Fishing

Will this rain go away already? Here’s why it’s good for anglers

Bass fishing heats up at Lake Lowell

Idaho Statesman fishing columnist Jordan Rodriguez tackles Lake Lowell bass.
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Idaho Statesman fishing columnist Jordan Rodriguez tackles Lake Lowell bass.

Now that “Game of Thrones” is officially over, I think it’s finally safe to say it: Summer is coming.

But lately, it’s been hard to feel those summertime vibes. I looked out my window this morning and there was a small lake forming in my backyard. If only it had some bluegill swimming in it!

Weekend weather has been particularly precarious, it seems — almost as if Mother Nature is conspiring against our fishing plans. But fear not. Clear skies are sure to appear before long, and with them will come the long, warm summer days that make Idaho such a great place to fish.

In the meantime, here are a few ways these early season rains actually benefit anglers in the long run:

More water, more fish

Combined with a healthy snowpack, this rainy spring is helping keep Idaho’s river and reservoir systems flush with water. This will boost fishing conditions in a variety of ways.

For one, it ensures that fisheries where water supply is a concern — think irrigation reservoirs like Ben Ross, Indian Creek and Little Camas — will retain enough water to sustain populations of fish. This will benefit anglers throughout the summer and fall, not to mention guarding against the winterkill that often occurs if reservoir levels get too low before freezing temperatures arrive.

Ample water also allows bass and panfish to spawn in safe, favorable areas while guarding against quick drawdowns that could leave nests stranded. And while high flows make river fishing difficult, they also portend friendlier conditions later in the year while helping flush steelhead and salmon smolt to the Pacific Ocean.

Fishing in the Rain

I’ve never minded fishing in wet conditions. Sure, I’d rather have a bluebird day, but if you come prepared, fishing in the rain is totally doable.

For one, I find that fish are often most active on cloudy days. And you can’t have rain without clouds, so that’s a win. If you do decide to brave the elements, make sure to dress in warm, water resistant layers and to formulate an exit strategy in case things get ugly. While rain can’t cause too much danger on its own, high winds or lightning are definite reasons to get off the water (or at least wait out the storm in the truck).

Free Bait!

This one might seem silly, but bear with me. If you fish with worms but don’t enjoy paying $3 per dozen or digging up your yard to find them, have I got a deal for you!

All you have to do is fill an old worm container with dirt and, after a heavy rain, take a quick walk around the block. You’ll be surprised how many big, juicy night crawlers have washed up on the sidewalk. You can easily scoop up plenty of bait for your next trip, and put your $3 toward a new lure or gadget instead.

Tight lines!

Jordan Rodriguez has been fishing Idaho waters since he was a teen. Share your fish stories, adventures, tips and tricks with him at tightlinesboise@gmail.com or visit www.tightlines208.com.

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