Lots of trout are getting stocked this month and it’s prime time for local ponds. Water has warmed, but with the warm weather we’ve had this spring, these could warm up and get weedy earlier than normal. Take advantage of them now. Idaho Fish and Game’s free fishing trailer will be at Wilson Pond in Nampa from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 7; at Weiser Pond from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 9, and at McDevitt Pond in Meridian from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 13.
Getting there: Ponds are located throughout the Treasure Valley.
CLEARWATER RIVER (CHINOOK)
Here are your stats: About 30,100 chinook had crossed Lower Granite through May 3, and the 10-year-average for that date is 4,340 chinook. Anglers caught 263 fish through May 3 with a catch rate of 35 hours per fish. The river was flowing 27,700 cfs at Peck on May 6. It’s early in the run, but the fish are quickly moving through the river systems. Get there ASAP.
Getting there: Take U.S. 95 north to Lewiston.
You can get lots of details above, but don’t forget there are still plenty of big bass in the lake and this is arguably the best month to fish for them. Work the edges of brush and weed lines, or any suitable structure near shore for largemouths. Look for rocky structure such as the dams for smallmouths. There’s also catfish and some crappie, bluegill and perch in the lake, but they can be hard to find. Remember it’s catch and release fishing for bass until July 1.
Getting there: Go south from Nampa or Caldwell.
DUCK VALLEY RESERVATION
May is traditionally the best month for trout fishing at the reservation. All three reservoirs have good fishing, but always be aware of weather conditions because it can get windy there. Mountain View is good for all types of fishing, including bait fishing from shore and trolling. Fly anglers seem to prefer Billy Shaw and Sheep Creek. There’s great camping at the reservation, too.
Getting there: Take Interstate 84 to Mountain Home and Idaho 51 to the reservation.
C.J. STRIKE RESERVOIR
This is another reservoir that comes into its prime in May. There are lots of different kinds of fish available and often lots of them, especially perch, crappie and bluegill. Fish rocky structure for smallmouths, and they also move into backwaters and sloughs in the spring to spawn.
Getting there: Take Interstate 84 to Mountain Home, Idaho 51 to Bruneau and west on Idaho 78.
Good fishing, and the browns are taking tons of bugs off the surface. There are lots of different insects hatching, so you may have to figure out which insects the fish are feeding on. The river is flowing about 120 cfs. Expect crowds. It’s been packed lately.
Getting there: Fish upstream from Adrian, Ore.
Lots of people are catching catfish and some people are catching lots of them. More good reports about smallmouths downstream from Swan Falls Dam, but fish seem to be small. But the whole river from Swan Falls to Marsing (and beyond) fishes well for bass. It’s a great time of year to explore the river because it’s currently low and the weeds haven’t grown yet. Learn it now and it will pay dividends later.
Getting there: Fish between Swan Falls and Marsing.
SALMON RIVER AT RIGGINS (CHINOOK)
Anglers caught 14 fish below Hammer Creek through May 3 and catch rates were 53 hours per per fish. The river was flowing 26,600 at Whitebird on May 6. Low river flows mean the fish will get upstream fast. The Rapid River Hatchery had two chinook return so far this season. It’s still early, but the big river and the Little Salmon are likely to fish earlier than usual this year. Peak of the run usually hits around the first week of June, but that’s likely to be a week or two early this year.
Getting there: Take U.S. 95 north to Riggins.