Lake Cascade (trout, perch)
Quality perch fishing continues on Lake Cascade, with boat and bank anglers landing lots of fish in the 12-inch range using worms, cutbait, jigs and the usual array of perch presentations. Crown Point and the city boat ramp have been hot areas. The Blue Heron boat ramp is the only place left to launch a boat during the low water. The big rainbow trout are starting to move within range of bank anglers, who have success with worms, marshmallows, PowerBait and roe. It’s getting chilly up there, but if you can hit it on a calm day, it’s usually worth your time.
Getting there: Take Idaho 55 north to Cascade. Stop in at Tackle Tom’s for the latest intel.
Boise River (trout)
Trout fishing is hot right now. Find the deep, slow-moving pools and throw flies, spinners, spoons, worms, marshmallows or salmon eggs. I took an out-of-town buddy on a quick evening trip last week and we landed more than a dozen rainbows before sundown. Idaho Fish and Game plans to stock more than 150 steelhead in the river Thursday, the first of two planned stocking efforts.
Getting there: Trout are stocked between Barber Park and the Glenwood Bridge.
Snake, Salmon & Clearwater rivers (Steelhead)
Reports vary quite a bit on this year’s steelhead run. Some anglers say it’s much slower than it has been the last couple of years — and fish counts are down a little — but others report great fishing in Hells Canyon, Riggins and other steelhead hotspots. Overall, catch rates are averaging between 6 and 20 hours per fish, depending on the area. The bottom line is you have to be on the water to catch fish, so bundle up, pack your favorite streamers, jigs, plugs, yarn and roe, and give it a go.
Getting there: Check the Fish and Game website for a detailed list of river seasons and rules.
Lucky Peak (trout)
The water is low, but trollers are catching some nice fish. Pull your favorite gear parallel to shore in anywhere from 15 to 40 feet of water, experimenting with depth until you find the bite. Bank anglers can catch trout — and a few surprise visitors such as perch and pikeminnow — using worms, marshmallows and spinners, but trolling seems to be the way to go for the bigger rainbows.
Getting there: Take Warm Springs Avenue or I-84 east to Idaho 21, and continue east to the reservoir.
Snake River (bass, catfish)
I keep waiting to hear that the cold weather has shut down everything for the winter, but anglers continue to report decent fishing (though catch rates have definitely slowed). With even cooler temperatures moving in, the action will die off soon, but savvy and patient anglers can still get in on some nice smallmouth and big catfish if they know where to look and are willing to bundle up. Fish deep holes and channels with bait or shallow, rocky areas with soft plastics, jigs or slow-moving crankbaits.
Getting there: Fish between C.J. Strike and Brownlee Reservoirs.