Biggest Fish Idaho Records

The Biggest Fish Caught in Idaho in 2024: Exploring the Gem State’s Waters

Idaho, fondly known as the Gem State, is a treasure trove of natural beauty. Its stunning landscapes, from towering mountains to sprawling plains, are a testament to its nickname. But the state’s riches extend beyond its terrestrial boundaries.

Beneath the surface of its numerous lakes and rivers lies a world teeming with aquatic life, a world that is as fascinating as it is diverse. Today, we’re embarking on a journey to explore this underwater realm, focusing on the biggest fish that call Idaho’s waters home.

From the majestic White Sturgeon to the formidable Northern Pike, we’ll dive into their world, uncovering the stories, facts, and figures that make them truly remarkable.

The White Sturgeon: Idaho’s Biggest Fish

Record White Sturgeon Idaho

In 2022, in a remarkable feat, Greg and Angie Poulsen, a couple from Eagle Mountain, Utah, set an Idaho state record by catching a 124-inch white sturgeon in the C.J. Strike Reservoir. Known for its smallmouth, catfish, and crappie fishing, the reservoir was the site of this extraordinary catch on August 5.

The white sturgeon, North America’s largest freshwater fish, was released back into the water, as Idaho only allows catch-and-release sturgeon fishing. This catch surpassed the previous record of a 119.5-inch sturgeon caught in 2019, marking a significant moment in Idaho’s fishing history.

The White Sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) holds the title of the largest freshwater fish in North America. These aquatic giants can reach lengths of up to 20 feet or more and weigh several hundred pounds. Idaho’s waters, particularly the Snake River, are prime habitats for these behemoths.

The 2024 Northern Pike Record

Northern Pike Angler Record

In March 2024, Hayden Lake was the site of a remarkable event. Avid angler Thomas Francis, known for his passion for Northern Pike fishing, reeled in a true monster. The fish weighed in at a staggering 40.76 pounds, with a length of 49 inches and a girth of 26.5 inches.

This catch shattered the previous state record held by a fish caught in Lower Twin Lake in 2010, which weighed 40.13 pounds. His dedication and passion for fishing are truly commendable. On that fateful day in March 2024, Francis arrived at Hayden Lake with the same gear, the same approach, and the same goal as always: to catch big pike.

Despite the lingering ice on the lake preventing him from casting right up to the shore, Francis didn’t let this deter him. He cast his line to the edge of the ice, letting his lure sink all the way to the bottom. As soon as his lure hit the bottom, he felt a powerful tug.

The fish on the other end of the line was strong, peeling off a lot of drag from his 80-pound test line. Francis knew immediately that he had hooked something extraordinary.

The pike fought hard, pinning itself to the bottom and peeling off more drag. Suddenly, the line went slack as the fish shot up from the depths, breaking the surface of the water in a spectacular display. When Francis finally landed the fish, he knew he had a potential state record contender on his hands.

Other Notable Fish Species

Bull Trout

Idaho’s waters are teeming with a variety of fish species, each with their unique characteristics. The Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus), for instance, can reach lengths of up to 3 feet and weigh over 20 pounds. The Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), an anadromous species, can surpass 40 pounds in weight and exceed 3 feet in length.

Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush), native to the northern regions of North America, were introduced to some of Idaho’s lakes for recreational fishing. They have thrived in these environments and can reach lengths exceeding 3 feet and weigh over 20 pounds.

If you’re planning a fishing trip to Idaho, you might want to consider setting up camp at one of these top camping destinations, which offer not only great fishing spots but also breathtaking natural beauty. 

Fishing in Idaho: A Must-Try Experience

With over 26,000 miles of fishable streams and rivers, including the renowned Snake River, Salmon River, and Clearwater River, Idaho is a paradise for anglers. Whether you’re a seasoned fisherman or a novice, the state’s diverse aquatic life promises an unforgettable fishing experience.

Remember, all anglers 14 and older need a fishing license, which you can purchase online or at various vendors throughout the state. In Idaho, there are both certified weight records and catch-and-release records for all fish species.

So whether you’re aiming to catch a record-breaking Northern Pike like Thomas Francis or another species, remember that every fishing trip could potentially lead to a new state record. Good luck fishing this spring and summer!


Fishing Idaho

How old is the practice of fishing?

Fishing is one of the oldest practices dating back to at least 40,000 years ago.

What is the longest recorded fight with a fish?

The longest recorded fight with a fish was an astonishing 37 hours.

Which is the fastest fish?

The Sailfish is the fastest fish, capable of swimming at a speed of 68 miles per hour.

Which is the slowest fish?

The slowest fish is the Seahorse, which moves at about 0.01 mph.

What is the largest fish ever caught?

The largest fish ever caught was a Great White Shark in 1986, weighing 2,664 pounds!

What is the largest freshwater fish ever caught?

The largest freshwater fish ever caught was a Mekong Giant Catfish, which weighed an impressive 646 pounds.

How many people participate in fishing every year in the U.S.?

Every year, more than 38 million people in the U.S. participate in fishing.


Home to some of the most impressive fish species in North America, from the record-breaking Northern Pike to the majestic White Sturgeon, Idaho’s aquatic life is as diverse as it is fascinating. These underwater giants, with their unique characteristics and intriguing stories, are a crucial part of Idaho’s natural heritage.

So, whether you’re an angler looking for your next big catch or a nature enthusiast who is curious about the state’s wildlife, remember that beneath the surface of these waters, you’ll find a world waiting to be explored. The next time you’re planning a fishing trip or a nature getaway, why not consider Idaho? With its rich aquatic life and stunning landscapes, it promises an adventure you won’t soon forget!

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