Dog Lover’s Idaho

Red Fish Lake


401 Redfish Lodge Road, Stanley, ID, 83278

Nothing beats Red Fish Lake in Idaho. The nature, the beauty and the water make this a great place to relax and have fun every year.

This was Butter’s first paddleboard experience due to the lake being calm and clear. A friend of ours, Katie, commented that her dog, Nash,  learned to swim at Red Fish Lake due to the calm and clear water. How awesome is that?

Butter learning to sit on the paddle board before we started.

Red Fish Lake is dog friendly with a clearly marked dog beach located directly behind the visitors center. When I talked to the visitors center staff I was told that dogs can go most places on leash, but only off leash at the dog beach. We followed the signs, but saw dogs everywhere we went on this trip. Butter is always on a leash, so we did not worry about off/on leash areas.

We had a good experience going to a side beach close to the camping areas. If you drive around you can typically find a less crowded area. If you do not mind the crowds you can also go by the main lodge.

We arrived, paid for our car and then took our time unloading our car, getting ready and heading down a short (less than .25 miles) trail to a miniature beach where we headed into the water. Having space was great since Butter was able to explore nature while we blew up our paddle boards. We brought a long leash so that she had space to explore without going too far.

Look at the view!

As we loaded our paddle boards we had a pay it forward moment. Since this was Butter’s first time on the water a stranger took pictures from her phone and texted them to me. It meant a lot that someone would capture this moment. This shows how great of a place Red Fish Lake really is!

One picture a stranger took for us. I will always remember her kindness.

Now, you must be wondering…how did Butter do on the paddle boards?  She jumped into the water after the first few paddles. This water was still very cold and she was not sure about her first deep water excursion. For the rest of the trip she stayed next to us or wanted to climb into our laps. By the end she enjoyed paddleboards taking a nap on the board. We took a break half way through. On the beach Butter rested, played with sticks and warmed up from the cold water. She was a great sport!

Sweet Butter, taking a nap.

When you go to Red Fish Lake, you will not want to leave. So we packed for a day long trip and would suggest you do the same. Red Fish Lake has camping, a restaurant, bathrooms, visitors center, hiking, water sports and rentals, a small store… most of what you need. I would recommend making reservations early since this is a popular destination. We remembered poop bags making sure we leave the area cleaner than we found it.

Cost: $6.00+ depending on parking, trash use, camping, food…

Recommended Supplies:

  • Parking cash (Have some $1.00 and $5.00 bills for parking and trash use)
  • Towels
  • Paddle board, kayak or other water sport item (you can rent these if desired)
  • Swimsuit and water shoes and a change of clothes for after
  • Sunscreen/bugspray
  • Harness
  • Poop bags
  • Leash
  • Water for you and your pup
  • Picnic items (optional, but suggested)
  • Hiking boots (if hiking)
  • Camping supplies (if camping)
  • Bear Spray (if hiking)

Butter gives Red Fish Lake 4 paw up!

Butter only has 4 paws…so 4 paws up is the best!