When people think of Idaho, they typically think of potatoes, scenic mountains, and fly fishing for trout.
Beyond that, it’s also one of the best-kept secrets in bass fishing. Idaho is home to beautiful bodies of water and several healthy bass fisheries.
Each body of water holds a variety of fish, from crappie to bass. Each year, multiple double-digit bass are plucked from these waters.
Whether you’re throwing jigs, crankbaits, or spinnerbaits, be sure to check out the spots below, which feature the best Idaho bass fishing in the state.
Going fishing in Idaho? Then give a read to our Idaho Fishing License guide.
Table of Contents
1. Snake River
The Snake River is one of the most substantial rivers on the west coast and is the largest tributary of the Columbia river.
The Snake feeds many of the hottest bass fishing spots in the state, including the Brownlee, Oxbow, and Hell’s Canyon reservoirs.
The Snake River branches off from the Columbia River in Washington, just north of the Washington-Oregon border.
As it enters Idaho, the Snake winds its way along the Oregon-Idaho border. The river enters central Idaho around Homedale and Nampa before reaching the Palisades Reservoir and winding its way into Wyoming.
The Snake river is arguably the most varied and fertile spot for Idaho bass fishing. There are excellent spots to fish throughout the river, with several banks and coves, multiple access points, and many boat docks.
The Snake River is one of the best locations in the state for targeting smallmouth.
Smallmouth fishing is best from spring through early fall, and the best bass fishing on the river is typically found in and around the reservoirs.
The River also provides ample opportunities to target other species, with sturgeon, rainbow and brown trout, and steelhead especially plentiful in the area.
2. Brownlee Reservoir
If there’s one must-hit spot along the Snake River, it’s Brownlee Reservoir.
The Brownlee is a favorite spot of local anglers, and it’s also a premier destination for anglers from the world over who are hoping to target some of the monsters that spend their time in and around the reservoir.
The Brownlee Reservoir is located along the Oregon-Idaho border, just north of Payette. The reservoir spans 50 miles of the river and provides anglers with 11,000 acres of open water to fish.
Beyond the fact that it’s a known bass hot spot, Brownlee is also home to rainbow trout, flathead and bullhead catfish, black and white crappie, and various sucker and dace species.
The area offers 190 miles of shoreline, but most of it is difficult or impossible to traverse on foot, thanks to its mountainous terrain and lack of paved roads.
Fortunately, IDFG manages several access points for anglers to make use of.
Steck Park and Woodhead Park are the best places to access the reservoir on the Idaho side of the border, while Farewell Bend and Spring Ramp are the best access points on the Oregon side.
3. Anderson Lake
Anderson Lake is one of Idaho’s most popular fishing destinations, primarily because it holds plenty of monsters.
The state record largemouth was caught in these waters and tipped the scales at nearly 11 pounds.
Anderson Ranch reservoir is in the state’s panhandle region, and the Coeur D’Alene River borders it.
The lake offers 541 fishable acres and is home to a broad range of fish that local anglers love targeting.
At Anderson Lake, you’ll find large and smallmouth bass, sunfish, pike, perch, and white crappie.
There’s boat ramp access off Highway 97, but there aren’t many fishable access points to these waters for fishing from shore.
4. Dworshak Reservoir
This vast reservoir in Idaho’s Clearwater region is one of the best destinations in the state for rainbow trout, and it’s also an excellent spot for smallmouth bass fishing.
The reservoir is on the Clearwater River’s north fork and spans 55 miles. At over 16,000 acres, it’s one of the largest bodies of water in the state.
The Dworshak Reservoir housed the state-record smallmouth, weighing in at 9.7 pounds.
While the area is a popular three-season fishing destination, the smallmouth bite tends to be best in springtime. Once the water reaches north of 50 degrees, smallies emerge to feed voraciously.
Fishing here in the spring presents your best opportunity to land your trophy.
Each year, the reservoir is aggressively stocked with rainbow trout, while bull, cutthroat, and kokanee throat are native to the area.
The kokanee run in the reservoir is the stuff of legend, and it offers anglers plenty of opportunities to fight monster fish well into Autumn.
