Horsethief is open to public fish salvage through Oct. 20. Fish and Game will begin draining the reservoir in early September to rid the lake of invasive bullheads, which were illegally introduced. Under salvage rules, all size and bag limits are lifted, meaning licensed anglers can keep any and all fish. Netting and snagging are allowable methods of fishing — firearms, chemicals and electricity are not. It’s an unfortunate situation, but anglers might as well stock the freezer rather than let all those fish go to waste. The bullheads are edible, too. Clean and prepare them as you would a catfish.
Getting there: Take Idaho 55 north to Cascade, turn right on Warm Lake Road and follow it about 8 miles in to the reservoir.
Bass action still isn’t has hot as it has been in recent years, but determined anglers are catching fish, including some big largemouth from shore near the dams. Soft plastic lures are good bass baits along with jigs, swimbaits, crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Topwater lures like frogs, buzzbaits and poppers work early and late in the day — and the explosive strike is worth the effort. Live worms, crickets and other baits will catch bluegill, perch, catfish and bass. The limit is two bass, and none between 12-16 inches.
Getting there: Head south from Nampa or Caldwell. All three boat launches are operational.
If a busy summer schedule clogs your weekends, try a quick trip to one of the Treasure Valley’s public ponds. Fish and Game stocks rainbow trout — including some big ones — throughout the area. Some ponds have big largemouth bass, and many are good destinations for bluegill and other pan fish. The early summer heatwave was tough on fish in the smaller, shallower ponds, but with temperatures back to normal, the fishing should turn on. Some of the ponds are accessible to small, non-motorized watercraft.
Getting there: Ponds are available from Boise to Middleton, and everywhere in between. Fish and Game has a list of family fishing waters at fishandgame.idaho.gov.
The next month or so is prime time for fishing Idaho’s numerous alpine lakes. Get a trail map and get after it. Fly fishermen can have a blast watching cutthroat and brook trout slurp dry flies and terrestrials. Small lures like Panther Martins work well for spin fishermen who can get in on the fly action by using floatant and a clear bobber.
Getting there: The McCall, Cascade and Stanley areas have dozens of lakes to explore. Trips range from one-hour hikes to multiday excursions.
I try to list different spots every week in the fishing report, but the Snake has been too good to ignore. It’s getting weedy, but smallmouth bass are still freight-training anything that looks like a crayfish, and catfish anglers are landing nice channels and flatheads up and down the river. It’s a great time to get out and explore new areas. Popular access points include Swan Falls Dam, Celebration Park, Bruneau and Marsing.
Getting there: The fishing is good nearly anywhere between C.J. Strike and Brownlee reservoirs.