Southeast Idaho Trout
The good trout water in southeast Idaho is mostly big water. Small stream fishing for native cutthroat can be good in the hill country along the Wyoming border but the lure of large trout concentrates most angling effort on huge lakes and good-sized rivers.
Rainbow Trout are the objective of trollers on American Falls Reservoir and Blackfoot Reservoir. They come big and plentiful on American Falls, for both boaters and bank anglers. The tailrace at American Falls Dam offers some of the most exciting trout fishing anywhere for mostly large rainbow. The Snake River from the dam all the way to Massacre Rocks is famous big fish water, mostly accessible to jetboaters. The Snake immediately above American Falls flows through the Shoshone-Bannock Reservation and holds a unique fishery, for which you need a reservation license. Blackfoot Reservoir is coming back from drought and excessive pressure; it's good now and a return to former glories will make it a don't-miss trout lake again. Smaller reservoirs such as Chesterfield and Daniels usually yield lots of rainbow, sometimes a large one. Virtually every lake, stream and reservoir does contain rainbows in this region.
Cutthroat Trout live in almost all fishable streams in the region and several lakes. They provide most of the mountain trout fishing here. Read regulations carefully: cutthroats are easily overfished and new rules are being tried to prevent that. Also, the rare Bonneville strain is found only here, so protection is necessary. Bear Lake anglers fish for unusually large cutthroat. A few wild cutthroat still live in the Snake River, though former numbers have been cut by river development and competition. Most of the Blackfoot River and Portneuf River drainages hold cutthroat.
Lake Trout bring most of the angling effort seen on Bear Lake. It is the only place in the region with lake trout but, with 70,000 surface acres, who needs more room to roam for lakers?
Brook Trout can be found in a few places in Snake River tributaries and in the Bear River but they do not provide an important fishery here.
Brown Trout are not common in the region but are planted in Chesterfield Reservoir and the Bear River. They occur as wild fish in the Snake, Bear River and Portneuf River. One place no brown trout enthusiast can afford to miss is the tailrace at American Falls. Do 17-pound browns interest you?
For more information about the southest region of Idaho, visit our Southeast Idaho Information Page, or our Southeast Idaho Services and Accommodations Page.