A friendly reminder that the 2015 fishing season ends Dec. 31. As the calendar turns to 2016, make sure you get out and renew your fishing license before your first trip of the new year.
Lake Cascade (trout, perch)
The upside of frigid temperatures is improving ice conditions at Lake Cascade. The latest reports have 4-6 inches covering most of the lake, which is enough for safe fishing on foot. It’s still early in the season, though, so stay with the crowds and drill some test holes on your way out just to be safe. Ice generally tends to be thicker and safer on the north end of the lake. The reports I’ve heard indicate so-so fishing for perch so far, but it could turn on any time. Cascade has produced state record-worthy perch in recent winters and a big rainbow trout is always possible, too. Call ahead or check out the latest reports on the Tackle Tom’s Facebook page so you don’t waste the windy drive north.
Getting there: Take Idaho 55 north to Cascade and follow the signs to sportsman access areas.
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Boise River (trout)
It’s cold enough to keep all but the heartiest river anglers indoors right now, but that means you should have the prime fishing holes all to yourself if you’re brave enough to venture out for an hour or two. I’ve seen some nice reports — from stringers of hatchery fish to some big, wild rainbows. Ice might be an obstacle in shallow or slower-moving stretches, but if you bundle up and fish during the warmer afternoon hours, chances are you’ll find some fish. Spinners, worms, marshmallows or a fly are your best bets.
Getting there: Rainbow trout are stocked between Barber Park and the Glenwood Bridge.
Snake, Salmon and Clearwater rivers (steelhead)
Fall steelhead season closes tomorrow on the Snake, Clearwater and Salmon Rivers. Anglers can continue to fish for steelhead during the spring season, which begins Jan. 1, but you’ll need a 2016 permit and bag limits change to three fish per day and nine in possession through the end of April or May, depending on the stretch of river. Only hatchery fish identified by a clipped adipose fin may be kept. Spoons, plugs, brightly colored jigs, flies, roe and neon yarn will catch fish. It’s also legal to continue fishing for steelhead in the Boise River, but those are few and far between by now.
Getting there: Check the Idaho Fish and Game website for a detailed list of steelhead seasons, rules and destinations