Outdoors Blog

Fast-running rivers make for challenging angling (fishing report, Feb. 24)

If you’re fishing for brown trout on the Owyhee River in Oregon, keep in mind that they’re catch-and-release only.
If you’re fishing for brown trout on the Owyhee River in Oregon, keep in mind that they’re catch-and-release only. outdoors@idahostatesman.com

Every Friday, we’ll post fishing writer Jordan Rodriguez’s weekly report in the Playing Outdoors blog. His column appears three Tuesdays per month.

Owyhee River (trout)

Until things settle down on the Boise River, the Owyhee is probably your best bet for stream fishing. The water is running low and slow, but most of the ice is gone and shore access is decent. It’s pretty slow, tactical fishing right now. Super-small midge patterns work well when the hatch is on. You can pick up a few fish by swinging streamer and leech patterns through eddies and current tail-outs. Spinners, spoons and Rapalas also work — just remember you need an Oregon license, and brown trout are catch-and-release only.

Getting there: Fish downstream from Adrian, Ore.

Lucky Peak Reservoir (trout, kokanee)

With ice fishing options melting away and rivers on the rise, open lakes and reservoirs might be the best option for the next few weeks. Early-season shore fishing for trout is on at Lucky Peak, and few brave souls have taken out boats to troll for kokanee salmon. Baits such as worms, marshmallows, shrimp and Power Bait nuggets tend to work best from shore. Fish them with a sinker near the bottom. Spinners and spoons might catch fish from the bank. If you’re trolling, pop gear trailed by squid jigs or wedding rings tipped with shoepeg corn is usually the way to go. Be careful launching your boat and keep an eye on the sky. Just last week, Boise experienced high winds, heavy rain and even a hailstorm. Also, as of this writing, Arrowrock Reservoir above Lucky Peak was still mostly frozen.

Getting there: From Boise, take Warm Springs Avenue or Idaho 21 northeast to Lucky Peak.

Lake Cascade (ice fishing)

The ice is holding at Lake Cascade, and anglers have been catching some monster perch. Just last week, I saw multiple fish of more than 16 inches posted on various bragging boards, and this is the time of year when record-breaking fish tend to be caught. If you get on a school of jumbo perch, double-check your knots and strap in — the next tug on your line could be the first 3-pound perch in Idaho history. Swim jigs and small lures such as Chubby Darters, Jigging Rapalas and Swedish Pimples tipped with worms, cut bait, mealworms or dead minnows are the baits of choice. When in doubt, tie on something perch-colored.

Big rainbow trout are always a possibility, too. For the rest of the season, conditions will fluctuate a bit. It’s going to be pretty slushy and soft around the edges, especially on warm days, but there’s still more than a foot of ice. Most anglers are accessing the lake from the Poison Creek boat launch near Tamarack and working their way north toward Buttercup or south toward Sugarloaf Island.

Getting there: Take Idaho 55 north to Cascade. For the latest lake conditions and fishing reports, call Tackle Tom’s at (208) 382-4367.

Boise River (trout)

Trout fishing was decent through the middle of last week, but with rapidly rising water levels, the Boise River is a stay-away for now. Between Feb. 15 and Feb. 21, the river rose from less than 1,000 CFS (cubic feet per second) to more than 3,000 CFS. It’s going to be high, cold, fast, and no good for fishing.

A jar of fishing marshmallows costs about $4 at most local sporting good shops. If you want to get creative, there are online recipes for making and flavoring your own.

Lure of the Week: marshmallows

We’ll go with a bait this week — marshmallows. They come in a variety of colors and flavors, but my favorite type are Mike’s Glitter Mallows, made by Atlas Mike’s bait company. Marshmallows come in handy for a few reasons. For one, they float, so they work great for getting worms and other kinds of bait to hover a few inches off the bottom. Secondly, their vibrant colors and scents attract fish. As the bait sits in the water, it slowly dissolves, leaving a tempting scent trail.

I mostly use marshmallows while fishing in lakes or ponds. They don’t stay on a hook very well, so they aren’t ideal for use in fast currents. Trout seem to really like marshmallows, and catfish are big fans of the garlic and cheese flavors. I’ve also seen a few perch and even a largemouth bass grab a ’mallow.

Let’s go fishing

I’m teaching a fishing class through The College of Idaho’s Community Learning program this spring, and I’d love to have some readers participate. The course will be held from 6-8 p.m. on April 18 and 20 and also includes an 8 a.m.-to-noon fishing trip Saturday, April 22. The cost is $59, which includes eight hours of tips, tricks, instruction and more. Register today by calling 459-5188 or visiting cofifun.com.

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