It may not be the best weekend to declare the start of reservoir season, but options are limited.
River fishing closed on Tuesday with its usual big asterisk because there are still many rivers open for fishing. Check the fishing rules and you won’t have any trouble finding one. But let’s set that aside for now.
My rule of thumb with reservoirs is they like stable weather and warming temperatures. No genius insight there, it’s kind of like saying fire likes fuel, heat and oxygen.
But the reason I point it out is because we’re kind of having the opposite of stable and warm. Windstorms hit midweek throughout Southwest Idaho, the Duck Valley Indian Reservation dropped to 16 degrees this week, and the forecast says there’s a chance of snow in McCall this weekend.
None of this should surprise anyone familiar with spring in Southwest Idaho. Remember those Memorial Day weekend campouts when it snowed? That’s the flipside to those 70-degree days in March.
So what’s it mean to fishing? A lot, actually. Fishing conditions can turn on a dime, and it tends to make reservoir fishing a case of boom or bust. I’ve already heard of people having some epic days for everything from trout to bass to catfish to kokanee.
I’ve also personally seen days that looked like I should be beating fish away from the boat with a paddle, but instead struggled to hook a fish or two.
I take it all as part of the crazy mix of spring fishing, and reservoirs are where I am routinely frustrated and rewarded. I’ve had some of the best day of fishing on them when it seemed we could do no wrong and fish were borderline suicidal. Then I’ve returned and felt like the whole thing was a fever dream with the water turning barren and the fish evaporating like a summer mist.
It’s a wild ride. I may get skunked, but I can also look forward to some of my biggest fish of the year.