Southwestern Idaho Trout
Despite being about half arid and containing the largest metropolitan area in Idaho, the southwest offers a surprising diversity of high quality trout fishing. The northern portion of the region yields mountain lake and stream fishing while large rivers and reservoirs to the south provide generally larger trout.
Rainbow trout thrive throughout the region. Cascade Lake near McCall draws the heaviest use of any trout lake in the state but continues to produce well with best fishing through the ice and especially at "ice-out" in the spring. Numerous small mountain lakes around McCall also hold rainbow. The South Fork of the Boise River below Anderson Ranch Dam delights flyfishers with nearly year-round hatches and well-fed rainbows. Brownlee Reservoir and C.J. Strike Reservoir trout fishing slows in summer but can be rewarding in cooler months. The Boise River as it flows through the state capitol offers a unique urban fishery. Famous among flyfishers for its wild browns, the river is planted with rainbows that attain some real size. Lucky Peak and Arrowrock Reservoirs on the Boise River minutes from downtown Boise are popular rainbow fisheries. Duck Valley Reservation lakes teem with aquatic life that feeds football-shaped rainbows. (Reservation rules and fees apply.) The rare redband trout, perhaps the granddaddy of all rainbows, can be found in some small desert streams but anglers will have to discover those places on their own because we're not going to help. We have to keep a few secret haunts to ourselves.
Cutthroat Trout have relatively little place or importance in this part of the state.
Brown Trout inhabit the Boise River from Lucky Peak downstream to about Middleton. One of the best browns ever caught in Idaho came from the Boise River in the shadow of corporate headquarters towers.
Lake Trout can be found in two lakes here--Payette Lake and Warm Lake. Lakers must be more than 36 inches to be kept on Payette Lake.
Brook Trout generally do not offer much in size but they are abundant in lakes and streams around McCall and in most of the headwater streams in the mountains of this region. In most waters where they exist, brook trout populations are too dense for their own good--eat 'em.
Wild Trout management applies on many streams in the southwest, so check rules carefully before fishing.
For more information about the southwest region of Idaho, visit our Southwest Idaho Information Page, or our
Southwest Idaho Services and Accommodations Page.