeps! I've been fishing the New Williams Pond, in Boise, just off to the right of the new Parkcenter Bridge, just past Bown Crossing. I know it is stocked regularly, and I've even seen the fishing trailer there a few times. I do not find this/these two ponds on your Family Fishing Waters, Under the Southwest Region, Boise Area. I'm guessing it just hasn't been updated. Anyway, this is a GREAT little fishing area! I've caught some seriously nice Rainbow Trout, Large Mouth Bass, and Blue Gill. I believe I fished this pond about 40 days last year. So far this year, 4. It's a great place and it isn't on your Family Fishing Waters listing and because of that, a lot of youngsters both old and young are really missing out on a great opportunity very close to home. Thanks for all that ya do for us. I am sure we keep ya pretty busy out there! Fish On!!!! CrystalD.


Thanks a bunch for the note.  We often are looking so hard for new fishing opportunities that we miss the obvious one's under our nose.  I'll talk with our "crack" web staff and see if we can get it added to our Fishing Planner and Family Fishing Waters.  Next time you go fishing at Williams Pond, please send us a picture through the "Fish Talk" feature under the Fishing tab on our webpage.

answered 5/5/2014

Q: Is Mountain Home Reservior going to be stocked in 2014?

Wondering if Mtn. Home Reservoir going to be stocked in 2014?


We have chosen to not stock Mt. Home Reservoir during 2014. From recent tagging studies, we have learned that very few rainbow trout return to anglers creels during moderate to poor water years. Catchable rainbow trout are very expensive to raise and stock. Our agency has to be very efficient in allocating these resources.  As you know, reservoir storage levels were very low this spring. Also, there was a relative lack of low-elevation snow limiting the possibility of re-fill. As soon as water levels/amounts improve, we will resume stocking.  

answered 4/21/2014

Q: Dead perch at C.J. Strike res.

Went fishing today at C.J. Strike and noticed several dead and dying perch. All were around five inches long. Most were dead but I noticed one upside down swimming in tight circles. Any idea whats killing them and are other fish safe to eat?


This time of the year, we always receive reports of dead yellow perch on various waters throughout Idaho.  Typically, the mortality is tied to post-spawning stress.  Think of it this way, first-time spawning perch put a tremendous amount of energy and body reserves into producing eggs.  Some of these fish don't have the energy to recover.  
If it were a toxin or an environmental issue, you would see other species of dead fish (crappie, bass, trout, etc.). The fish are probably safe to eat, but, I wouldn't recommend collecting the perch for that purpose.
Regardless, we will have someone do some sleuthing to confirm this is the cause of the yellow perch mortality.  

answered 4/19/2014

Q: Spey rod usage [can you use one on a body of water closed to steelhead?]

Can you use a spey rod on a body of water that is closed to steelhead? Do you need a steelhead permit to do so?


Depends.  It is illegal to fish for steelhead when the steelhead season is closed - even catch-and-release.  You can use a spey rod as long as you can pass the "red-face" test when you encounter an officer.  You must be able to convince the officer that you are fishing for cutthroat or rainbow trout (rainbow under 20" in length).  That means a fly with a small to medium-sized hook.

answered 4/18/2014

Q: Kokanee rebound in Priest Lake

According to historical stocking data, Kokanee have not been stocked in Priest Lake since 1989. Just recently their population has grown enough to allow for retention. Would it be safe to assume that they have made a rebound on their own? From reports on your site, netting predatory fish (Lake Trout) to reduce their numbers and boost the Kokanee, Cutthroat and Bull Trout has had little to no success as their numbers are not decreasing. However it sounds like the net/strobe light in the thoroughfare to Upper Priest Lake is producing better results. I think it would be fair to say that Priest Lake is such a popular fishery due to it's ability to produce large trophy Lake Trout and good number of eating size fish as well. if Kokanee populations kept increasing it would be even better. Has F&G has ever considered using funds that have been allocated to suppress Lake Trout populations into perhaps reducing other predatory fish such as the Small Mouth Bass? Hayden Lake would be one example where they have made a huge impact, since their introduction in the 80"s where only a few hundred were stocked, they are now the #1 species in that lake by volume. They are fun to catch, but i'm sure they do their part as well...


