Every Monday, we’ll post fishing writer Jordan Rodriguez’s weekly report in the Playing Outdoors blog. His column appears three Tuesdays per month.
C.J. Strike Reservoir (Trout)
I’ve been getting some good reports from C.J. Strike over the past couple of weeks, mostly from trout anglers. A few guys are still getting out on the water and trolling with spinners, spoons and wedding rings, which have been productive. There’s also bank fishing access near the dam, boat launches and campgrounds. Worms, Power Bait and marshmallows seem to be the baits of choice. Anglers still might be able to pick up some perch, especially from a boat. Try to find a cloud on your fish finder and drop small jigs tipped with worm. Bonus bass, catfish, crappie and bluegill have been known to join the party, but you can only catch them if you brave the cold and get out there!
Getting there: Take I-84 east toward Mountain Home and head south.
Salmon and Clearwater Rivers (Steelhead)
Angling pressure is winding down as winter conditions are starting to limit access and keep many fishermen off the chilly waters. Even so, catch rates remain decent on some stretches, with anglers averaging 6 to 19 hours per fish on the Salmon and 7 to 24 hours per fish on the Clearwater, according to Idaho Fish and Game’s latest harvest reports. Overall, the bite has slowed, but jigs tipped with shrimp seemed to be the go-to tackle for those still catching fish. Fall steelhead season ends Dec. 31. After that, you’ll need to purchase a new steelhead permit and a 2017 license for the spring season.
Getting there: Visit the Idaho Fish and Game website for a complete list of salmon and steelhead fish counts, season information, rules, and the latest harvest reports.
Lake Cascade, Horsethief Reservoir and Warm Lake (Ice Fishing)
Horsethief Reservoir is frozen over. My only confirmed report had the ice at two inches thick as of the middle of last week. At a local sporting goods store, I did hear rumor of one group ice fishing at Horsethief on Thursday. They might have been braver than most, or they might have found some areas with safe ice (four inches is the recommended minimum). Either way, if current weather patterns hold, we should soon see good ice fishing conditions at Horsethief, which is a nice trout fishery. Cascade has some ice building at both ends, but it will be a few more weeks until it freezes over completely. Ice fishing usually becomes available on the north end first. It will likely be Christmas or later before there’s fishable ice, but I’ll keep readers posted every week. Warm Lake usually follows a similar schedule as Cascade, trailing Horsethief by a few weeks.
Getting there: These ice fishing destinations are all located north of Boise up Highway 55. For the latest conditions and fishing reports, call Tackle Tom’s at (208) 382-4367.
LURE OF THE WEEK
Krocodile Spoon: This week’s featured lure is a versatile presentation that can be trolled, retrieved or jigged through current or flat water. Spoons are a fairly simple concept — they imitate a small fish, which is on the menu for virtually all sportfish species. The Krocodile seems to give off a particularly deadly wobble, and it comes in a wide variety of color and finish patterns to help anglers match whatever prey species they are trying to imitate. As a general rule, I opt for colored lures on cloudy days and shiny lures (silver or gold finishes) on sunny days. Many anglers think of spoons as a trout lure, but they will catch just about anything that swims. I’ve used them to catch trout, finicky kokanee and Chinook salmon, perch and more. I even caught an exotic trunkfish on a silver Krocodile down in Belize! As an added bonus, spoons are easy to adapt to a single, barbless hook if you want to throw one in the South Fork of the Boise, the Owyhee, or other waters where barbless tackle is required or recommended. Krocodile spoons range in size from 3/16-ounce to ½-ounce, and they are available in most local sporting goods stores for $3 to $6 (or a little more for the bigger models).
Jordan Rodriguez has been fishing Idaho waters since he was a teen. Share your fish stories, adventures, tips and tricks at outdoors @idahostatesman.com.