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What to know before going ice fishing in Idaho

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Posted at 4:36 PM, Jan 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-05 18:38:18-05

MAGIC VALLEY, Idaho — From a drought to a mild winter start, weather conditions have made this season’s ice fishing tricky.

Some reservoirs remain fish-less after drying up.

“Some of our more popular ice fisheries in the region such as Littlewood Reservoir, Mormon Reservoir… those were so low that we had to issue fish salvages and we pretty much lost our entire fish population there,” said Joe Thiessen, Magic Valley Regional Fisheries Biologist with Idaho Fish and Game.

Despite the drought, there are still viable ice fishing options.

Fisheries showing consistent fish include Roseworth Reservoir, Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir and Magic Reservoir.

It is important to remember that fish and ice aren’t the only ingredients for a successful ice fishing trip. Safety should come first.

“If we can get some good ice early with colder temperatures it creates a good foundation and base for us for the entirety of the winter. With that said, this year that has not been the case, making it extra dangerous out there,” said Thiessen

Make sure to take precautions and be prepared.

“You want to go on slow do you want to have either a poke stick or use a pre-drill so you can take your auger for ice fishing and pre-drill holes to check the depth of ice,” said Thiessen.

Ice should be at least four inches thick for one person and should be even thicker when fishing with a group.

When taking an ATV, UTV or snowmobile out, the ice should be thicker than 8 inches. For more information on ice thickness, visit the Idaho Fish and Game website

“We encourage people to get out there and make an adventure out of it and go explore, and part of that adventure and exploring is going and checking routinely on your favorite ice fishery to look at ice conditions prior to planning a trip,” said Thiessen.

Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir still has open water in some spots. Fish Creek Reservoir north of the Magic Valley has lower water levels, however, it has upwards of eight inches of ice currently, according to Thiessen.

Every reservoir is different and conditions are continually changing. Make sure to monitor conditions closely if you are planning to ice fish.