Anglers, never leave home without your fishing gear

Jordan Rodriguez pulled this crappie from Lake Coeur d’Alene on a recent trip to North Idaho.
Jordan Rodriguez pulled this crappie from Lake Coeur d’Alene on a recent trip to North Idaho. Idaho Statesman

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my fishing adventures around Idaho, it’s that just about every body of water has something swimming in it.

Whether it’s an irrigation canal or tiny alpine creek, the presence of water almost always means there are fish nearby. Heck, there’s a ditch near my house that I can step across, and it’s teeming with small fish, bullfrogs and even a family of ducks.

Fishing report: High-mountain lakes hitting their peak

So, if you’re an avid angler like me, the key is to be ready any time a new fishing opportunity presents itself.

Earlier this month, I made my first trip to the Idaho panhandle. It was a business trip for my day job at The College of Idaho, so we flew in, and suitcase space was limited. But I found a way to cram in one small tackle box and my collapsible pole — the same setup I had so much fun with during my fishing adventures in Belize.

Our hotel was less than 2 miles from Lake Coeur d’Alene, so I took the one free evening I had and hiked down to the shoreline. I have to say, I was blown away by Coeur d’Alene — it was beautifully scenic and, on a warm summer evening, it was quite the happening place. My hike ended near the resort area, where hundreds of beachgoers were enjoying the sun, the water and the nearby park. I could hardly believe it — I was the only one with a fishing pole.

I tied on a small tube jig and cast as a small crowd gathered to watch. It didn’t take long before smallmouth bass began attacking the lure. They were small, but the locals seemed impressed.

“Wow!” one teenaged boy said to his mom. “You can actually catch fish in there!”

With no boat and limited elbow room on the crowded beach, it was far from an ideal setup for hardcore fishing. But with parasailers soaring overhead and Coeur d’Alene Resort glimmering in the fading sunlight, I enjoyed every minute of it. I eventually wandered out and fished off the pier, where I hauled in a few more respectable bass and some nice crappie. One family stopped to watch and, when I caught my next bass, the kids came over to “pet” the fish. Their dad gave me a knowing nod of approval. I’d bet my favorite crankbait he’ll be back on that pier soon, fishing rod in hand.

My North Idaho fishing adventure was short, but it was still a lot of fun. I hope to return soon and take a more serious fishing trip to tangle with some northern pike or the monster landlocked chinook salmon for which Coeur d’Alene Lake is known.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to keep my travel-sized fishing setup at the ready. And if Google Maps shows any blue within shouting distance of my next travel destination, you can count me in.

Tight lines!

Jordan Rodriguez has been fishing Idaho waters since he was a teen. Share your fish stories, adventures, tips and tricks at outdoors