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10 best summer fishing destinations in Southeast Idaho

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During the middle of the summer, the heat can sometimes squelch fishing fun in Southeast Idaho. But there are quite a few places that are fishing well right now despite the July heat.

Bear Lake: Known for its turquoise blue water, Bear Lake in the southeastern corner of the state has been one of the best fishing spots of the year so far. You will need a boat and a tackle box of silver spoons or Rapalas to get the job done. Troll between 35-55 feet for lake trout and cutthroats. Trout limit is two; only those cutthroat trout with a clipped adipose fin, as evidenced by a healed scar, may be kept. If it is possible to get tired of fishing, Bear Lake’s beaches are perfect for building sandcastles, wading, swimming, paddle boarding and so much more. Or, leave some time to explore the beautiful Bear Lake National Refuge. 

Montpelier Reservoir: Located approximately 8 miles up Montpelier Canyon on Highway 89, east of Montpelier, this reservoir is a higher elevation fishery. Enjoy the cooler temperatures as you fish for plentiful perch from shore or from your boat (electric motors only).

Oneida Narrows Reservoir: This reservoir may be known for its walleye, but go there now for the smallmouth bass fishing. It has been very good as of late. Bass limit is six, any size. The reservoir is about 18 miles northeast of Preston. Redpoint Campground (managed by Bureau of Land Management) is located below the dam.

Upper Kelly Park Pond: This is a wonderful fishery for kids. Operated by the city of Soda Springs, this pond is stocked well with rainbow trout and other fish all summer long. Only youth 13 and under are allowed to fish, and those 8 and under must be accompanied by an adult. There is a fairly easy 1/4-mile hike to the upper pond from the parking lot at Kelly Park. The lower pond at the park is not stocked with fish. Worms, lures and marshmallows are almost always a hit with the rainbows. For fly rods, try beadheads, leeches and wooly buggers; grasshoppers and other dry flies for when the trout are feeding at the surface.

Bannock Reservoir (Portneuf Wellness Complex): Fishing has been decent at the Bannock Reservoir despite the heat this summer. The reservoir is nearly 30 feet deep and provides cool refuge for trout. It is stocked every two weeks and is best fished in the early morning and evening hours.

Edson Fichter Pond: Success at Edson Fichter tends to drop during the middle of the summer due to warm water temps, therefore, Fish and Game does not stock Edson Fichter this time of year. The last time trout were put in this pond was the end of June. Anglers can still dunk a worm or wet a fly in this pond, but just note that the best success will be in early morning or evening, and it won’t really get good again until the end of the summer. Remember, the Edson Fichter Nature Area is closed for a few days starting July 18 to install an asphalt trail.

Streams: Some of the streams to consider in Southeast Idaho include Cub River, St. Charles Creek, Montpelier Creek and Eightmile Creek. All offer high probabilities of catching fish. Just be sure to carry bug spray — the mosquitoes apparently like spending time at these waters, too.

Want to know if your favorite fishery has been stocked recently? Fish stocking information can be found at idfg.idaho.gov/fish/stocking. If you just want to learn more about a fishery, check out the Idaho Fishing Planner at the bottom of Fish and Game’s home page at idfg.idaho.gov.

Jennifer Jackson is the regional conservation educator for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Southeast Region.

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