Watch Idaho Power release 50,000 rainbow trout into C.J. Strike Reservoir
Every Friday, we’ll post fishing writer Jordan Rodriguez’s weekly report in the Playing Outdoors blog. His column appears three Tuesdays per month.
Fishing options continue to be limited by high water in the rivers and unstable conditions in the reservoirs. Here’s a look at a few places to go, and a few to avoid. You can also get geared up for the upcoming season with our annual fishing guide, which includes a look at some of Idaho’s biggest, baddest river monsters.
Local Ponds (Mixed Bag)
The ice has melted off Treasure Valley ponds, and the trout should be biting. Try spinners like Panther Martins, Mepps, Blue Fox and Rooster Tails, or fish with a worm and marshmallow or Power Bait nugget near the bottom. Bass and panfish also might start stirring as the weather warms. For now, fish slowly with crankbaits, jigs or soft plastics to entice a bass.
Getting there: Fish & Game stocks ponds throughout Boise, Meridian, Nampa, Eagle, Middleton and Caldwell.
C.J. Strike Reservoir (Mixed Bag)
It’s truly a mixed bag report out of C.J. Strike. Trout anglers are having some luck, and Fish & Game recently stocked 50,000 hatchery rainbows to add to the mix. Trolling rigs, spinners, Rapalas and bait are the go-to trout setups. It has been tough sledding for bass, however — the winning bag at a tournament last weekend was just three fish. Fish extra slow with jigs, crankbaits or plastics for bass. The fish should start turning on soon. Perch, crappie and bluegill are also available. Fish with small panfish jigs and target schools in 20 to 30 feet of water around rocky points and other structure.
Getting there: Head east on I-84 to Mountain Home, then follow Highway 51 south to Bruneau and Highway 78 west along the south bank to reach the popular access points.
Lucky Peak Reservoir (Trout, Kokanee)
Lucky Peak is off to a good start, especially for trout fishermen from the bank. Worms, shrimp, marshmallows and Power Bait are popular offerings. A few anglers have been trolling for kokanee as well. Pop gear trailed by wedding rings or squid jigs tipped with shoepeg corn will catch fish. Also, at last check, Arrowrock still had ice in most places, but that likely won’t last through our 60-degree weekend.
Getting there: From Boise, take Warm Springs Avenue or Idaho 21 northeast to Lucky Peak.
The flooding continues and conditions are unsafe — not that fishing would be very good anyway given the fast-moving, debris-filled water. Look elsewhere for now. Water levels are up on the Owyhee River as well, but it isn’t flooding, and I have seen a few good reports from fly and spin anglers on the O.
This is typically a great time of year to chase crappie and early-season catfish at Brownlee, but on Thursday, Idaho Power announced drastic dropping of the water levels in anticipation of record snow runoff later this spring. The lake has been drawn down three feet per day for the past week, rendering all established boat launches unusable. Idaho Power estimates it will be May before the docks become available again. Anglers can still find fish from shore, but it might be tricky with the rapidly changing water levels. If you do go, look for schools of crappie in coves with sharp drop-offs, which will allow you to reach them from shore.
Jordan Rodriguez has been fishing Idaho waters since he was a teen. Share your fish stories, adventures, tips and tricks at outdoors @idahostatesman.com.