Fishing conditions remain ideal across much of southern Idaho, with a wide variety of species and waterways available. As we turn the calendar to September, here are a few spots to keep in mind:
Big Wood River (Trout)
An often-overlooked fishery about two hours northeast of Boise, the Big Wood River offers some of the finest trout fishing in the region this time of year. With angler-friendly flows, a pair of waders or swim trunks (disclaimer — there are leeches) is all you need to fish virtually any hole on the river.
The holes tend to be obvious and productive, too, as much of the river is too shallow and fast-moving to hold many fish. Wild rainbow and brown trout are the target species, and there are some dandies. I recently made a quick stop off and caught two 14-inch browns and two 17-inch rainbows flinging Rapalas and spinners on my ultralight rod. Flies would certainly catch fish, too. Hopper patterns should be money this time of year, along with streamers, leeches and bead-head nymphs. Watch your step wading, as the brown trout will begin building their redds and spawning by the end of September.
Getting there: The river follows Highway 75 between the towns of Bellevue and Sun Valley. Be sure to keep track of your location, as fishing regulations vary.
Mores Creek (Kokanee)
It’s time for the annual Kokanee spawning run, which means fish will traveling up Mores Creek and other tributaries of Lucky Peak, Arrowrock and Anderson Ranch reservoirs. Spawning Kokanee are one of Idaho’s coolest natural wonders. The fish turn fire engine red with a bright green head and toothy hooked jaws, and you can sometimes watch them migrate by the hundreds.
Spawning salmon are notoriously difficult to catch, although they will occasionally strike flashy spoons, streamers or salmon eggs. Don’t overlook trout fishing — they often follow the salmon run to feed on the eggs.
Getting there: Take Highway 21 northeast past Lucky Peak Reservoir.
Lake Lowell (Bass, Catfish)
The water level is dropping at Lake Lowell, but late-season fishing can be very productive. As the water recedes, the weed line and other vegetative cover are left high and dry. Bass — which become aggressive as they sense the end of the feeding season approaching — will hold to underwater rock piles, dams and other submerged cover.
Target them with crankbaits, swimbaits and soft plastics. I’ve also caught late-season catfish at Lowell using worms, garlic marshmallows and other scented baits. Like many lakes in our region, Lowell sometimes experiences algae blooms. Algae won’t affect the fishing much, but it’s a good idea to stay out of the water and leave your pets at home. Boating season closes Sept. 30.
Getting there: Head south from Nampa or Caldwell to reach the boat launches.
You’re Invited to Panfish School!
I’m excited to announce my newest fishing class, happening Thursday, Oct. 3, at the Hilton Garden Inn Boise Spectrum. Panfish School will focus on the top lures, locations and strategies for catching bluegill, crappie and perch. Get all the details and sign up on my website at www.tightlines208.com.
Jordan Rodriguez has been fishing Idaho waters since he was a teen. Share your fish stories, adventures, tips and tricks with him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.tightlines208.com.