Below is a summary of the management planning process for Priest Lake.  I believe it answers most of your questions along wtih some others you may have.  if you'd care to discuss Priest Lake management further, please feel free to give me a call at (208) 769-1414.
thank you for your interest.
Jim Fredericks, Regional Fishery Manager. 
The future management of the Priest Lake fishery has been a hot topic of discussion over the past two years.  In short, some anglers have advocated a program to minimize the lake trout population in favor of more abundant kokanee, cutthroat, and bull trout populations.  Why, they ask, has IDFG “written off” Priest Lake yet put so much effort into restoring the historical Lake Pend Oreille fishery?  Others value the existing lake trout fishery and want to see it maintained.  Why, they ask, would IDFG consider messing with a fishery that’s working just fine the way it is?
Complicating the matter is the link between Priest and Upper Priest lakes.  Upper Priest Lake still supports an abundant cutthroat population and a healthy population of bull trout.  The “simple” solution would be to maintain the native fish populations in the upper lake.   Unfortunately, the ability for lake trout to pass freely between lakes through the Thorofare makes separate management strategies for the two lakes anything but simple.  Preventing lake trout from taking over the upper lake has taken an intensive 15-year annual suppression effort.  The program amounts to a “finger in the dike” approach that is simply unsustainable.  As managers of a resource that belongs to all of the people of Idaho, IDFG is charged with making a decision that will ultimately provide the greatest benefits to the majority over the long term.  That’s more easily said than done.  Not only is the public split on what they perceive as providing the greatest benefits, but there is still a lot we don't know about the ecology of the lake’s fisheries.    Before we can make long-term management decision, we all need a better understanding of the social, economic, and biological consequences of the alternatives. 
Recognizing that, the recently completed 2013-18 State Fishery Management Plan directs IDFG to use the next few years to gain a better understanding of how the fishery in Priest Lake is functioning.  At the same time, the plan recommends engaging a diverse group of stakeholders to provide input from a range of perspectives.  The biological information and the stakeholder group will be used together to help guide development of a more informed, long-term management plan for both lakes.  
One of the most important pieces of information needed for long-range planning is a better understanding of lake trout.   Beginning in 2013, with funding from the Kalispel Tribe, we initiated a 2-year cooperative project with the University of Idaho to conduct a comprehensive population assessment.  The study will provide information on the number of lake trout in Priest Lake, as well as key characteristics such as growth and survival rates, food habits and harvest rates.  Last spring researchers used large-scale commercial netting equipment, similar to that being used in Lake Pend Oreille, to capture trout for the population estimate.  Fish were measured and marked with an individually numbered tag. 
In total, just over four thousand lake trout were handled, and nearly three thousand of those were tagged and released.  The incidental catch of other species was very low.  We captured 3 bull trout, 1 kokanee, 95 suckers, 11 whitefish, and 22 pikeminnow—all of which were released alive. The project represents the first comprehensive assessment of the lake trout population on Priest Lake – ever!  Not only will it give us a better understanding of population characteristics, an outgrowth of the assessment will be a better understanding of the impacts of “barotrauma” — the over-expanded swim bladder lake trout often get when pulled from 100-150 feet of water by nets or anglers.  The university researchers are using a variety of methods to estimate survival rates based on degree of barotrauma as well as methods of treatment.  These are all extremely valuable pieces of information regardless of how the population will be managed in the long term.  
There are now over 3-thousand lake trout tagged in Priest Lake.  Each of those tags is labeled with an individual number as well as a toll-free telephone number.  By returning these tags, anglers will help us understand harvest and survival rates as well as total population size. Perhaps more importantly, anglers can stay informed as we collect new information and work with the advisory group to make a decision in the coming years.  Looking at facts as we learn them, and listening to the perspectives and values of others will help everyone involved appreciate the challenges associated with developing and implementing a long-term management plan.  Tuning out the conversation, and then complaining after the fact accomplishes little.
As we gather new information in the coming years, we will continue to provide periodic updates via e-mail, and share information at public meetings.  For a more personal discussion, I always  welcome folks to call or come by the office. 

answered 4/18/2014

Q: Are there plans to stock catfish in Treasure Valley ponds again?

