Outdoors Blog

South Fork Boise River is a solid trout option this month (fishing report, March 3)

Rainbow trout.
Rainbow trout. Special to the Idaho Statesman

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

Conditions have been pretty unpredictable at most of our favorite local fishing holes. Here’s a quick rundown of some fishable options — and be sure to check out Wednesday’s annual Fishing Guide section, which will have a ton of cool content both in the paper and online.

South Fork Boise River (Trout)

I got two reliable reports that flows were friendly and fishing was steady on the South Fork of the Boise last week. Since the main Boise is raging out of control, the South Fork is probably the best option for stream fishing right now. The river is known for big rainbow trout, and you might bump into a few other species, too. Remember the special regulations on the South Fork — no bait and single, barbless hooks only on flies and lures. It’s catch-and-release only right now, and the river closes on March 31.

Getting there: Fish between Arrowrock Reservoir and Anderson Ranch Reservoir.

Hagerman Ponds (Trout)

More than a dozen ponds and small lakes in the Hagerman Wildlife Management Area opened for business on March 1. Most of these waters are generously stocked with rainbow trout — including the Palomino “banana trout” variety — and many also contain bluegill, largemouth bass, and even sturgeon. The forecast calls for chilly temperatures and even some snow next week, but Hagerman is a great bet for bringing home a stringer of trout if you’re willing to bundle up and make the trek. Spinners, worms, Power Bait, flies and Rapalas should all catch some fish.

Getting there: Head east on I-84, take Exit 147, head south and follow the signs to the hatchery.

Clearwater River (Steelhead)

Steelhead fishing continues to produce on the Clearwater, with anglers averaging between 6 and 10 hours per fish caught, according to the latest Fish and Game data. Catch rates have been consistently good all spring, and there are lots of big B-run fish in the mix. Fish with all your go-to steelhead setups, including jig-and-bobber rigs, plugs, streamers, yarn, roe and side-planers. In recent weeks, most of the action is happening on the South Fork Clearwater or the North Fork below Dworshak Dam.

Getting there: Visit the Idaho Fish and Game website for a complete list of salmon counts, special seasons and rules, and the latest harvest reports.

Duck Valley Indian Reservation (Trout)

It was a productive ice fishing season at Duck Valley, but all three lakes have open water now. Sheep Creek and Billy Shaw are closed until April 1, but Mountain View is open for fishing, and anglers should be able to find some hungry fish after ice-off. Try trolling with spinners, Rapalas or pop gear, or throw flies, worms, Power Bait and marshmallows from shore. A day pass is $15, and a season pass costs $85. For the latest fishing and weather reports, call (208) 759-3246.

Getting there: From Boise, go east on I-84 to Mountain Home, then take Idaho 51 south toward the Nevada border.

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