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Low Water Levels Could Make Ice Fishing Tough This Winter
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Monday, December 27, 2021
 

STORY BY TERRY THOMPSON

With December nearly wrapped up, temperatures are finally consistently cold enough to start thinking about ice fishing in the Magic Valley.

Be sure to check the ice thickness before spending a day on the ice

Magic Reservoir: yellow perch, rainbow trout, brown trout, smallmouth bass

Entering winter with low water conditions for the second consecutive year has once again limited the fishing primarily to the area near the dam. However, there are fish in the reservoir and we have received several good reports of late. Anglers are catching trout in the 14-16 inch range, with variable ice conditions ranging from open water to 4 inches near the dam. It is best to access Magic Reservoir through the township of West Magic, but watch weather patterns, as the road is not plowed consistently.

Dog Creek Reservoir: rainbow trout, bluegill, bass, yellow perch

A popular summer time fishery, Dog Creek Reservoir is drawn down to minimum pool during winter months, which can concentrate fish and make fishing really good! Dog Creek Reservoir was stocked with trout leading up to the 2021 - 2022 winter fishing season, but most of the ice fishing focuses on bluegill, with the occasional catfish, and perch being caught. Because of the fisheries popularity it is best to focus effort towards the early part of the season, if there is safe ice. Dog Creek Reservoir is accessed by heading northwest of the town of Gooding. As of late December no ice has formed yet, so we’ll have to see what 2022 brings.

Carey Lake: yellow perch, bluegill, bass

The serge of 8-9 inch perch seen by anglers last winter appears to be past. Although ice conditions are favorable, current catch rates and water levels are low. Carey Lake is located east of the town of Carey, with a parking lot and bathroom on the west side of the property. Ice thickness is currently 6-8 inches.

Mormon Reservoir: rainbow trout, yellow perch

The fishery at Mormon Reservoir is gone, for now. The reservoir went essentially dry in the summer of 2021. Magic Valley Regional Fisheries staff are planning to rebuild the trout and perch fishery this spring, given old man winter blesses us with an adequate snow pack.

Little Wood and Fish Creek Reservoirs: rainbow and brook trout

Unfortunately, the drying trend with southern Idaho reservoirs continues with these two reservoirs. Both Little Wood and Fish Creek reservoirs went essentially dry during the 2021 summer and both fisheries were lost. Fish Creek Reservoir held a pool of water and trout within the reservoir may have survived through the summer. Magic Valley Regional Fisheries staff will be working to rebuild the trout fisheries in both reservoirs, so stay tuned for more positive updates in the near future.

Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir: rainbow trout, walleye, yellow perch

Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir is one of the last waters to freeze within the region, making it a great option for later ice fishing opportunities. Despite its popular walleye fishery, Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir is a better trout and perch ice fishery. There is currently fringe ice forming in the backwaters and bays, but it is unsafe for fishing. Keep an eye on ice conditions as they continue to change throughout the winter.

Roseworth (Cedar Creek Reservoir): rainbow trout, brook trout

Roseworth Reservoir is known for its high abundance and regular stocking of rainbow trout. Ice fishing really gets good in January. Roseworth has been referred to as the “Little Engine that could”, because it just keeps on chugging along. Anglers who put in their time usually leave with a limit of trout. You can get to Roseworth by heading west on Jarbidge Road out of the town of Rogerson, ID. There is currently a skim of ice capping the reservoir, but it is not yet fishable.

Oakley Reservoir (Lower Goose Creek): rainbow trout, walleye, yellow perch

Oakley has become a hidden gem for big trout through the ice. Despite consistent catch rates in the summer and fall, Oakley experiences very little winter fishing pressure. Usually one of the last waters to freeze, Oakley is perfect for that cabin fever trip in January. You can access Oakley Reservoir by heading south from Burley. Currently, fringe ice has formed in the backwaters; but the main body of the reservoir remains open water.

Castle Rock State Park: Castle Rock Pond was developed in 2015 and receives regular stocking of hatchery trout through the spring and fall months. Contact Castle Rock State Park for ice conditions.

Anglers are encouraged to provide fishing and ice reports from your ice-fishing adventures to the Magic Valley Regional Office by calling (208) 324-4359.

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