I have noticed that these ponds have not been stocked in years. I know catfish is a growing target species in the valley as over the years spots have become increasingly crowded. I have caught many catfish but am not finding any in certain ponds that had been stocked in the past. While the Snake is a good choice access can be an issue and pond fishing is a preferred day to day for many of us.


The lack of channel catfish stocking in the database is not real.  We have been stocking them consistently; however, they have yet to be uploaded to the database. This will be corrected shortly.
We still stock the same ponds, but we did have to reduce numbers as we think channel catfish were impacting bluegill populations negatively in some of the smaller ponds.  We are not sure of this notion yet, but will be investigating during 2014. We plan to continue to stock channel catfish during summer to provide diversity and to provide fishing opportunity during the warm summer months when water temperatures are lethal to trout.  On the other hand, we need to ensure that we maintain bluegill populations in these ponds as they provide very high catch rates for young anglers and provide forage for many species. 
There are two other tremendous channel catfish fisheries nearby that get little attention. Lake Lowell is stocked with 5,000 to 10,000 fingerling catfish annually. These fish are surviving well and some have grown to HAWG statu. We have sampled several fish over 15 lbs over the last three years. Secondly, Crane Creek Reservoir near Midvale contains an underutilized, but very abundant, channel catfish population.

answered 4/17/2014

Q: What is the best place in the southwestern area to fish for trophy White Sturgeon?

I am new to the state and have wanted to catch a trophy White Stergeon. I have the necessary equipment for these big fish and will get a nonresident fishing licence because i have to be here 6 months for a resident licence. i have done my research on them, i just need pointed in the right direction> thankyou and i look forward to your answer


Sturgeon fishing in Idaho is a trophy experience.  Without knowing where you live, I'll list several general sites where you can catch a sturgeon.
Sturgeon forage for dead fish and other organic matter that settles in deep (20'+), back-eddy areas.  Use cut-bait (nongame fish pieces, anchovies, squid, hatchery rainbow trout, etc.).  You typically need 8 - 12 ounces of lead attached to a sliding sinker to hold your bait on the bottom.  Hooks must be barbless.
Snake River from Hell's Canyon to Lewiston.  Sturgeon fishing on this stretch almost requires a boat to access deep holes.  The Billy Creek hole is a popular location to fish - especially at night.
Snake River below Swan Falls - fish about half a mile below the dam where the river begins to deepen.
Snake River from Swan Falls to C.J. Strike Dam - the best sturgeon fishing begins just below C.J. Strike Dam near the turbine discharge and in the main channel below the spillway.  Fish deep water eddy lines.  There are also several deep areas further downstream the best fishing is in deeper areas within the first 5 miles of the river.
Snake River on the upper end of C.J. Strike Reservoir - Go into Cove Arm and fish off the dam.  Deeper water in this reach holds many 6' + sturgeon.
Snake River through the King Hill area to Bliss Dam.  Fish deep back-eddy areas.  There is a popular sturgeon fishing hole along I-84 approximately 5 miles downstream of Glenns Ferry.  It can be accessed from the south bank.
Snake River Buhl area.  Just below Kanaka Rapids is a popular spot to catch sturgeon.  The river is deep at the base of the rapid and you can easily land sturgeon from the shore.
Snake River Jerome/Twin Falls area.  There is a deep hole where Rock Creek enters the Snake River.  Sturgeon are also caught at the base of Pillar Falls.
Snake River below American Falls.  Below American Falls Dam anglers enjoy catching 6'+ sturgeon at come from hatchery fish stocked 10 - 15 years ago.
Snake River below Idaho Falls.  We've only stocked sturgeon in this area within the past 5 years.  Most will be less than 5' in length.   

answered 4/17/2014

Q: fishing report

I would like to know how the fishing has been at roseworth res.and where may I find this info with out asking a question not just at roseworth but any body of water?


