Summer in Idaho is ideal for getting your fill of the outdoors. And there’s nothing quite like heading out at dawn or dusk for a bit of fishing, where you can enjoy the peace and quiet of one of our beautiful lakes or streams and fall into the soothing rhythm of casting, reeling, and, hopefully, catching a fish or two.
Luckily, if you live in the Boise area, there are countless fishing holes inside the city limits and within a short drive. On the weekends, you can head a bit farther afield to really surround yourself with nature. It’s the best of both worlds.
Let’s take a look at some of the best spots to cast a line in and around Boise.
Esther Simplot Pond
Located right here in Boise, this popular fishing hole is part of a spacious, lively park, making it perfect for a family outing, maybe with a picnic and a little time at the water’s edge. The pond is well stocked with big bass and trout.
Just a few minutes from Boise proper in Meridian, Kleiner Park provides lots of room for fishing, with a large fishing platform and long stretches of shoreline. Anglers often catch trout and bass here as well.
Boise and Snake Rivers
It would take you months to fully explore all the winding waters of the Boise and Snake Rivers, both of which are rich with rainbow and brown trout. You can easily access some great fishing spots on the Boise River from the East Boise footbridge. Along the nearby sections of the Snake River, Marsing Pond is set in a quiet park and is stocked with bluegill, channel catfish, largemouth bass, and rainbow trout.
Farther south on the Snake River, the Swan Falls hydroelectric dam creates two fantastic fishing spots that make the drive worthwhile. Above the dam, the deep reservoir is perfect for boating and yields a lot of success with smallmouth bass. Below the dam, the terrain is better suited for exploring on foot. Anglers have reported catching a wide variety of species here, ranging from large sturgeon to perch and rainbow trout.
South Fork Boise River
About an hour outside of Boise, these shallow, meandering waters create ideal fly-fishing conditions. The occasional deeper pool and pond are also well suited for lure fishing for big trout. The South Fork is well known for rainbow trout that exceed 20 inches, so it’s popular for anglers seeking new personal bests.
Crane Falls Lake and Cove Arm Lake
Just south of Mountain Home, about an hour outside of Boise, these neighboring lakes create the ideal location for a relaxing day or weekend of great fishing. Crane Falls boasts lots of bluegill and pumpkinseed sunfish, as well as huge bass. And although power motors aren’t allowed, the lake is perfect for canoeing and kayaking. Nearby, Cove Arm has a broader variety of species, including perch, bluegill, crappie, catfish, and smallmouth and largemouth bass. Cove Arm does allow motors, so this is a good chance to enjoy fishing from your boat or from the shore. There’s even a narrow channel that connects to the Snake River, so you can explore a bit of everything in one day.
Although this excursion requires a bit more of a drive—typically about 2.5 hours from Boise—many local anglers feel it’s well worth it. Hells Canyon is widely regarded as one of the nation’s top recreation areas, and the fishing is second to none. The park includes a variety of fishing opportunities: You can hike in and fish from the shore, boat along the Snake River, or even join a guided fishing expedition. White sturgeon, bass, trout, chinook salmon, and steelhead are just some of the diverse species you may encounter in these wild, beautiful waterways.
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