Trolling picks up at Anderson Ranch (fishing report, May 4)

Kokanee salmon are the primary target for anglers at Anderson Ranch Reservoir northeast of Mountain Home.
Kokanee salmon are the primary target for anglers at Anderson Ranch Reservoir northeast of Mountain Home. Special to the Idaho Statesman

Anderson Ranch Reservoir (Kokanee)

Trolling has been productive this spring at Anderson Ranch Reservoir. The action varies, but most trips are producing at least a few fish and, on good days, anglers might flirt with the 25-fish Kokanee limit. Flashers and pop gear trailed by squid jigs, wedding rings and other flashy trolling lures tipped with corn are the go-to setup. Orange, pink, silver and red have been productive colors. Most anglers are catching fish in 15 to 20 feet of water — watch your fish finder and change up your depth if the bite slows down. As an added bonus, Anderson is stocked with landlocked Chinook salmon, which can grow to 2 feet in length. Chinook often will hit on Kokanee setups, as will trout. Anderson also can be a productive smallmouth bass lake. It hosted a tournament last weekend, and I’ve seen several reports from bass anglers boating nice fish this spring.

Getting there: Head east on I-84, take exit 95 and follow U.S. 20 northeast to Anderson Ranch Dam Road or forest road 61 to Curlew boat launch.

C.J. Strike Reservoir (Mixed Bag)

Fishing is starting to pick up for multiple species at C.J. Strike. The bass bite is hit-and-miss, but anglers have been catching some nice smallmouth and largemouth on crankbaits, jigs and soft plastics. It has also been a productive spring for crappie anglers, who are catching fish in and around the narrows on small panfish jigs and crankbaits. C.J. has been more of a perch fishery in recent years, but I’m seeing quite a few crappie, including a couple huge slabs up to 14 inches long. Bluegill and perch also might jump in on the panfish bite. If trout is your game, trolling with pop gear near the dam can be productive. And the sturgeon crowd has been picking up fish from shore on cut bait and pickled herring.

Getting there: Take I-84 east to Mountain Home and Highway 51 south toward Bruneau and Grandview.

Lake Cascade (Mixed Bag)

Cascade is ice-free, and anglers are back to pursuing jumbo yellow perch and rainbow trout on the open water. Trolling with Rapalas and other crankbaits is a productive method for both species. Fishing from shore with worms and power bait on a slip-sinker or slip-bobber rig also will produce some fish. Don’t overlook Cascade as a smallmouth bass fishery, either. In spite of chilly water temps, I’m already seeing bass anglers picking up fish on twisty-tail grubs, tube jigs and other bottom-bouncing presentations.

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 River (Bass, Catfish)

The river scene is still running high and fast across southwestern Idaho, but anglers are still catching fish on the Snake. The smallmouth bite really seems to be picking up, with fish hitting tube jigs, jerk baits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and drop-shot soft plastics. Catfish are also becoming more active by the day as the water warms. Worms, cut bait and chicken livers are the best baits for tempting a big cat. Be safe out there — fish with a partner and avoid risky situations amidst the cold and unpredictable conditions.

Getting there: Fish between C.J. Strike and Brownlee Reservoirs.

Come Fishing with Me!

I’m teaching a fishing class this summer through The College of Idaho’s Community Learning program in Caldwell. Join me June 12-16 for “Stop Fishing, Start Catching,” a fun and informative class for anglers of all ages and ability levels. The course costs $69, which includes four hours of weeknight classroom instruction and activities (6-8 p.m. June 12 and 14 in the Marty Holly Athletics Center) and a four-hour Saturday morning fishing trip (8 a.m.-noon June 16). Every participant receives a tackle goodie bag, plus chances to win awesome prizes! This class usually sells out quickly, so reserve your spot early. Register online at For more info, call (208) 459-5188 or email

Jordan Rodriguez has been fishing Idaho waters since he was a teen. Share your fish stories, adventures, tips and tricks at