Apologies if you live along U.S. 95 between Payette and New Meadows and I am ratting out some of your favorite fishing holes. But many anglers overlook this area, or bypass it on their way to Brownlee Reservoir, because it lacks another marquee fishing destination.
But this area is worth exploring if you want to get slightly off the beaten path, and to be honest, don't expect to be alone.
They're not exactly secret spots, they just don't get as much fishing pressure as other areas.
Here are some places to check out:
What you might catch: Smallmouth bass is the most likely suspect.
Logistics: The lower stretch of the Payette has a healthy smallmouth population, but the river access can be a challenge because it goes through a lot of private land. Boating is tough because of shallow, rocky sections and irrigation diversions and few put-ins and take-outs.
Notes: The Birding Islands near Blacks Bridge east of Payette is a good spot for river access.
What you might catch: Smallmouth bass, trout.
Logistics: This river typically has trout in the upper stretches and smallmouth bass in the lower. It's a challenging river because it seems to go from high spring run off to low and warm really fast because it's heavily used for agriculture.
Notes: Road access can be challenging, but you can hike or mountain bike on the Weiser River Trail to get to the river. Beware you will still likely run into some posted private property.
MANN CREEK RESERVOIR
What you might catch: Trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie.
Logistics: Located a few miles off U.S. 95 on Mann Creek Road between Weiser and Midvale. This a pretty popular reservoir and nicely developed with boat launches and a campground near the head of the reservoir.
It's no secret because it's an easy reservoir to reach and well suited for bank anglers, motor boaters and float tubes, canoes and kayaks. It's a good place to camp and fish in the spring, and you can use it as a base to check out other areas.
Notes: Mann Creek Campground is well suited for tent campers and RVs, and you can reserve a spot at recreation.gov.
C. BEN ROSS RESERVOIR
What you might catch: Largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie.
Logistics: This reservoir is located east of Cambridge and can be accessed from either Indian Valley Road or Ben Ross Road.
The reservoir has special bass rules. There's no harvest allowed between Jan. 1 and June 30, and no harvest of bass between 12 and 16 inches during the harvest season.
Notes: The reservoir is large enough for motorboats, but still small enough for canoes, kayaks, float tubes, etc. If you want to launch a motorboat, use the access off Ben Ross Road where there's a boat launch.
CRANE CREEK RESERVOIR
What you might catch: Largemouth bass, crappie, channel catfish.
Logistics: It's located about 10 miles southeast of Midvale off Crane Creek Road. The reservoir has pretty good fish populations and has produced a state record crappie, but it's also murky and can be a little challenging to fish. There's a boat launch for motorboats that gets a little rough as the reservoir recedes, but it's also a good reservoir for small craft.
LOST VALLEY RESERVOIR
What you might catch: Trout.
Logistics: This small reservoir looks like a mountain lake because it's nestled in the trees at nearly 4,800 feet. It's usually snowed in until May or June.
But it's still pretty easily accessible because it's only a few miles off U.S. 95 near the community of Pine Ridge east of New Meadows. There's good camping near the reservoir at developed and undeveloped spots.
It's typically a good trout fishery, but it frequently gets overwhelmed by stunted perch and Fish and Game has to apply rotenone to kill off the perch.
Notes: The reservoir was treated last fall, so it won't have any fish until trucks can reach the reservoir and restock it with trout. The good news is those trout typically do pretty well, so there should be good fishing this summer and fall.
Roger Phillips: 377-6215, Twitter: @rogeroutdoors