Fish Lake, ID


If you are not seeking any amenities, I believe Fish Lake is the ultimate back-country airstrip. Fantastic fishing, abundant wildlife and few visitors. However, terrain eliminates the possibility of a go-around on landing and a departure tailwind, combined with 5000+ elevation and summer heat can cause problems. The airport signage notes that there are currently five airplanes in the lake. In other words, mountain flying experience is highly advisable.

Fish Lake is known for the moose that wade into the water daily and dip their heads below the surface to eat the moss on the bottom. They are able to hold their breath for unbelievably long periods of time. They are also very good swimmers. So don't mistakenly think that being in a kayak in the middle of the lake is a safe it is not. Although Fish Lake is located in Grizzly country, the moose are more plentiful and a cow with a calf is a much larger threat. She can be highly aggressive and will chase you down and stomp you into a pulp... Sound good so far?

The ONLY approach is from East to West with final approach over the lake. Due to cooler air, you may experience a sinker over the lake. The landing sinker may require additional power to maintain a constant glidepath, keeping in mind that there is NO go-around. A departure sinker brings bigger problems since there are tall trees and rising terrain beyond the lake. Density altitude, aircraft load and horsepower are BIG factors here.

The fishing was great with both a fly and spinning rod. Being somewhat new at fly fishing, the majority of fish wiggled off of my barb-less hook before I could get them into the boat. (Perhaps I need a few lessons...) However, by 6pm the hunger factor superceded the joys of "catch and release" and the remaining unlucky fish made their way into my belly! The meat was extremely tender, juicy and yummy!