Q: I read your story (April 23) about Idaho Fish and Game’s free fishing trailer. Where are most of these ponds located? Google Maps isn’t all that helpful.
JAMEY COUCH, via email
A: Good question, because local ponds can be surprisingly elusive. Fish and Game helps locate them via its website and provides good information about the different ponds found throughout the Treasure Valley and outlying areas. Check the stocking report on page E2 and you can see names of the ponds that are being stocked with trout this month. Then go to fishandgame.idaho.gov and click on the “Fishing Planner” logo at the bottom of the page. You can see the town nearest the ponds listed in the stocking report.
Select a few ponds in your area and type the name of one in the Fishing Planner. It will give you a map to the pond and information about it, including what kind of fish you will find there, rules and facilities.
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Another option on F&G’s website is to click on the “Fishing” page and look for the “Family Fishing Waters” subhead. Search the Southwest Region and it will give you a good list of waters designated for family fishing, which means simplified rules, easy access and some facilities. You will also get a description of the fishing spots and directions to them.
That will give you a lot of options, but here’s where things get tricky with ponds: There are lots of them in the Treasure Valley and nearby areas that are on private property. Fishing is allowed in some of them, but not all. A good example is many ponds in local subdivisions. They are often open for residents only. Most are posted private property, but not all. So don’t assume all ponds are open to public fishing.
While Google Maps isn’t great for locating ponds, Google Earth can be. I do “flyovers” to locate hidden bodies of water. It’s a fun way to find tucked-away fishing spots. Remember, bass and bluegill populations are typically self-sustaining in ponds. Fish and Game doesn’t have to restock them, so they won’t show up on stocking reports. I’ve found some great bass ponds in rural areas in the Treasure Valley that get little fishing pressure beyond the local anglers.
When it comes to pond fishing, I think exploring is part of the fun. If I am driving minutes rather than hours to try a pond, it’s no big deal if it doesn’t pan out. May is great time to fish them because bass and bluegill are active aquatic plants are low.