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Horsethief Reservoir is a stunning reservoir just outside of Donnelly. Every year, travelers from across the Northwest venture to this area for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and of course, ice fishing. One of the most popular draws during the month of January is the Idaho Youth Outdoors Annual Youth Ice Fishing Day.

Youth getting bait from the supply station at the Idaho Youth Outdoors: 7th Annual Youth Ice Fishing Day.
Idaho Youth Outdoors: 7th Annual Youth Ice Fishing Day.

Idaho Youth Outdoors: Annual Youth Ice Fishing Day

The Idaho Youth Outdoors Annual Youth Ice Fishing Day is held on the west side of Cascade Reservoir at Poison Creek Campground or at Horsethief Reservoir every year. This year’s event will be held this weekend, January 14th, at Horsethief Reservoir between between 10 AM – 3 PM. You can find helpful hints about the event by visiting Idaho Youth Outdoors online here.

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Idaho Youth Outdoors is a non-profit organization focused on getting youth outside to enjoy Idaho and all that the wilderness has to offer.

People grabbing supplies at the Idaho Youth Outdoors: 7th Annual Youth Ice Fishing Day.
Idaho Youth Outdoors: 7th Annual Youth Ice Fishing Day.

This annual ice fishing extravaganza is an educational event that is free of charge.

A family hoping to catch some Perch at the Idaho Youth Outdoors: 7th Annual Youth Ice Fishing Day.
Two kids fishing for Perch at the Idaho Youth Outdoors: 7th Annual Youth Ice Fishing Day.

You don’t even need a fishing license to participate in this particular event! Just make sure you’re bundled up for the cold weather.

Two kids getting ready to fish at the Idaho Youth Outdoors: 7th Annual Youth Ice Fishing Day.
Two kids baiting their lines at the Idaho Youth Outdoors: 7th Annual Youth Ice Fishing Day.

Eating beforehand is recommended, but should you need a snack, there are hot dogs, bottled water, and hot chocolate for the kids. Consider bringing a sled packed with food and fishing supplies – it’s simple and requires little effort getting out onto the ice.

A family hoping to catch some Perch at the Idaho Youth Outdoors: 7th Annual Youth Ice Fishing Day.
A family hoping to catch some Perch at the Idaho Youth Outdoors: 7th Annual Youth Ice Fishing Day.

If you’ve never been ice fishing before, don’t worry! Guides are available all over the lake for the event (they’re the ones wearing orange vests) to assist you with your fishing rod, drilling holes in the ice, and answering any questions you may have.

What to Pack

  • A camera so you have proof of that monster fish!
  • Snacks and water.
  • Chairs – the ice is wet and to stay dry you can bring a chair or a bucket for each member of your group to sit on .
  • Sled – to haul all of your gear to the ice from the parking area is a good idea.
  • Rental Fishing Gear Available – Idaho Fish and Game has a limited supply of loaner rods. Bait and tackle are available as well.
  • Warm Clothes – waterproof snow boots and warm clothes are essential. Bring extra socks and boots. Hand warmers are highly recommended.
  • Ice cleats that attach to boots are also helpful, in case the ice is slick.

If you’d like to learn more about outdoor programs for kids in Idaho, visit Idaho Youth Outdoors for more information. Don’t waste any time searching for the perfect fishing hole, Southwest Idaho has perfect fishing spots for you and the kids. Be sure to share your catch by using #VisitIdaho on Instagram and Facebook. Maybe your family will be the one to haul in the record-breaking Perch!


Published on January 12, 2017