Fishing

Get that fishing fix close to home

Have gas prices cut into your fishing budget? An easy way to beat sky-high fuel costs is to fish closer to home. There are good fishing waters within the Treasure Valley and nearby.

You might not get mountain scenery or miles of river to yourself, but you can you hit local fishing holes after work, or for a few hours on weekends without spending a bunch of travel time and money. Local rivers, ponds, lakes and reservoirs offer not only good fishing, but a great variety of fish. You can catch trout, bass, crappie, whitefish, bluegill, catfish and other species.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game stocks trout monthly unless water conditions are poor and the fish won't survive, which is pretty common during summer.

Here are some places to check out:

BOISE RIVER

The upper section from Lucky Peak Dam to Star has trout and whitefish, as well as some nongame fish. F&G liberally stocks the upper section with hatchery rainbow trout, who hang out with some of their wild cousins.

Planted trout are fairly easy to catch on bait, lures or flies. The wild rainbow and brown trout are considerably more wily, and you will have to work for them.

In the fall F&G also stocks steelhead from Hells Canyon, giving anglers a chance to catch a trophy-sized fish.

Downstream from Star, the Boise River starts turning into a warmwater fishery, with bass being the predominate game fish. Access to the lower river can be difficult because of private property.

PAYETTE RIVER

This is not a very popular fishing river, but that doesn't mean you should ignore it. The river can produce some good bass fishing in its lower stretches, and you can catch a few trout and whitefish between Banks and Horseshoe Bend.

SNAKE RIVER

It is a popular warmwater fishing spot for bass and catfish. It is also home to the largest fish species in Idaho, the white sturgeon. These prehistoric giants are limited to catch-and-release fishing and can grow up to 9 feet long.

LUCKY PEAK RESERVOIR

This is Boise's backyard reservoir. It is stocked with trout, kokanee and has a self-sustaining bass population. F&G plants about 200,000 kokanee every year, which provide trollers lots of fish. The best trout fishing is usually from shore.

LAKE LOWELL

This is a great fishing spot for folks on the west side of the Treasure Valley. Anglers regularly catch bass, crappie, bluegill, catfish and carp. The lake also is stocked with cutthroat trout, but it is better known for its warmwater fish.

The lake is open to motorized boating between April 15 and Sept. 30.

There are also boating restrictions during the nonmotorized season. To get more information, log onto www.fws.gov/deerflat/fishing.htm

VETERANS PARK POND

The pond is located near Veterans Memorial Parkway and State Street. Walk on the paths toward the Boise River, then head upstream to the pond. It is stocked with trout and also has bass and bluegill.

PARKCENTER POND

It is in East Boise off ParkCenter Boulevard. Take Broadway and turn east on Beacon Street/ParkCenter Boulevard. This pond has several docks and good access for people who are disabled. The pond has trout, bass, bluegill and catfish.

QUINNS POND

This large pond is off the Greenbelt near the Boise River. You can get there by taking 27th Street between Main Street and State Street, then turning west on Pleasanton. There is a small parking area and access to the Greenbelt where Pleasanton dead ends. The pond has trout, bass, bluegill and catfish.

WILSON PONDS

Located south of Nampa, these spring-fed ponds provide easy access and year-round fishing.

They're off South Powerline Road near the Fish and Game's regional office. The ponds are frequently stocked with trout, and there's also a catch-and-release pond with big trout, which is restricted to artificial lures and flies.

MERRILL POND

This Meridian Pond is at the corner of Idaho 44 and Eagle Road and is stocked with trout when water conditions allow it. It also has bass and panfish, and if fishing is slow, there are bars and a playground nearby, depending on your age.

SETTLER'S POND

This Meridian fishing spot is at the corner of Ustick Road and Meridian Road. It is stocked with rainbow trout when water conditions allow, and there are some small bass and bluegill along the shoreline.

SAWYERS POND

This pond is west of Emmett on Idaho 52. Turn left onto Mill Road near milepost 30 and travel seven-tenths of a mile to Sales Yard Road.

Turn right and follow Sales Yard Road for two-tenths of a mile to Sawyers Pond. The pond has a small boat ramp and docks that offer good access for people with disabilities. It has trout, bass, crappie and bluegill.

Roger Phillips: 373-6615

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