September continues to supply us with near-perfect fishing conditions. Local rivers are running at optimal levels for catching trout and bass alike, while moss is starting to clear off lakes, ponds and reservoirs. Here are a few spots worth checking out this time of year — and pack a hoodie, because the fall chill is in the air!
South Fork Boise River (Trout)
It’s hard to beat September fishing on the South Fork — the fish are active and it’s still warm enough to wear short sleeves in the afternoon. Fly anglers are catching some nice rainbow trout on PMDs, nymphs and hopper patterns during the day, with caddis hatches carrying the evening hours. Spin anglers are also catching trout on spinners, spoons and Rapalas.
Remember the special rules on the South Fork — lures and flies are limited to a single, barbless hook, bait is not allowed, and the trout limit is two, none under 20 inches. Bull trout, whitefish, Kokanee and smallmouth bass are also present in the South Fork. Tie good knots! There are monsters out there.
Getting there: Fish between Anderson Ranch Dam and Arrowrock Reservoir.
Snake River (Bass, Catfish)
Smallmouth bass fishing has been on fire in the Snake River as fish have begun loading up on calories before winter. Crankbaits, soft plastics, swimbaits and leech patterns can rack up fish in a hurry, and much of the river is available to boaters and bank anglers alike as flows fluctuate between 6,000 and 7,000 CFS. If you have a raft or boat, try drifting through eddies along rocky drop-offs. From shore, find rocky points to fish from and access deeper current and riffles.
There are lots of smaller bass, but some quality fish usually find your lures, and 20-fish days are not uncommon. Catfish action has slowed a bit, but anglers are still picking up a few channel cats on worms, cut bait, chicken livers and crankbaits.
Getting there: Fish downstream of C.J. Strike Reservoir.
Duck Valley Indian Reservation (Trout)
Early fall usually brings good fishing at Duck Valley, where anglers can chase fat rainbow trout at Mountain View Reservoir, Sheep Creek Reservoir and Lake Billy Shaw. According to the latest reports, anglers are having the most luck fishing right along the weed line, which is easiest from a float tube or boat. Fly anglers are catching fish on damselfly nymphs or dark-colored leeches, while spin anglers are having the most luck with orange spinners and spoons, live worms and Power Bait.
The Shoshone Paiute Tribes recently upgraded the campground at Sheep Creek, and they are also asking anglers to harvest any bass or perch caught in the reservoirs. Duck Valley is pay-to-play, but the fish are usually high quality. Be sure to purchase your license ($15 per day) before you start fishing.
Getting there: From Boise, go east on I-84 to Mountain Home, then take Idaho 51 south.
Fishing for a Good Cause
I want to give a quick shout-out to the Scales of Justice Bass Tournament, happening this weekend at C.J. Strike Reservoir. This tournament pairs juveniles on probation with competitive bass anglers, giving gives the kids an exciting, positive activity that often doubles as their first fishing experience. Good luck to all involved —I hope you catch a pile and have a great time! Learn more on the Ada County website.
You’re Invited to Panfish School!
There are just a few seats left in my next fishing class, Panfish School, happening Thursday, Oct. 3, at the Hilton Garden Inn Boise Spectrum. This class will focus on the top lures, locations and strategies for catching bluegill, crappie and perch. Get all the details and sign up 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.