Roseworth has been very good for 2 - 3 lb. rainbow trout since ice-off.  Night crawlers and DareDevils have been popular with anglers and fish.  Look for it to remain an excellent fishery through mid-May.
We are just launching a site our Fisheries webpage where anglers can report on fishing conditions and submit pictures of their catch.  Stay tuned.

answered 4/17/2014

Q: Rules on Chinook salmon in Deadwood River [Is a salmon permit required? What is the limit?]

Do I need a salmon permit to catch Chinook in deadwood? Is the season and limits the same as trout 6 in possession? Thanks.


The rules pertaining to land-locked Chinook Salmon as well as Deadwood Reservoir and tributaries are found on page 22-23 of the rules brochure.  For IDFG regulation purposes, land-locked Chinook Salmon are considered "trout".  You do not need a salmon permit to fish for or harvest them.  Land-locked Chinook are counted in your "trout" limit. So if you didn't harvest any other "trout" species, you could harvest up to 6 Chinook per day at Deadwood Reservoir. I remind you that "trout" bag and possession limits for Deadwood Reservoir are equal (i.e. you could never exceed 6 Chinook in possession regardless of the number of days fished). Please note on page 23 that the Deadwood Reservoir tributaries limit is only two "trout".  

answered 4/9/2014

Q: What types of fish are allowed when stocking a private pond in the Southwest region?

What are the approved species of fish for a private pond in the Southwest region (north west of Council)?


Usually only rainbow trout from an Idaho Commercial grower.

answered 4/7/2014

Q: Where can I use a two pole permit? [Are there areas where I can't use it?]

are there certain waters that the two pole permit doesn't cover? or certain types of fish it doesn't cover. such as if i am on a dock with 2 poles, can i use one to cast out for catfish, trout, bass etc. and use the other to fish under the dock for crappie/bluegill/perch?


The only exception that we can think of is during can't double the number of lines you use while ice-fishing. 
In other circumstances, as long as you are in control of both poles, there aren't limitations on where you can use two poles. 

answered 4/5/2014

Q: When do the steelhead arrive in the creeks of the Potlatch River drainage?

I am trying to see them run through Troy and wonder if they can make it through the culvert that goes under highway 8 and up Big Meadow Creek past my house.


Thanks for the question regarding Potlatch River steelhead.  In the Big Bear Drainage, which included the West Fork of Little Bear and Big Meadow Creek, steelhead should be in the middle of spawning right now.  Our past surveys have shown that they typically start spawning after water temperatures go above 41 degrees Fahrenheit.  They should definately be around Troy right now.  Regarding the HWY 8 culvert, we believe the culvert is a passage barrier.  While we have found a few rainbow trout in the upper parts of Big Meadow Creek on the forest we don't find them above the culvert.  However, they are found in high densities directly below the culvert.  We are currently working with ITD on getting the culvert modified to allow for adult steelhead passage in the near future.

answered 3/22/2014

Q: What are the rules to archery "hunting" unprotected nongame fish?

When it says unprotected, does that mean there is no limit as to the number of fish that can be taken or as to where they can be taken from (other than specified areas)?


Assuming you are interested in using a bow or spear to catch fish; here are the details:
Spear Fishing in Idaho
You must have an Idaho fishing license if you are 14 or over.
Archery and Spear Fishing is defined as: Fishing with a bow and arrow, crossbow, spear or mechanical device, excluding firearms. This type of fishing is permitted only in the taking of bullfrogs and unprotected nongame fish and only in those waters during the season set for the taking of game fish. You must have an Idaho fishing license; no other permit is necessary.
Game Fish: these species, except for bullfrogs, may not be taken using archery or spear: Brook, brown, bull, cutthroat, golden, lake (Mackinaw), rainbow (including steelhead), splake and Sunapee trout; trout hybrids; Chinook, coho, Atlantic, and kokanee (blueback) salmon; grayling; whitefish; cisco; crappie; perch; bass; catfish; bullhead; sunfish; sturgeon; northern pike; tiger muskie; walleye and sauger; and burbot (Ling). Bullfrogs and crayfish are also defined as game fish.
Nongame Fish: Any fish not specifically defined as a “game fish.” may be taken using archery or spear equipment.  Except protected nongame fish (Shoshone, Wood River, and Bear Lake sculpin, sand roller, northern leatherside chub, bluehead sucker and Pacific lamprey) may not be taken by fishing or archery or spear equipment.

