Idaho is another one of those states, like Wyoming, that unless you see it for yourself, most people assume that its very existence is a closely regarded, government secret. It is, in fact, very real, and the bass fishing there is supposedly pretty good.
There are several lakes throughout the oddly shaped state that are prime fishing spots, specifically for bass. Idaho is known for (at least in Idaho) its outdoor recreational offerings, especially where anglers are concerned.
Idaho’s lakes are renowned for their large number of smallmouth and largemouth bass. The top five bass fishing lures in Idaho are spinnerbaits, worms, jigs, crankbaits, and stickbaits.
7 Best Lakes for Bass Fishing in Idaho
Idaho is full of lakes and reservoirs, and every local angler will tell you theirs is the best for bass fishing (or any kind of fishing, for that matter). Idaho gets cold enough in the winter, ice fishing is popular as well.
1. Anderson Lake
Located on the southern end of the Boise River, Anderson Lake is about as off-the-grid as an angler can get. The roads leading out to Anderson Lake look like some early attempts made in the late 50s, before the concept of highways really took hold.
You can take a boat out, but motors are strictly prohibited. So you’ll need to get your rowing arms ready. Anderson Lake is a prime spot for largemouth bass, and anglers have the most success with jerk bait in the shallows or jigs and plastic baits in deeper water.
2. Brownlee Reservoir
This hydroelectric dam sits in the Snake River, very close to Idaho’s border with Oregon. It’s a phenomenal country, and you might spend more time staring at the magnificent eye candy rather than fishing.
Both largemouth and smallmouth bass populate the reservoir, along with a variety of other freshwater fish. The area is open to anglers all year long, but you can’t take home anything over 13 inches.
3. Dworshak Reservoir
Another dam, the Dworshak Reservoir is known as a concrete gravity dam. The area is more than a good fishing spot—it’s also a major park attraction. You’ll find just about every variety of fish you can find in Idaho, including smallmouth and largemouth bass.
There are no limits on bass size at Dworshak Reservoir, but you are limited to no more than 6 per day. You also need to be careful where you are located, as fishing is only allowed in certain areas of the park.
4. C.J. Strike Reservoir
Located in the southwest region of Idaho, C.J. Strike Reservoir is another huge reservoir with specified fishing spots. In this case, most anglers have the best luck on “Bruneau’s Arm.” You can boat on the lake, and there are several launch points throughout the area.
Since it’s open all year long, it’s a fairly popular spot for anglers seeking smallmouth and largemouth bass throughout the seasons.
5. Lake Coeur d’Alene
You might not be able to pronounce it, but it’s one of the best lakes in Idaho for largemouth bass. The lake is dam-controlled and is up to 200’ deep in some areas. Anglers report that crankbaits and rattle traps are incredibly effective in springtime.
While largemouth bass are what the lake is known for, there are smallmouth bass in the water as well.
6. Snake River
This river feeds some of the above-listed lakes and reservoirs on our list, so it stands to reason you will find largemouth and smallmouth bass here as well. Smallmouth bass are a little more prevalent in the harder-flowing currents since largemouth like to spend time scavenging the bottom in calmer waters.
7. Lower Goose Creek Reservoir
Last but not least, the Lower Goose Creek Reservoir covers 1,006 acres and is highly popular with flyfishing anglers. Largemouth bass are in abundant supply here. However, like Anderson Lake, the roads leading out to the Lower Goose Creek Reservoir are small, dirt roads.
Do you need a License
If you are over 14 years old and a resident of Idaho, you have to have a fishing license. Of course, out-of-state folks have the option of purchasing one as well, just for a much higher price.
- Three-year adult permit: $73.75
- Adult annual: $30.50
- With Price Lock: $25.75
- Daily Permit: $13.50
- 14 to 17: $16
- Resident veterans with 40% or higher disability: $575 annually
- Non-resident: $108
- Non-resident three-year: $320.50
Catch Limits and Regulations
Catch limits and regulations on smallmouth and largemouth bass fishing are predominately tied to the lake, reservoir, or river an angler is fishing on. One lake may have a limit of two bass, while another has a limit of six.
It’s the same with the length as well. Some lakes limit catches to no less than 13” while others have no limitations at all. The best way to find out what the catch limits and regulations are is at any fishing spot throughout the state, it’s best to call the state park and find out beforehand.
Smallmouth and largemouth bass fishing in Idaho is very popular throughout the state. Idaho may not top the list of states with the best bass fishing on offer, but it does pretty well with anglers in its own right.
While there are some limitations, depending on the fishing spot, it’s generally a daily limitation. So, if you make a weekend out of it, you can double up your catch for the whole trip. Besides, you’ll have just as much fun taking in the breathtaking scenery as you will catching fish, so feel free to stay an extra day.
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