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Memorial Day Weekend is the Perfect Chance to Spend the Holiday at a New Fishing Destination

It’s had a big red circle around it since the first frosts of winter. Memorial Day weekend is finally upon us, and for a lot of Idahoans, the weekend leading up to May 30 marks the kickoff to fishing season. Whether you’re a first-time fisher, or a seasoned angler, Memorial Day weekend fishing offers up a whole slew of fishing opportunities across the state, and Idaho Fish and Game’s hatchery crews are stocking about 450,000 trout in May. 

Uncharted waters

With the extra day off, folks can afford to drive those extra couple of miles to seek out that new fishing spot or mountain lake they’ve had pinned atop their bucket lists all year.

For those adventurous souls who are ever seeking new off-the-beaten-path fishing spots, Idaho Fish and Game’s Fishing Planner has everything a new or intrepid angler might be searching for. This online database is an easy and efficient way to search for accessible streams, lakes and reservoirs around the state. There you can find detailed information about Idaho’s waters, stocking reports, species, facilities, maps and rules.

High gas prices got you down? 

Long-distance travel might not be in the cards this spring, so what about the homebodies who just want to fish in town all weekend? Chances are there are plenty of close-by fishing destinations right in your backyard. 

Local ponds and lakes are usually stocked by Fish and Game staff throughout parts of the year (depending on the season), but May is when fish stocking really picks up, and it’s easy to see when a fishing spot was last stocked. 

Be sure to check out Fish and Game’s fish stocking webpage to see if your local fishing hole has been paid a visit by the stocking truck lately. 

Speaking of stocking…

As temperatures rise and the days grow longer, Fish and Game staff are working hard replenishing fisheries all around the state with rainbow trout. In May alone, nearly 450,000 catchable rainbow trout will be stocked in ponds, rivers, lakes and reservoirs. 

If last spring was any indicator, Memorial Day weekend could attract a lot of folks itching to get outdoors. Lots of fish means lots of anglers. And lots of anglers can mean not a lot of easy fishing access. Remember to be courteous of other anglers and allow ample room along shorelines and boat docks. 

If you’re thinking about heading out, fisheries staff has compiled some options for places that provide excellent fishing as well as lots of campgrounds, boat ramps, day-use areas and other facilities that can accommodate a lot of folks.

This list only scratches the surface, and these are some of Idaho’s favorite waters with plenty of developed facilities. Some of these destinations favor folks who own boats, but most provide good shore access as well. 

Here are some lakes, reservoirs and local ponds that are getting lots of trout and are among the most angler friendly:

Panhandle Region

Brush Lake – 1,200 rainbow trout. A scenic lake tucked into the trees north of Bonners Ferry and favored by locals, it features a picnic area and wildlife viewing opportunities.

Fernan Lake – 6,000 rainbow trout. A popular fishing spot 10 minutes from downtown Coeur d’Alene, anglers of all abilities can enjoy fishing from floating docks, miles of shoreline, or from boats.

Jewel Lake – 2,700 rainbow trout. A peaceful lake located in a forested and picturesque rural setting. In addition to rainbow trout and channel catfish, there are lots of small bluegill that will thrill young anglers. There is a single fishing dock available.

Kelso Lake – 5,000 rainbow trout. With easy access to this quiet forested lake, you will find good fishing opportunities from a large dock. It’s a great place for a small boat, kayak or canoe along Idaho Birding Trail 14 – bring your binoculars!

Sinclair Lake – 500 rainbow trout. A small, quiet lake beside the Moyie River, this is ideal for beginning and skilled anglers to enjoy good trout fishing.

Spicer Pond – 2,000 rainbow trout. This is a small, easily accessed pond next to the St. Maries River near the town of St. Maries.

Steamboat Pond – 1,000 rainbow trout. This easily accessible pond is located next to the North Fork Coeur d’Alene River. Anglers who might find fishing the river too difficult will enjoy harvesting a few trout from this pond.

Clearwater Region

Campbells Pond – 2,000 rainbow trout. This is a scenic forest pond where anglers can expect good catch rates. There are several docks, including one handicap-accessible dock, and a developed boat ramp.

Deer Creek Reservoir – 2,100 rainbow trout. This beautiful mountain reservoir was built specifically for trout fishing. Rainbow trout are stocked in this remote setting for high catch rates from shore or a boat. Boaters, please observe the no-wake restriction. Check out this video to learn more.

Deyo Reservoir – 9,300 rainbow trout. Nestled amid farms and timber, this waterbody provides a great family fishing experience. A maintained trail surrounding the entire reservoir features seven fishing docks and two large fishing peninsulas, making it easy to find a good place to fish. There is also a developed boat ramp, picnic shelter, benches, and two handicap-accessible docks.

Elk Creek Reservoir – 2,700 rainbow trout. A forested road parallels the entire west side of this reservoir for easy access to fishing areas and has four fishing docks and a boat ramp. The east side of the reservoir provides great boat fishing opportunities where foot access is difficult.

Fenn Pond – 1,000 rainbow trout. If you visit the Selway River and are just looking for a good place to harvest some rainbows for dinner, check out this pond. It’s located next to the Selway River and offers especially good fishing. The boardwalk and fishing dock offer easy access.

Kiwanis Park Pond – 1,500 rainbow trout. This convenient community pond is located next to the Snake River in Lewiston and is within walking distance to picnic shelters and a playground. The pond is stocked with rainbow trout to maintain high catch rates for anglers.

Moose Creek Reservoir – 4,500 rainbow trout. A shallow lake in rolling timbered hills on Idaho’s Birding Trail, this reservoir is ideal for kayaks and float tubes. A trail surrounds the lake and nine fishing docks provide good shore fishing opportunities. There is a small developed boat ramp but gas motors are not allowed on this lake.

Spring Valley Reservoir – 4,200 rainbow trout. Surrounded by rolling hills and trees, there is a trail that surrounds the reservoir. In addition, fishing docks and platforms increase shoreline access. There is a developed boat ramp but gas motors are not allowed. Bring your binoculars because this is Stop 35 on the Idaho Birding Trail!