Where to go fishing for the Fourth of July holiday and beyond?

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We’re not sure how the Fourth of July became the main event of the summer, and yet here it is: a holiday of explosions, barbecue and family-friendly entertainment. We’re not exactly complaining. Unfortunately, since it is such a popular holiday, the most sought-after destinations — think an excellent time to go fishing, and Fish and Game wants to help anglers find places to fish.

But that doesn’t have to be the case. We rounded up a few spots where you can get the best of what the country has to offer for Fourth of July entertainment along with ideas on how to save some money along the way. That said, Fourth of July weekend is the typical kick-off for high country fishing, which is a great opportunity to get out and explore the backcountry. Here are 5 great places to go fishing on Fourth of July weekend

1.Panhandle Region


Elsie Lake The lake provides a high mountain experience that can be visited as a day trip from Coeur d’Alene, but camping is recommended if you have the time. Over 1,200 10 to 12-inch rainbow trout are being stocked in June and temperatures should remain cool enough at this elevation to keep the fish biting and near the surface.

Bull Moose Lake This family fishing pond is on the east side of Priest Lake, north of Coolin. Easily accessible and stocked early summer, Bull Moose is a great spot to get kids catching fish before tackling the big waters of Priest Lake. And with the new State Park Fishing Equipment Loaner Program offered in conjunction with Idaho Parks and Recreation, anglers can borrow fishing gear at the nearby Indian Creek Visitor’s Center. Licenses can also be purchased from the visitor’s center for all anglers 14 years of age and over. 

2.Clearwater Region

North Fork Clearwater River This river has a variety of species, but is best known for its spectacular cutthroat trout fishing that reside in its deep pools. The North Fork provides some of the best dry fly fishing for cutthroat trout in the state. From Lewiston, it takes a little over two hours to get to the Aquarius Campground as you head west up Highway 12 through Orofino. Aquarius Campground hosts a nice beach, running water, picnic benches, and beautiful campsites near the river.
Lochsa River This river is a 70-mile-long tributary of the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River in the Clearwater National Forest. It begins in the Selway Bitterroot Mountains and flows to Lowell, Idaho where it joins the Selway River to form the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River. The Lochsa River has a good population of westslope cutthroat trout along with some rainbows, and mountain whitefish.

3.Southwest Region

angler with his chinook at Deadwood Reservoir August 2006

Arrowrock Reservoir Fish and Game stocked this reservoir, about an hour east of Boise, with 10,000 catchable-sized trout in April. Bank anglers using bait can catch trout in the 16-inch range, and there’s easy vehicle access to the shoreline along the reservoir. For boat anglers, kokanee fishing at Arrowrock is really starting to pick up. As the weather warms, down riggers will be needed to reach kokanee at greater depths.

South Fork Boise River If you’re looking for quality rainbow trout and whitefish, the South Fork of the Boise River is a good place to start. It’s typically a float trip because bank and wading access is limited, but this “blue-ribbon” water is full of big rainbow trout and a favorite destination for fly anglers. There is plenty of camping available in designated areas, but if you’re looking for plush campgrounds with reservations, flush toilets, paved parking pads, water spigots and other facilities, you won’t find them on the South Fork.

4.McCall Subregion

Horsethief Reservoir This reservoir is wholly owned by Idaho Department of Fish and Game, so it’s well stocked with trout and very angler friendly. The dam provides excellent shoreline fishing and there’s also a boat launch. The reservoir is 258 acres and suitable for all types of small craft, so you can kick the shoreline with a float tube or troll across the middle in a motorboat. Horsethief was stocked with more than 20,000 rainbows in the fall of 2018, many of which were likely caught during ice fishing season, but it should have plenty of hold overs as well, and it typically gets weekly stocking of rainbow trout during spring, summer and early fall, and there are occasional brown trout as well. The campgrounds will be open for Fourth of July weekend. 

Lost Valley Reservoir This reservoir is like a hybrid between a mountain lake and a lowland reservoir. It’s tucked away in the trees and has a secluded feel, but it’s easily accessible and within short drive of U.S. 95 near the small town of Tamarack south of New Meadows (not to be confused with Tamarack Resort near Donnelly). The reservoir has been stocked with about 14,000 rainbow trout since June, and it also has a resident brook trout population. There’s good camping around the reservoir at a Forest Service campground and also in undeveloped areas. 

5.Magic Valley Region

Silver Creek This classic spring creek is a mecca for anglers wanting to ply their skills against the creek’s wily rainbow and brown trout. The creek has many access points, but the Nature Conservancy Preserve west of Picabo is one of the favorites and among the picturesque setting for trout anglers. The stream’s abundant and predictable insect hatches frequently bring trout to surface, but these fish have grown up with real and artificial flies drifting over their heads and learn to separate the real from the imitators.

Oakley Reservoir The reservoir received 26,000 rainbow trout last year, and it has a reputation for fast-growing fish. Last year’s hold overs and this year’s stocking of 12-inch rainbows should provide good fishing for shore anglers and trollers and a nice mix of sizes. The reservoir also has walleye fishing that typically gets going in later in spring.

Hopefully, after reading this article you can choose the best places to go fishing on Fourth of July holiday

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