Bass fishing tips from a high school champ
Every week, we’ll post fishing writer Jordan Rodriguez’s weekly report in the Playing Outdoors blog. His column appears three Tuesdays per month.
Swan Falls Reservoir (Bass)
The reservoir area above Swan Falls Dam is a personal favorite of mine. It’s underrated as a smallmouth bass fishery, and late summer is a great time to be out there. You really need a boat to fish the reservoir properly (if you are on foot, river access below the dam is plentiful, and the bass fishing is comparable). Put in at the boat launch and zip upstream in search of boulders, points, weed lines, eddies, drop-offs and other bassy structure. Tube and grub jigs are go-to lures for Snake River smallmouths, and any kind of soft plastic or crankbait that resembles a crayfish usually attracts some attention. On two recent trips, we had a fun top water bite for the last hour or so of daylight. To be honest, catch rates and fish size have been below average for me this summer compared to past years. But I’ve still caught some really nice fish, and it’s hard to beat a scenic, evening bass trip just 45 minutes out of Boise.
Getting there: Take Meridian Road south through Kuna, turn left on Swan Falls Road and follow it 22 miles to the dam (follow the dirt road south of the dam to reach the boat launch).
Alpine Lakes (Trout)
It’s prime time for fishing high mountain lakes and streams. Cutthroat, rainbow and brook trout should be biting on flies (try hoppers, ants, leeches and streamers), spinners, Rapalas and bait. Packing in a float tube adds a ton of flexibility and eliminates problems fishing tricky shorelines. This can be especially helpful for fly-fishing, as steep, overgrown banks are no fun for back casting. A few disclaimers for alpine fishing: we’ve had some cooler nights in the Treasure Valley, and you should plan for much chillier temperatures at high elevations. If you plan to camp overnight, bring warm clothing and blankets (especially since fires are prohibited in most campgrounds). Also, with the eclipse happening Monday, the roads to Stanley, McCall and other mountain destinations are sure to be crowded. Camping for the weekend to fish and catch the eclipse would make an awesome trip, but if you need to get back to town quickly, it’s probably best to avoid the mountains this weekend.
Getting there: There are dozens of alpine lakes and streams in the wilderness above Cascade, McCall and Stanley.
C.J. Strike Reservoir (Perch)
It seems like something is always biting at C.J. Strike, and right now, that something is perch. I’ve seen some great stringers of quality fish coming out of the lake this month, mostly from anglers fishing in and around the narrows. Worms, panfish jigs, cut bait and small crankbaits are the most popular offerings. Use your depth finder to locate fish in anywhere from 15-to-40 feet of water. Crappie, bass, bluegill, catfish and trout are also possibilities at C.J. Strike. Trout fishing should pick up in a few weeks when the water temperature starts to cool. Bass have been hit-or-miss, but they’ll gobble up soft plastics, jigs and crankbaits—just keep working and stay mobile until you find some takers.
Getting there: Take I-84 east to Mountain Home and Highway 51 south toward Bruneau and Grandview.