Every Tuesday, we’ll post fishing writer Jordan Rodriguez’s weekly report in the Playing Outdoors blog. His column will appear three Wednesdays per month.
Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir (Walleye)
Idaho anglers have few opportunities to fish for walleye, but mid-June through late July typically offers your best shot at Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir near Twin Falls. Walleye are visual feeders who most often forage when the light is low, or when windy conditions or murky water hinder visibility for prey.
So, unlike many types of fishing, a little wind is actually a good thing. Walleye are a schooling species, so having a fish/depth finder is helpful. Once you locate fish, anchor up and see what they want to eat.
Some of the most popular methods include standard and vertical jigging with minnow-imitating lures, often tipped with a piece of worm, leech or a dead minnow. Slip-sinker rigs with live night crawlers also are popular, and they can be substituted for slip-bobber rigs if the fish are holding higher in the water column. Trolling with spinners, Rapalas or crawler harnesses is another go-to method. These lures can be casted and retrieved if your boat isn’t set up for trolling. The walleye limit is six, and only one over 20 inches. If the walleye aren’t biting, Salmon Falls also has trout, smallmouth bass and various panfish.
Getting there: Take I-84 east toward Twin Falls and then follow U.S. 93 south toward the Nevada border. From Boise, it’s about a two-and- a-half-hour drive, just a few minutes shy of Jackpot.
Salmon and Clearwater Rivers (Chinook salmon)
If you want to tangle with a giant chinook salmon this summer, you better get out and do it soon. Catch rates haven’t been as hot as they were last season, but hardworking anglers are still getting rewarded with some of the highest-flying, hardest-charging and best-eating fish in Idaho. The Snake River is closed for the season, and the Little Salmon and Lower Salmon are closed now, too. The last round of openings starts this Saturday, June 18, when fishing becomes available on the South Fork Salmon and Upper Salmon Rivers. Harvest also becomes available on the Middle Fork Clearwater and upper stretch of the main Clearwater. The season might not last long this year, so get out there while you can.
Roe balls, tuna balls, brightly colored yarn and jigs, flashy streamers and spoons and big plugs are among the most popular lures and baits. Catch rates have averaged 15 to 20 hours per fish this season, so be prepared to put in some effort. And remember: only hatchery fish with a clipped adipose fin may be kept.
Getting there: Visit the Idaho Fish and Game website for a complete list of salmon counts, seasons and rules, and the latest harvest reports.
Lake Lowell (Bass)
Summertime bass fishing is hitting its peak at Lake Lowell. The days are long, the weeds are coming up along the shorelines and anglers are catching healthy numbers of largemouth on a consistent basis. This is a time of year when you can really experiment with your tackle, as multiple tactics are likely to produce fish. Top-water frogs, plugs and poppers work well, especially early or late in the day.
Spinnerbaits, jigs and soft plastic creature baits work well for fishing in and around heavy cover. And crankbaits and jerk baits like Rapalas are effective near rocky shorelines and other open areas where they aren’t likely to get snagged up. Lake Lowell gets pretty busy on hot days and weekends, so be courteous to your fellow anglers and boaters. And remember, all bass are catch-and- release until July 1.
If you are looking for keepers, Lowell also has channel catfish, bluegill, perch and crappie available.
Getting there: Head south to the boat launches from Nampa or Caldwell.
Boise River (Trout)
The Boise River has returned to fishable levels, so anglers can once again get a quick and easy trout fix chasing stocked hatchery fish as well as bigger, wily wild rainbows and browns. Flies, spinners, spoons, Rapalas and baits such as worms, salmon eggs and Power Bait will catch fish. Deep pools, riffles and cut banks are good places to start. If you’re in town, fishing above Barber Park or below the Americana Bridge will help avoid the summer float crowds.
Getting there: Trout are regularly stocked between Barber Park and the Glenwood Bridge.
Caribbean Sea (Mixed Bag)
My wife and I recently returned from a weeklong vacation in Belize. It was an awesome trip and, of course, I brought a fishing pole! Stay tuned for some highlights and lessons learned at sea in next week’s Fish Rap column.
Jordan Rodriguez has been fishing Idaho waters since he was a teen. Share your fish stories, adventures, tips and tricks at outdoors @idahostatesman.com.