Every Monday, we’ll post fishing writer Jordan Rodriguez’s weekly report in the Playing Outdoors blog. His column appears three Tuesdays per month.
Bruneau Dunes State Park (Bass, Bluegill)
A heads up for anglers: the lower (larger) pond at Bruneau Dunes State Park recently was treated with rotenone to eradicate the carp population. Unfortunately, this will kill all the fish in the pond, but carp had become the predominant species in recent years. Fish & Game will stock the pond with largemouth bass and bluegill early next spring, and within a few years, Bruneau Dunes should bounce back as a trophy bass fishery. Anglers should note that the smaller pond at Bruneau Dunes, which has maintained a strong bass and bluegill fishery, was not treated with rotenone. The fishing there should remain unaffected. Fishing at Bruneau Dunes is likely slowing down as temperatures cool, but I did hear a report of anglers catching fish on worms and crayfish-imitating lures just a couple weeks ago.
Getting there: Take I-84 east to Exit 90, then follow Highway 51 south. Brown sportsman access signs will point the way to Bruneau Dunes State Park on the left.
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Boise River (Trout, Crayfish)
The water is low and the fishing is good along many stretches of the Boise River, from the Highway 21 bridge all the way down through Eagle and Star. Anglers are catching lots of stocked and wild rainbow trout, along with a few brown trout and whitefish. Spinners, spoons, worms, Power Bait, eggs and flies are the most popular offerings. Fly anglers are having the best luck subsurface with bead-headed nymphs. Streamers are also getting strikes, and dry flies including midges and tricos will often pick up fish early in the day. I’ve also been amused by the wide variety of methods people are using to catch crayfish — everything from traps and nets to bare hands and scuba gear. You do need a fishing license to catch crayfish, but the Boise River is a good bet to harvest enough for a boil.
Getting there: Fish & Game stocks hatchery rainbows between Barber Park and the Glenwood Bridge.
Snake River (Bass, Catfish)
Bass fishing is slowing down as cooling water temperatures are putting the fish into their sluggish winter behavior. They will still eat, though, and I’ve found that cold-water bass catches tend to be bigger, on average. Fish slow and deep with jigs, tubes, grubs and other crayfish-imitating lures. Some fish also might venture into shallower water to feed on warmer days when the sun is out. One of the perks of cold-water fishing on the Snake is that you usually have less vegetation to contend with, though the weeds were still fairly thick on my last trip to Swan Falls. If the action is slow and you have a two-pole permit, try setting out a second rod with a live worm or cut bait — you’ll likely pick up a bass, catfish, perch or carp, eventually. The catfish bite is slowing down, too, but you can still find fish holding in deep current, and they’ll still take a nice piece of cut bait or chicken liver.
Getting there: Fish between C.J. Strike and Brownlee Reservoirs.
Lake Cascade (Trout, Perch)
Trout fishing has picked up, especially for bank fishermen, as the fish have started cruising closer to shore. A variety of tackle will work, but most anglers keep it simple with a worm-and-marshmallow setup, or some PowerBait. Quality fish in the 18-to-20-inch range are not uncommon, and fish up to five pounds are possible. Perch fishing has slowed down a bit, numbers-wise, but people are still catching some of the 14-to-16-inch jumbos for which Cascade is known. Small jigs, crankbaits or a plain old night crawler will catch perch, which have been hanging out in 10 to 25 feet of water. An occasional bass still will show up, but smallmouth fishing has pretty much wrapped up for the winter. The water level has come up slightly thanks to the recent rain, but Blue Heron is still the only sure bet for launching a boat.
Getting there: Take Idaho 55 north to Cascade. For the latest lake conditions and fishing reports, call Tackle Tom’s at (208) 382-4367.
Jordan Rodriguez has been fishing Idaho waters since he was a teen. Share your fish stories, adventures, tips and tricks at outdoors @idahostatesman.com.