Every Monday, we’ll post fishing writer Jordan Rodriguez’s weekly report in the Playing Outdoors blog. His column appears three Tuesdays per month.
Lake Cascade (Mixed Bag)
Fall fishing is hot at Lake Cascade! I was up there Oct. 8, and we had a great day catching perch. Lots of fish in the 10-to-12-inch range, with a couple 14-inch monsters thrown in to keep things interesting. We also picked up a couple big rainbow trout, some nice smallmouth bass and even a pumpkinseed sunfish. For perch, we fished from a boat, targeting rocky points in 10-to-25 feet of water. Jigs tipped with worm or just a piece of night crawler fished near the bottom seemed to work best. There were lots of boats out, and people generally don’t mind fishing in close quarters for panfish. We saw some guys do pretty well on slip-bobber setups from the bank, too, with one shore fisherman landing a monster rainbow trout on light tackle. Those bigger fish are often a byproduct of fishing for perch, but try trolling with spinners or throwing Power Bait and marshmallows to target trout, or crayfish-patterned jigs, soft plastics and crankbaits for bass. Temperatures and the water level are dropping (Blue Heron is the best bet for launching a boat), so get out there while you can!
Getting there: Take Idaho 55 north to Cascade. For the latest lake conditions and fishing reports, call Tackle Tom’s at (208) 382-4367.
Snake, Salmon, Clearwater and Columbia Rivers (Chinook salmon, Steelhead)
Fall Chinook season has picked up of late, with catch rates jumping considerably on both the Snake and Clearwater rivers. According to the Fish & Game website, Chinook anglers averaged about 35 hours per fish kept in the Clearwater drainage and 47 hours per fish kept on the Snake between the Highway 12 bridge and Sheep Creek. There are lots of native fish being caught and released, too. I recently spent some time on the Columbia River near The Dalles in Oregon (read more about that trip in an upcoming Fish Rap column!), and anglers were catching lots of Chinook by drifting roe and shrimp or trolling spinners and superbait plugs. Steelhead fishing is still pretty slow, but harvest reports indicate fair catch rates (15-to-19 hours per fish caught) on the Snake, with a few fish starting to show on the Salmon. It’s going to be a down year compared to the last few, but there are still fish out there. Get after them with roe, plugs, jigs, streamers and all your favorite anadromous fish baits.
Getting there: Visit the Idaho Fish & Game website for a complete list of salmon and steelhead fish counts, season information, rules and the latest harvest reports.
Boise River (Trout, Crayfish)
It’s steady as she goes on the Boise River. Flows are fishing-friendly, and anglers are catching lots of rainbows in town, up near Barber Park and down through Eagle and Star. Brown trout are showing up, too — they are spawning this time of year, so it’s important to practice catch-and-release. Tackle doesn’t need to be too sophisticated on the Boise. I’ve seen reports from anglers having good days on flies, spinners, spoons and all kinds of bait. In addition to trout, the river has a healthy population of crayfish, which are pretty easy to catch this time of year. Set out some traps filled with chicken parts or cut bait while you fish, or throw on some waders and catch them using a net, or even your hands. You do need a fishing license to hunt crayfish, but if you can catch a small bucket full, you’ll have enough for a boil.
Getting there: Fish & Game stocks hatchery rainbows between Barber Park and the Glenwood Bridge.
Lucky Peak Reservoir (Trout, Kokanee)
I continue to hear good reports from Lucky Peak. The boat ramp is a long way down, but anglers are still getting out and trolling pop gear and spinners for trout and kokanee salmon. It’s also a convenient place to fish bait from the shore. Some combination of worms, marshmallows and Power Bait seems to be the ticket, though I’ve also heard of folks using shrimp and salmon eggs. Don’t forget, there are bass in Lucky Peak, so throw on a crankbait or jig if the shoreline looks like good smallmouth habitat. Arrowrock Reservoir, Mores Creek and the Boise River are also accessible via Highway 21.
Getting there: From Boise, take Warm Springs Avenue or Idaho 21 northeast to Lucky Peak. Continue past Lucky Peak to get to Arrowrock.
Crews recently repaired a broken outlet valve at Tripod Reservoir near Smiths Ferry. According to an Idaho Fish & Game news release, fixing the valve required dropping water levels much lower than is ideal for this time of year, and biologists are assessing the reservoir to determine if fish survival will be an issue. Salvage rules are sometimes put into effect if fish are likely to die over the winter, but none had been issued as of Oct. 14. A Fish & Game spokesman said Tripod will be stocked with rainbow trout next spring and will be ready for the 2017 season.
Jordan Rodriguez has been fishing Idaho waters since he was a teen. Share your fish stories, adventures, tips and tricks at outdoors @idahostatesman.com.