5. C.J. Strike Reservoir
For the angler who has trouble deciding what to fish for, the C.J. Strike Reservoir could be your perfect destination.
Here, you’ll find virtually every fish worth angling for in Idaho.
This vast reservoir spans two different counties and offers nearly 7,000 acres of fishable water.
The reservoir provides a mixed bag of fishing, and you’ll find everything from sunfish to large and smallmouth bass, perch, whitefish, rainbow trout, and countless other species.
You’re virtually guaranteed a fun day on the water when you fish here. Even if your target species isn’t biting, you can always find willing participants from various species.
This body of water also offers several access points for boaters and anglers on shore alike.
Fishing access is possible at the C.J. Strike Wildlife Area access point, and there are boat launch points below the Mountain Home air base, the Bruneau arm, Cottonwood and BLM campgrounds, and the Black Sands Resort.
6. Lake Lowell
Lake Lowell is located in the Nampa subregion in Canyon County, about a half-hour west of the Boise river.
This expansive reservoir lake offers solid fishing for various species.
The lake offers 28 miles of shoreline and nearly 10,000 acres of fishable waters that hold large and smallmouth bass, sunfish, carp, and catfish.
This area is especially popular with local anglers during open boating season for the lake, which runs from mid-April through the end of September.
During this time, anglers have a shot at plenty of monster bass.
The lake also offers some of the best fishing for channel catfish in the state and fair-to-good pan fishing.
On the lake’s north shore, anglers have access to two county parks that offer boat launch points and opportunities to fish from shore.
The Idaho Fish and Game commission manages smaller access points on the south shore.
7. American Falls Reservoir
You’ll find excellent fishing at the American Falls Reservoir in the state’s Southeast region.
It’s one of the larger reservoirs in the state at nearly 56,000 acres and provides 100 miles of shoreline.
American Falls has no motor restriction, plenty of access points, and several drop points for boaters.
For large and smallmouth bass, American Falls is a favorite spot for locals and tourists.
These waters are also stocked yearly with rainbow trout, and it’s a solid spot for cutthroat and brown trout.
8. Lake Pend Oreille
Lake Pend Oreille is the largest lake in Idaho and one of the deepest in the country.
Glaciers carved this lake, providing one of the most picturesque views of the mountains.
The lake is 92,000 acres and nearly 1,200 feet at its deepest point.
The fishing here is plentiful year-round, with the locals taking to the lake in the winter for ice fishing.
The lake is incredibly well known among trout anglers, and several state record fish have come from these waters.
Lake Pend Oreille also holds large and smallmouth bass, pike, catfish, and crappie in bountiful numbers.
Frequently Asked Questions
When anglers are preparing to fish for bass in Idaho, they typically have a few related questions. We’ve rounded up the answers in one spot to make your search for info easier.
Does Idaho have good bass fishing?
Yes, Idaho has good bass fishing.
It is home to some of the best bass fishing in the country, boasting about twenty lakes teeming with big bass.
Idaho is known for its “Great Lakes,” which are among the largest in the country, and each one offers you an opportunity to catch a trophy bass.
What is the best month to go bass fishing in Idaho?
The best months to go bass fishing in Idaho are April and May during the spawn.
The bass in Idaho come in waves.
In April, you begin to see some nice-sized bass showing up throughout the lower altitudes of the state.
By June, bass fishing is in full swing.
Are bass native to Idaho?
No smallmouth nor largemouth bass are native to Idaho; these fish were introduced into the Idaho ecosystem decades ago to provide eager anglers with another game fish to target.
While bass aren’t native to Idaho, the state is home to some of the best bass fishing in the country.
From the Dworshak Reservoir to Snake River, Hells Canyon, and everywhere in between, Idaho bass are prevalent throughout the state’s bass fisheries.
Every body of water holds a potential state record fish, with bass anglers regularly reeling in fish north of 10 pounds.
Whether you’re planning your first Idaho bass fishing trip or are a seasoned veteran, check out the waterways above as you plan your next trip, and you’ll always have a shot at landing a trophy.
Let us know where you plan to visit first in the comment section!