Duck Valley Indian Reservation (Trout)
With cooler temperatures, fishing should start picking up at Lake Billy Shaw, Mountain View Reservoir and Sheep Creek Reservoir on the Shoshone-Paiute Reservation. Rainbow trout in the 2-pound range are common, with big fish in excess of 5 pounds possible. Billy Shaw is fly fishing only, while standard tackle is allowed on the other lakes. Nymphs, terrestrials, woolly buggars, spinners, worms and Powerbait are popular choices. A special permit is required, and those are no longer sold at the Tribal Grocery Store. Licenses now are available at the Owyhee (Nev.) Ace Hardware Store.
Getting there: From Boise, go east on I-84 to Mountain Home, then take Idaho 51 south toward the Nevada border.
Boise River (Trout)
It’s a great time of year to fish the Boise. Flows are ideal for tossing spinners, flies or bait into deep pools and riffles. It’s warm enough to do some wading, too. There are lots of fish around the stocking points between Barber Park and the Glenwood Bridge. If you explore some lesser-known areas, there are some nice wild rainbows and even a few browns, which will begin their spawn soon.
Getting there: Trout are stocked between Barber Park and the Glenwood Bridge.
Lucky Peak Reservoir(Mixed Bag)
Water levels are down at Lucky Peak and Arrowrock, but I’m hearing good reports from bank fishermen at both lakes. Trout fishing can be excellent using a worm and a sinker with a marshmallow to keep the bait a few inches off the bottom. Throw crankbaits along the rocky shorelines for smallmouth bass. A small, shiny spinner or a chunk of night crawler will catch just about anything.
Getting there: Take Idaho 21 east to Lucky Peak. Fish shorelines with structure or deep drop-offs.
Big Wood River (Trout)
Fall is a great time to check out the Big Wood River. The trout are plentiful and concentrated in deep pools as the flows drop. The main Big Wood River and Silver Creek are favorites for fly fishermen, and spin fishermen can get in on the action in many sections of the Big Wood. Try nymphs and small dry flies like PMDs, terrestrials, caddis and Royal Wulffs or throw small spinners. Take a map and pay close attention to the regulations, because rules vary depending on the stretch of river.
Getting there: Take I-84 east to Mountain Home and U.S. 20 northeast to Idaho 75.
Local Ponds (Mixed Bag)
The fish are still biting at ponds throughout the Treasure Valley. A variety of species are available, including rainbows, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, perch and catfish. Ponds are a great place to take the kids, or to run after work for a quick weeknight giveaway. Talk to locals or explore on your own to find the hot spots — some ponds that have lots of big fish receive very little fishing pressure. It’s a lot of fun to find and fish your own secret holes.
Getting there: Ponds are available from Boise to Middleton and everywhere in between. Check Idaho Fish and Game’s list of family fishing waters at fishandgame.idaho.gov and get more tips in our fishing guide at IdahoStatesman.com.