Take it easy at these laid-back fishing spots

Lawn chair? Check. Cooler? Check. Bait? Check. Let's fish.

pzimowsky@idahostatesman.comFebruary 27, 2014 

Fishing doesn't have to be a hassle. There are so many places in Idaho with easy drive-up access and plenty of fish.

You can fish right off the bank a few steps from where you park or camp, and boat ramps are nearby.

Here are some of the easiest places we've found for hooking a fish without working too hard.

LAKE CASCADE

Swim, build sand castles - oh, yeah - and fish at this 30,000-acre reservoir, 70 miles north of the Treasure Valley at the town of Cascade. It offers plenty of boat ramps and fishing spots around the reservoir with easy access.

It's a great place for kids because they can fish off beaches and play in the sand or swim if fishing is a little slow.

Lake Cascade State Park offers both tent and RV camping spots and yurts, some right on the water so you can fish the reservoir while relaxing in a grassy spot at your campsite. You can also find motels in Cascade.

There are also lots of day-use areas with easy access to the water where you can park and take a short walk to the shoreline.

The reservoir is well known for its trout, coho, kokanee, bass and perch, but Idaho Fish and Game also lists channel and bullhead catfish, tiger muskie, crappie and pumpkinseeds in the reservoir.

For information, go to parksandrecreation.idaho.gov and search for Lake Cascade State Park, or call Tackle Tom's in Cascade at 382-4367.

C.J. STRIKE RESERVOIR

The reservoir, south of Mountain Home at Grand View and Bruneau, is 7,500 acres and has a fish for every season.

It is accessible by boat or from the bank most of the year.

The reservoir turns on more in the spring for its large trout, perch and crappie fishing.

But you can also just relax on the bank and fish for catfish.

There's plenty of camping at the BLM Cove Recreation Area, which also has a dock and boat ramp.

Idaho Power's Cottonwood Campground is another good spot with camping along the shore, as well as boat docks and a small fishing area off the main reservoir.

This reservoir can provide good shore fishing for bluegill and crappie in the spring, which provides lots of action for kids.

In addition to its well-known fish, the reservoir, according to Fish and Game, has white sturgeon, smallmouth and largemouth bass, whitefish, bluegill and pumpkinseeds.

Check out idahopower.com for recreation in the area.

BROWNLEE RESERVOIR

There's plenty of fishing in this 50-mile-long, 15,000-acre reservoir on the Snake River on the Idaho-Oregon border, and anglers in boats with enough gas to go long distances can find those fishing hideaways.

The reservoir gets popular in early spring and remains accessible through November and possibly December.

Although the reservoir is popular for its bass, catfish, trout and crappie fishing, it also has the same variety of fish as C.J. Strike Reservoir.

Brownlee Reservoir is accessible for bank anglers at Woodhead and Steck parka in Idaho and Farewell Bend and areas near Huntington, Ore. But anglers with boats have an advantage of getting to the more isolated spots along the reservoir's vast shoreline.

There's easy fishing access on the Idaho side between Woodhead Park and the dam, and there can be excellent bass and crappie fishing there during spring.

The reservoir has plenty of camping opportunities from Oregon's Farewell Bend State Park on the upstream end north of Ontario to Idaho's Woodhead Park downstream closer to Brownlee Dam.

See idahopower.com for more information or oregonstateparks.org.

HELLS CANYON RESERVOIR

This 2,500-acre reservoir downstream from Brownlee and Oxbow reservoirs on the Snake River is a charm for those who want to paddle and fish.

You can canoe the shoreline because the reservoir is more sheltered in Hells Canyon than the upstream waters.

A good jumping-off place is Idaho Power's Hells Canyon Park on the Idaho site of the reservoir.

The park is a good place, too, if you are a bank angler.

Smallmouth bass, crappie and catfish are the primary fish sought after by anglers.

The park caters to RVers and tent campers with full services, including flush toilets and showers.

You can also find numerous places where you can pull your vehicle next to the reservoir and do some casual fishing.

You can take a side trip to Hells Canyon Dam or drive the Kleinschmidt Grade for the time when you're not fishing.

See idahopower.com for more information on camping.

LUCKY PEAK RESERVOIR

This 2,820-acre reservoir is a quick trip from Boise and Treasure Valley with lots of opportunities for bank fishing and trolling.

It's getting a lot more attention for its kokanee fishing in recent years, but also has plenty of trout.

The reservoir is lined with boat ramps from the dam all the way up the Middle Fork Boise River arm to Macks Creek near Arrowrock Dam.

Near Spring Shores Marina is a popular spot called "Social Security Beach" where you can easily reach the water's edge and fish for trout from the comfort of your chaise lounge.

It's especially popular in the spring when trout are cruising the shoreline. You can catch a limit while sipping your favorite beverage.

There are plenty of opportunities for boat camping, with sites well away from the boat ramps and highway.

Besides, kokanee and trout, the reservoir also has smallmouth bass.

Pete Zimowsky: 377-6445, Twitter: @Zimosoutdoors

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