Fishing the Fifty

My Quest to Fish All 50 States


Idaho is one of my favorite states, with spectacular scenery, plentiful wildlife, and excellent fishing.  I fished Priest Lake in the upper part of the panhandle for lake trout with Rich Lindsey (  Words cannot even describe how gorgeous this lake is; the pictures on Rich’s website of mountains and wildlife are amazing even if you are not interested in fishing.  His fishing pictures are amazing too, and my fishing trip with him did not disappoint.  I caught 12 lake trout, with the biggest being a 12-pounder.  I also saw a bald eagle dive in the water and catch a fish, which was incredible.


The next day I fished with Ken Hayes ( on Lake Pend Oreille for big Kamloops rainbow trout.  A front was moving in, dropping the temperature 10 degrees compared to the day before, and the bite was slow.  (This front followed me into Montana for my fishing trip there too, unfortunately.)  I did not catch any Kamloops rainbow trout, but I did catch my first bull trout (17 inches) and my first westslope cutthroat trout, the state fish of Idaho, along with a limit of kokanee salmon.  Kokanee salmon reminded me of bluefish in the sense that they are not what you want to catch, but you definitely appreciate the action when the fish you want to catch are not biting.  Catching the bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout were awesome surprises too because I had heard so much about Mountain West trout, but had never seen one myself.  Moreover, it gave me two new species to add to the list of species I have caught.

Welcome to Idaho

Some locals on an early morning walk 

A bald eagle also having luck catching some fish

My first Idaho fish, a six-pound lake trout

My biggest Idaho fish, a 12-pound lake trout

Priest Lake

Ken carefully removes the hook from this 17-inch bull trout while I "help."  Bull trout are listed as threatened and cannot be kept, so Ken wanted to be sure it was returned to the lake as quickly as possible.

Right about to catch a fish

An eagle on the hunt

My first westslope cutthroat trout, the Idaho state fish

Lake Pend Oreille 

Limit of kokanee

Clark Fork River