With the heat this summer, fishing should be full steam ahead in Idaho’s mountain lakes. The scenery is always gorgeous, and the trout fishing can be fantastic. Louie Lake, Hazard Lakes, Hidden Lake and the White Cloud/Sawtooth Mountain systems are areas worth exploring.
Getting there: Talk to someone who knows the area and get your hands on reliable road/trail maps.
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HORSESHOE BEND MILL POND
Bluegill action has been hot at Mill Pond, making it a perfect destination for young anglers, beginners or a relaxing afternoon on the water. Don’t expect many big fish, but a good ol’ worm on a bobber will keep the kids entertained all day long. Mill Pond also has largemouth bass and rainbow trout. The short drive makes it a perfect day trip, and it’s a great spot to fish from float tubes, canoes and small motorized boats.
Getting there: Take Idaho 55 north through Horseshoe Bend, then turn right at the access sign just past mile marker 65.
The Snake remained productive during the heat wave, so more seasonal temperatures should bring even better fishing. Anything that resembles a crayfish is a good bet for smallmouth bass, which will also take live worms and large fly patterns like wooly buggers. There have been reports of good-sized channel catfish, which will take a variety of baits including chicken livers, cut bait and worms.
Getting there: The fishing is good almost anywhere between C.J. Strike and Brownlee reservoirs.
It’s hard to overstate how overlooked and productive the Boise River can be. Stocked rainbow trout are plentiful, chinook are in the river now, and there are reports of large brown trout and rainbows being caught throughout the river. It’s important to release those big, wild fish whenever possible. If the trout aren’t hitting, hop over to a local pond and target bass or bluegill.
Getting there: Trout are stocked between Barber Park and Star.
A productive chinook season has come to a close on most of the Salmon River, including the South Fork. The Upper Salmon remains open for jack salmon (less than 24 inches) until further notice. If you haven’t yet gotten your salmon fix, you can still try your luck in the Boise River.
Getting there: Fish the Boise River in town, or take Idaho 75 from Stanley to the upper Salmon.
It has been a slower-than-usual year for most anglers on Lowell, but the fish are there if you’re willing to work for them. Fish the flooded trees and weed beds for largemouth, or the rocky outcroppings for smallmouth and catfish. Soft plastics, spinnerbaits, jigs and crankbaits are popular. Bass harvest is open, meaning anglers can keep two fish per day, none between 12-16 inches. Harvest a couple in the 10-11 inch range — they make better fryers and it keeps the big ones in the lake.
Getting there: Go south from Nampa or Caldwell.