answered 3/18/2014

Q: I have a lot of questions about Billingsley Creek

I am an adventurer who has lived in Hagerman for 6 years and have been a frequent visitor for 12. And where the Hagerman Valley has an abundance of sporting opportunities I continue to hear from the locals, Billingsley used to be a spectacular fishery. Some call it "little Silver Creek". Now I fish it regularly and I can attest that there are fish in some stretches that are every bit of 30 lbs and 15 lbs. but of course these are rare. Also I can say what few fish are left are incredibly healthy, active, and strong.
That all being said I am wondering the following:
1. The most bountiful population of the creek being below highway 30, is there a public easement to this section of the creek? If so where?
2. Has something had an impact on the population of both rainbow and brown trout between highway 30 up creek to 1050 East? Dams built? Creek Bottom Dredged? Is there or has there ever been stocking and if so has it ceased?
3. The "middle section" 1050 East up creek to Tupper Grade is a solid stretch. I would expect to see greater numbers of fish based on insect biology, constant flow and temp etc. however this is a great stretch.
4. The upper section between Tupper and Vader Grade. This is an excellent section and well populated. Can I walk and wade this section? I have heard it is not public access up to the high water mark, True or Myth?
5. I have permission to fish the upper section however this is tough due to overgrowth so no report here yet.
I would love to somehow restore Billingsley to the glory days but i just don't know where to start. Any plans to restore? Could you point me in the right direction to assist?


You have a lot of great questions!  Please contact the Magic Valley Region office to talk to the Fisheries Department there about your questions.  The number is 208-324-4359.  

answered 3/18/2014

Q: Is there any sort of permit required to spearfish other than a fishing license?

I bought a new spear to spear fish but i can't find the rules for spearfishing other than you can only hunt for nongame species. Are there any specific areas where it is not permitted? I am also confused as to when I can spearfish and want to learn as much as i can before I go out and accidentally do something wrong.


No other permit is required.  More information:
Spear Fishing in IdahoArchery and Spear Fishing is defined as: Fishing with a bow and arrow, crossbow, spear or mechanical device, excluding firearms. This type of fishing is permitted only in the taking of bullfrogs and unprotected nongame fish and only in those waters during the season set for the taking of game fish. You must have an Idaho fishing license; no other permit is necessary.
Game Fish: these species, except for bullfrogs, may not be taken using archery or spear: Brook, brown, bull, cutthroat, golden, lake (Mackinaw), rainbow (including steelhead), splake and Sunapee trout; trout hybrids; Chinook, coho, Atlantic, and kokanee (blueback) salmon; grayling; whitefish; cisco; crappie; perch; bass; catfish; bullhead; sunfish; sturgeon; northern pike; tiger muskie; walleye and sauger; and burbot (Ling). Bullfrogs and crayfish are also defined as game fish.
Nongame Fish: Any fish not specifically defined as a “game fish.” may be taken using archery or spear equipment.  Except protected nongame fish (Shoshone, Wood River, and Bear Lake sculpin, sand roller, northern leatherside chub, bluehead sucker and Pacific lamprey) may not be taken by fishing or archery or spear equipment.

answered 3/17/2014


The daily bag limit for trout on C.J. Strike Reservoir is 6 fish per day.  You can keep all the yellow perch, crappie, and catfish that you can catch.

answered 3/15/2014

Q: Fishing in the Salmon area

I am going to be in the Salmon, Idaho area next fall in October for about a week. What can you tell me about stream and river fishing in that area and at that time of year? Where do recommend I consider fishing and for what species?


