Fishing mailbag: Why aren’t anglers catching fish at Mormon Reservoir this spring?

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You can purchase a hunting or fishing license online from Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Here's how to do it.

Spring fishing season is in full swing, and my inbox has been overflowing with questions and stories from readers. So, I’m dedicating this column to a reader mailbag, starting with an exciting announcement:

It’s Time to Stop Fishing and Start Catching

I’ve been getting lots of inquiries about my next fishing class. Well, the verdict is in: “Stop Fishing, Start Catching” is set for Tuesday, June 11, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn Boise Spectrum. Designed for anglers of all ages and ability levels, this class offers an overview of Idaho’s most popular species and tips on where and how to catch them. It is going to be a great evening filled with educational tips, hands-on activities and prize giveaways, including a starter kit for each student. Participants also receive a 50% discount on a private lesson, which is a new offering for 2019. You can get all the details on classes, lessons and more at

Royal Treatment in Bhutan

Reader and master fly angler Dr. Rick Williams sent in quite a fish story from the remote Asian country of Bhutan. Williams is a biologist, conservationist and owner of The Idaho Angler in Boise. As part of his work with the Fisheries Conservation Foundation, Williams visited Bhutan to study the golden mahseer, a large freshwater fish that is one of the eight auspicious symbols of Buddhism. Using native fish conservation techniques similar to those implemented on the Salmon River, Williams and his colleagues are trying to establish a mahseer fishery to help conserve this majestic species. As part of this work, Williams was granted permission by the king of Bhutan to fish the royal Sankosh River. And he took full advantage, landing a beautiful, 44-inch golden mahseer on a fly rod. What a story! You can learn more about the project at

Fishy Business at Mormon Reservoir

Several readers have emailed me about Mormon Reservoir. The 2018 season was a big rebound year for the lake near Fairfield, with anglers catching some of the biggest trout seen in a decade. Fast action continued through the ice early in 2019, but anglers have been struggling to find many fish since ice-off. Mormon has a history of winterkills, but I talked to the Magic Valley Regional Fish & Game Office, and they said studies with an underwater camera do not indicate a mass die-off. That’s good news, but it indicates the lake may have been overharvested, leaving officials with some decisions to make on stocking and, potentially, bag limits. I wouldn’t mind a two-fish limit, personally — it has worked wonders at other trophy fisheries around the state. Stay tuned.

ANGLR Update and Giveaway

I have an update from fishing tech company ANGLR. Last year, I wrote about the Bullseye, a handy gadget that allows anglers to keep track of their catches by pairing with a free smartphone app. ANGLR recently released an update to the app and I’m giving away a one-year subscription ($50 value) to the new premium maps feature. Just email me saying you downloaded the app and/or purchased a Bullseye and you’ll be entered to win. I’ll draw a winner in two weeks.

Follow Me on Instagram

If cool fishing content is your jam, follow my new Instagram account, @tight_lines208. Photos of recent catches, tips on local fishing spots and info on upcoming classes and lessons are just a few of the goodies you’ll find.

Adventures in Africa

Following my recent column on “Couch Fishing,” reader Dave Cope emailed some firsthand stories of catching giant Nile perch in Ethiopia’s Lake Chamo. Dave has several under his belt, including a 180-pound monster! I’m posting a picture of one of Dave’s big catches on Instagram. He also shared photos of some huge brown trout caught in Ethiopia. Who knew?

That’s all for this week. Thanks for the mail, and tight lines!

Jordan Rodriguez has been fishing Idaho waters since he was a teen. Share your fish stories, adventures, tips and tricks with him at or visit