Fishing season is in transition across our region. As cooler weather sets in and stream flows taper off in most local rivers, many anglers will turn their attention to trout until ice fishing season arrives. You still have options, though — here are a few ideas to get you started:
Owyhee River (Trout)
October is a fabulous month for catching brown trout — the trophy species the Owyhee River in eastern Oregon is known for. Browns are fall spawners, and October is usually when big fish start congregating.
They’ll be actively feeding and will strike dry flies, nymphs, streamers, leeches, spinners, spoons and crankbaits. If you really want to get adventurous, large mouse-patterned lures and flies often attract big, aggressive browns. When the fish start pairing off to spawn, it’s best to leave them alone (and watch your step to avoid trampling nests).
Brown trout are catch-and-release on the Owyhee. You can also catch fat rainbow trout, which often follow spawning fish upriver. Bring your Oregon license.
Getting there: Head west to Oregon through Parma and fish downstream of Owyhee Reservoir.
Swan Falls Reservoir (Bass)
If nature cooperates, we should have a couple weeks of quality bass fishing remaining, particularly for smallmouth, which tolerate cooler temperatures. The reservoir above Swan Falls Dam is a fun spot for fall bass, which should still be hanging out fairly shallow, feeding on minnows and crayfish. Tube jigs, swimbaits, crankbaits and spinnerbaits are good lures to start with. If you can’t find the bite, try fishing in deeper water with drop-shot soft plastics.
You might also bump into largemouth bass, perch or crappie at Swan Falls. Flows have increased below the dam, but you can still find bass, catfish and sturgeon there if you find a fishable spot.
Getting there: Drive through Kuna and head south on Swan Falls Road to reach the dam.
Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir (Walleye, Bass)
Walleye are on the chew at Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir south of Twin Falls! These fish are a cool, rare find in Idaho, and I recently checked them out with local walleye expert Andy Fiolka. I’ll be doing a deep dive on Salmon Falls next week. Until then, I’ll say this: fish shallow with crankbaits and swimbaits, and be prepared to catch at least as many feisty smallmouth as walleye.
Getting there: Take I-84 to Twin Falls and follow Highway 93 south to the desert past Rogerson.
Boise River (Trout)
With shorter daylight hours, the Boise River offers a quick escape home to plenty of rainbow trout, brown trout and whitefish, all of which are active right now. Flows are angler-friendly, too. Pheasant tail nymphs, streamer patterns, spinners, Rapalas and bait are all good choices for tempting a trout. There’s plenty of river access through town, and you can always go exploring off the beaten path.
Join me for Facebook Live!
Fall fishing will be the topic of a Statesman Facebook Live chat at noon next Wednesday, Oct. 23. Watch for my pre-chat posts and submit a question — or ask one during the chat — for a chance to win prizes!
Fillet & Fry Class
My fillet class on Nov. 6 is nearly sold out, but we are offering a second section on Nov. 13. Both classes will be offered from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the JUMP Share Studio in downtown Boise. Participants will get a hands-on lesson on how to fillet, fry and enjoy freshly caught fish. All supplies are provided, and students get their own fillet knife to keep. To sign up, visit 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.