Idaho Fishing Regulations and Rules

Fishing in the state of Idaho is a blast. With 26,000 miles of river and ~3,000 natural lakes, Idaho offers some of the best fly fishing and lake fishing in the United States. Although Idaho is a great state for fishing, it is important to follow the Idaho Fishing Regulations and Rules. Not complying with the regulations in Idaho can result in large fines, suspended licenses, and more. 

What you need in order to fish in the state of Idaho:

Fishing Season

There are many different places to fish in Idaho. Idaho fishing is generally split into 8 regions.

Each region has its own fishing regulations, but most regions offer a year round fishing season (except salmon and steelhead). There are two season for steelhead and salmon; one in the spring and one in the fall. 

In most regions, the steelhead spring season starts in January and extends until April/May. The salmon fall season generally runs from August to late fall. 

The streams and lakes in Idaho change with the seasons. Fly fishing is common in the rivers during the summer. Ice fishing is common on the lakes during the winter. To learn more about the specific seasons offered in each fishing locations within Idaho, visit Idaho.gov.

License, Tags, and Permit Requirements

A license/permit is required to have in order to enjoy fishing in the Idaho waters. The best way to get a license, tag, or permit is to visit an official Idaho Fish and Game office, call the following number: 1-800-554-8685, or visit this link.  

License Cost

The cost for a phone purchase is 3% of the original transaction cost plus an additional $5.50. The cost for an online purchase is 3% of the original transaction cost plus an additional $3.50. 

The majority of Idaho Licenses (with the exception of Salmon and Steelhead) come on sale on December 1st and stay valid for a full calendar year. 

Costs for licenses in Idaho:

Combo Hunting and Fishing License (1-Year): $240

Combo Hunting and Fishing License (3-Year): $716.50

Fishing License (1-Year): $98.25

Fishing License (3-Year): $291.25

Daily Fishing License: $15.00

Three Day Salmon/Steelhead License: $37.50

Junior Fishing (1-Year): $21.75

Junior Fishing (3-Year): $61.75

Fish Limits

  • Brook trout - 25 fish a day general rule
  • Kokanee - 6 and 25 a day 
  • Tiger muskie - 2 a day 
  • Walleye - 6 a day
  • Bull trout and Sturgeon - Catch-and-release
  • Steelhead (during season)- daily harvest is 3, possession limit 9, yearly max 20. 

Regions to Fish in Idaho

Idaho is split into 8 different regions for fishing. Here are the fishing regions: 

  • Panhandle Region 
  • Clearwater Region
  • Southwest Region
  • Magic Valley Region
  • Silver Creek Fishing Map
  • Southeast Region
  • Upper Snake Region
  • Salmon Region


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