A friendly reminder to make sure you renew your fishing license before your first trip of 2016.
Lake Cascade (ice fishing)
Ice fishing is starting to pick up at Cascade. The lake has completely frozen, with 6-plus inches of ice covering almost all of the popular fishing spots. Anglers have been catching some nice perch in the 1-2 pound range and some big rainbow trout. Catch rates can vary wildly, but that’s about par for the course when it comes to ice fishing. If you catch a perch, stay put and drill more holes — they are a schooling fish, and where you catch one, you’ll usually catch at least a few more. Small jigs tipped with worms, mealworms, corn, marshmallows or cut bait will work for trout and perch. Conditions can change quickly, so call ahead or check out the latest reports on the Tackle Tom’s Facebook page.
Getting there: Take Idaho 55 north to Cascade and follow the turnoff signs to sportsman access areas.
C.J. Strike (trout)
Bank fishing for trout at C.J. has been solid in recent weeks. Spinners, flies and bait will catch fish — the worm and marshmallow combo seems to be the top choice of many anglers. A lot of them like Power Bait, too. I even saw a few reports of anglers ice fishing for perch in shallower coves over the holiday, but with warmer temperatures it’s hard to say how long those opportunities will last. When parts of Strike do freeze over, the panfish action tends to be pretty good. I recommend planning on trout fishing, with ice fishing being a nice bonus if you find thick enough ice.
Getting there: Take Interstate 84 to Mountain Home and head south.
Lucky Peak Reservoir (trout)
I’ve heard a few good reports from bank anglers throwing worms, marshmallows and spinners for keeper-sized rainbows at Lucky Peak. The reservoir hasn’t frozen over and likely won’t anytime soon. Kokanee salmon are a possibility. If you go, be sure to drive safely on the way up. Arrowrock Reservoir has produced some big trout along with occasional perch and kokanee this winter. The road to the dam can be really slick. I wouldn’t recommend it without four-wheel drive.
Getting there: Take Idaho 21 east to Lucky Peak.
Boise River (trout)
With temperatures back to a more seasonable mid-30s, you should be able to get a couple hours in without freezing off your fingers. Target deep riffles and pools with flies, spinners or bait. Planted rainbow trout make for a great wintertime fish fry, and there are some bigger wild rainbows and browns for the catching, too.
Getting there: Trout are stocked between Barber Park and the Glenwood Bridge.