October can be one of the best times to fish in the Salmon Region. Steelhead are starting to show up in the Salmon River, with anglers having the best luck downstream from the town of Salmon, ID. Anglers may also catch rainbow trout, westslope cutthroat trout, bull trout, and mountain whitefish in the Salmon River. Make sure you can identify your catch, as trout harvest is limited to only adipose clipped (hatchery) rainbow trout in the Salmon River. Additionally, the Lemhi River provides an excellent rainbow trout fishery in the fall. Please contact the Salmon Region IDFG office (208-756-2271) when you are in the area for more up to date fishing information.

answered 2/28/2014

Q: Hatchery Rainbows

Do all hatchery rainbows have clipped adipose fins? I caught a couple rainbows in Lucky Peak last week and both had full adipose fins.


We don't clip the adipose fin on hatchery produced rainbow trout unless they are part of a research project.
We do clip the adipose fin on hatchery produced anadromous (ocean-going) salmon and steelhead raised in our hatchery system.  This is so anglers can distinguish them from wild chinook and steelhead.  Hatchery salmon and steelhead are not ESA listed and are availble for harvest in the sport fishery.  Wild salmon and steelhead are listed under ESA and federally protected.

answered 2/21/2014

Q: Priest Lake Fishery

In a past answer to a question regarding the future plan of the Priest Lake fishery it mentions restoring native populations of trout and kokanee. Does Idaho Fish and Game consider Kokanee a native fish to Priest Lake?


Sometimes in our zeal to manage these popular fish, we look past the fact that kokanee are a land-locked sockeye salmon and are not native to most lakes in Idaho.  The only exceptions are a couple of lakes in the Stanley Basin and Warm Lake in the South Fork Salmon River drainage that genetic testing as shown could have naturally residualized sockeye salmon as the basis for their kokanee population.
Kokanee were introduced to Priest Lake over 50 years ago.  As in most lakes and reservoirs in Idaho, their population has wildly fluctuated over the years.  We are currently in the process of trying to reduce some of the predatory influences (lake trout) in order to increase the kokanee population.

answered 2/18/2014


Yes, except when fishing for Chinook salmon (ocean-going), steelhead, or when fishing on Henrys Lake.  Just be aware, if you hook a fish and cause mortality after reaching your bag limit, you could be cited for an over-limit.

answered 1/30/2014

Q: Why can't I spearfish for trout, bass, and other game fish on north Idaho?

I would like to be able to free dive spearfish in lakes like Fernan and CDA, why is this illegal? It is more challenging than dock/ boat fishing.


Because current rules do not allow you to spear game fish.
IDAPA rule says,
Unless modified by a regional exception, the following fishing methods and restrictions are applicable in all Idaho waters. (3-20-97)
01. Archery and Spear Fishing. Fishing with the use of bow and arrow, crossbow, spear or mechanical device, excluding firearms, is permitted for the taking of bullfrogs and unprotected nongame fish, and only in those waters during the season set for the taking of game fish. (7-1-99)
In the past, when we've proposed liberalizing gaff, spearing, and archery rules, we've received little support from the angling public.  Most who have responded are concerned about spearing near docks and safety issues.  There is also concern for wounding losses of game fish from spears and archery equipment.
Early in 2015 we will be updating our fishing rules.  Please attend one of our public meeting or submit a specific proposal on spearfishing for us to scope with the public.

answered 1/23/2014


Ice fishing for Lake Trout can be great on Cavenaugh Bay, but it's not every year we get ice.  Unfortunately, there's not enough ice this year. 

answered 1/10/2014

Q: Daniels

How many jigs are you able to use at Daniels. I was told you could use as many as you like as long as it is one pole and barbless is this true?


In Daniels Reservoir, you can have up to 5 hooks per line.  So, if you are fishing with one line, you can have up to 5 jigs attached.  All must be barbless and you can still only keep 2 trout over 20".

answered 12/31/2013