A man waist deep in water holding a silver fish and his fishing rod

Fishing season on the Lake Lowell Unit is year-round, with seasonal access restrictions. Available species include largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, bluegill and catfish. Refuge islands on the Snake River Islands Unit are accessible only by boat and are closed February 1-May 31. Contact Idaho Department of Fish and Game for current hunting regulations and see Rules and Regulations for refuge-specific regulations.

Caution: a Fish Consumption Advisory has been issued by the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare for Lake Lowell and the Snake River because of high mercury levels. See link for safe consumption levels.

Lake Lowell Unit Fishing

Where can I fish?
  • Dock Fishing: There is one designated, disabled-accessible fishing dock at the west end of the Upper Dam. All visitors are welcome to use it, but are asked to give priority to disabled users.
  • Shoreline fishing is allowed all year. Wading access to fishing is allowed March 15 to September 30. However, some areas of the Refuge are permanently or seasonally closed to protect wildlife; please watch for signs and check the map.   
  • Ice fishing is allowed. Use caution as some areas of the lake are usually ice-free all season. 
  • Anglers are welcome to use a boat to access fishing locations, but see Rules and Regulations for refuge-specific regulations.
  • Boat ramps are subject to closure due to low water levels
What kinds of fish can I catch?

Game fish in the lake include largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, perch, crappie, bluegill, rainbow trout, channel catfish and brown bullhead. See a recent fish stocking report from Idaho Fish & Game.

Where and when should I fish?

Fishing usually picks up in mid-May. Try for bass in flooded vegetation. As water temperatures rise, crappie and bluegill action increases. A prime spot for catfish and bullhead fishing is the shallow water in front of the Lower Embankment. Late in the season, fishing below the outlets of the lake is often productive.

Snake River Islands Unit

When can I fish?

Fishing from the shore of refuge islands is prohibited during nesting season from February 1 through June 14 for most Refuge Islands, and from February 1 through June 30 for several heron and gull-nesting islands. Signs indicate seasonal island closure dates.

How do I access the islands?

The Snake River Islands can be accessed at a number of different boat ramps in Idaho and Oregon. 

What are the regulations?

Where the Snake River is the boundary between Idaho and Oregon, you may fish from the islands according to the regulations of the state for which you are licensed.

Where and when should I fish?

Bank fishing for Catfish can be very productive when river levels fall in mid to late summer.

Laws, rules, and regulations