Fishing Regulations in Idaho

In the state of Idaho, people who enjoy fishing and want to indulge in their passion can find plenty of opportunities to do so. There are approximately 26.000 miles of stream and river and 3.000 natural lakes to choose from.

All you have to do is adhere to the regulations established by the Department of Fish and Game. The regulations cover the regional fishing season, fish species and bag limits, as well as fishing equipment and techniques, among other things.



License to fish

People who are 14 years of age or older must have a valid fishing license, and they must have the license with them at all times when they are out fishing. Under-14-year-olds can obtain a two-pole fishing permit and set their own daily bag limit for themselves.

Almost all of them can be obtained from the regional offices or vendors. As a resident, you can even obtain a lifetime license certificate, which means that you only have to pay for the tags and permits that are required.


Regions and seasons

There are some distinctions that matter among the regions, even though the rules are roughly the same in all of them. In addition to the differences in the environment, fish species, and fishing conditions that exist throughout the state, there are also differences in the types of game that hunters look for.

Idaho has seven fish and game regions: the Panhandle region, the Clearwater region, the Southwest region, the Magic Valley region, the Southeast region, the Upper Snake region, and the Salmon region. The Clearwater region is the most northern of the seven regions.

It is possible to fish in the waters throughout the year, with the exception of when you are fishing for steelhead or salmon. You’ll need a permit for this, and there are two seasons to consider: the spring season and the fall season.

Depending on the region, the steelhead spring season can last from January to April or may last longer. Salmon River fishing season ends at the beginning of April, but it continues until the end of May on some sections of the Snake River and Boise River, depending on the location.

The fall fishing season begins with a catch-and-release period that lasts until the end of August, marking the beginning of the fishing season. The Clearwater River’s main stem, Middle Fork, and South Fork are the only exceptions, as the catch-and-release period is in effect until the 14th of October on these rivers. On December 31st, the fall season will have officially come to an end.


Daily bag

The bag limit refers to the maximum number of fish that can be harvested in a single day by a single person. If you exceed the legal limit, you are engaging in illegal fishing. It varies depending on the region, the fish species, and the time of year.

In any of them, you are free to catch as many bullfrogs and crayfish as you want, as there is no bag limit on either of these species. You can also catch up to 25 whitefish and brook trout per day if you work hard.

You can also reap the benefits of a plentiful catch of largemouth or smallmouth bass fish. You can keep six bass fish per day if you have one that is under 12 inches in length and you are in the Southwest region or the Magic Valley, you can keep seven. A 14-inch minimum height and width restriction applies to the Southeast region.

Brook trout (25 fish per day on average), kokanee (between 6 and 25 fish per day depending on the area), tiger muskie (2), walleye (6), and Cisco (30 fish per day), a species that can only be found in Bear Lake, are also available. As both the bull trout and the sturgeon species are subject to the catch-and-release regulation, it is critical that they are correctly identified.

While the possession limit for steelhead is nine, and the daily harvest limit is three, the total number of fish you can catch for the season is twenty per person and per day.

You should pay close attention to the area in which you intend to go fishing because there are specific regulations for certain waters and fish species that you should be aware of. For chinook salmon, for example, daily limits and possession are different depending on where you are on the river. There are approximately 250 special rule waters in Idaho, each with its own set of restrictions.