When the weather starts to cool and snow begins to fall, anglers in Idaho get excited. Why? Because ice fishing is right around the corner, and few places in the U.S. can match the ice fishing opportunities Idaho has to offer. 

At the Rocky Mountain Elk Ranch, we love ice fishing, and we highly suggest you give it a try the next time you visit Idaho during the winter. To help get you started, we’ve created the ultimate Idaho ice fishing guide. 

Idaho Ice Fishing: The Rules

Before you head to the nearest lake and get ready to drop a line, there are a few things you should know. First, just like regular fishing, a fishing license is required for anglers 14 and up. There are also ice fishing rules you need to follow:

  • Anglers can only fish with up to five poles or lines
  • Fishing is only allowed through a hole up to 10 inches in diameter
  • The statewide trout limit is six per angler per day
  • Anglers who leave an ice fishing structure and leave it overnight unattended must have the owner’s name, telephone number, and address on two opposing sides

What You’ll Need

Now that you know the rules of ice fishing in Idaho, it’s time to make sure you have the right gear. First things first, you’ll want to dress warm; you won’t be fishing for long in the freezing weather without a warm jacket, hat, and gloves.

Next, you’ll need a rod, line, and reel. But you can’t start ice fishing without a hole. Sure, you could create a hole with a shovel or pickax, but that’s a lot of work. Most ice fishing anglers use an ice auger. Manual augers are more work but also more cost-effective, especially if you’re just trying ice fishing for the first time. You’ll also want a slotted ladle to keep your holes free of ice.

An optional item is an ice fishing structure or ice house. These structures can help protect you against the elements and make the ice fishing experience more enjoyable. However, this item isn’t necessary. 

Where to Go Ice Fishing in Idaho

Now, you’re finally ready to start catching some fish. We have a couple of favorite spots not too far from the ranch to recommend.

Henrys Lake is a whopping 6,078 acres, giving you plenty of space to fish. This lake is a great spot to catch trout. Cutthroat trout, brook trout, and cutbow are all in ample supply here. Keep in mind, fishing at Henry Lake closes on January 2.

Another one of our favorite Idaho ice fishing locations is Ririe Reservoir. Here, anglers find trout, kokanee, bass, perch, and walleye. During ice fishing season, you’re likely to bag at least one kokanee and likely more. 

Of course, these are just a few of the many great ice fishing destinations in Idaho. For more ideas on where to go ice fishing in Idaho, Idaho Fish and Game has put together an extensive list.

Rocky Mountain Elk Ranch, near some of the best spots for ice fishing in IdahoHave an Outdoor Adventure at Our Idaho Elk Ranch

If you’re interested in ice fishing, you’re probably interested in hunting, hiking, and the other great outdoor activities that Idaho has to offer. At Rocky Mountain Elk Ranch, you can participate in all of those activities not far from the ranch. We offer comfortable lodging, as well as success-guaranteed elk hunts at our Idaho ranch. For more information, please give us a call at 208-351-7301.