Editor’s Note: This is the first of two articles about ice fishing in the Magic Valley.

Stephen Mcsweeney/ThinkStock

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – With spring approaching within a matter of weeks, there’s not a lot of time left this season to do much ice fishing. Take advantage of the cold weather while you can: there are still some opportunities to use your auger before temperatures rise.

Currently, ice fishing at Magic Valley fisheries is doing moderately well, according to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, with the best angler success happening at two of the area’s reservoirs – Salmons Falls Creek Reservoir and Magic Reservoir.

“We had a cold snap but then we didn’t get cold enough to make safe ice (at some fisheries),” said Doug Megargle, regional fisheries manager. “Many reservoirs have been pretty low.”

Still, other places you can try dangling a worm include Lake Walcott, Little Wood Reservoir, Oakley Reservoir and Roseworth Reservoir (also known as Cedar Creek Reservoir), he said.

A lot of anglers are catching trout, but perch have been biting too – the larger ones, often between 12 and 13 inches long, are being caught at Salmon Falls. Anglers are finding success using jigs, mealworms, night crawlers and cut bait – usually the belly fat off a dead fish.

Reese Widmier, manager at Sportsman Warehouse in Twin Falls, said ice augers and other ice-fishing gear have sold well at the store this season, but he’s starting to see it slow down a bit. People are starting to make purchasing decisions with warmer weather in mind.

Photo courtesy of Idaho Department of Fish and Game
Anglers enjoy a day of ice fishing at Salmon Falls Reservoir, one of the valley's fisheries where sportsmen are having some luck catching perch and rainbow trout.

For those who want to still get on the ice this season, usually the best time to catch fish is at or before sunrise to mid-morning. However, Megargle said, every day can vary and success is dependent on conditions at the fishery. The main thing is to make sure you have the right equipment and knowledge to stay safe on the ice.

It’s recommended that there be at least 4 inches of clear ice before venturing out, and between 10 to 12 inches of clear ice before you consider taking a vehicle onto it. Clear ice is strongest.

Going onto murky-colored ice is a chance you’re taking at your own risk.

“There could be soft spots that won’t hold you,” he said.

 

The second article in this series, which will be published Friday, will discuss ice safety.