Outdoors Blog

Slow start to the season at Owyhee Reservoir, Lake Lowell (fishing report, March 31)

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 Reservoir (Mixed Bag)

I fished Owyhee last weekend, and it was tough sledding. The reservoir is high and murky, and water temperatures were in the mid-to-high 40s — less than ideal for bass fishing. We battled hard and managed a few fish, and the ones we did catch were high quality. We looked around for schools of crappie, but failed to locate any. In general, the farther from the dam we went, the water got a little warmer, and it seemed like most boats were heading up-reservoir quite a ways (be sure to bring a gas can, just to be safe). We caught our fish on slowly retrieved spinnerbaits and plastics pitched into submerged cover. If water temperatures creep into the 50s, the bass bite should pick up — there’s a tournament there this weekend, and I’ll be curious to see how folks do. If nothing else, it’s a new adventure and a scenic boat ride. Make sure you grab an Oregon day license if you go.

Getting there: Head southwest to Adrian, Ore., and follow the Owyhee River past the dam.

Lake Lowell (Bass)

I’m starting to see a few largemouth come out of Lowell. They’re still a bit sluggish, but if you hit it right, you should be able to pick up a few overachievers on slowly retrieved crankbaits, spinnerbaits or jigs. Lowell doesn’t open to boat traffic until April 15, so anglers are restricted to shore for now. Dams, coves and the canal outlets are good places to try. Or, you can get a jump on the boating crowd by venturing out in a canoe or kayak. Once the weather warms up, lakes like Lowell that aren’t directly tied to river systems are probably going to be the best fishing spots this spring. It just hasn’t quite turned on yet.

Getting there: Head south from Nampa or Caldwell.

Local Ponds (Mixed Bag)

Ponds continue to be the most productive fishing holes in our wild and wacky spring. Fish and Game has stocked plenty of pan-sized rainbows already, and more are on the way in April. Plus, many ponds have hungry schools of bluegill, established bass populations, catfish and the giant brood stock trout that can really make things interesting. I recommend worms, Power Bait, marshmallows or a combination thereof for trout. For bass, fish slow with jigs, soft plastics or crankbaits. Panfish will take worms, small jigs or a live cricket. Don’t be afraid to explore new ponds — there are dozens to choose from, and each has its own personality and available species.

Getting there: Fish and Game stocks trout in ponds throughout the Treasure Valley, including Boise, Meridian, Nampa, Caldwell, Emmett, Star and Middleton.

Lake Cascade (Mixed Bag)

The ice is completely off at Cascade, and shore fishing is on near the dam and boat launches. Anglers have been having the most luck on trout thus far, usually by fishing with bait on a slip sinker or slip bobber setup. It hasn’t been red hot, but fish are being caught. Most years, some of the biggest trout of the season are caught shortly after ice-off. A few boats have gone out in search of perch, but the bite hasn’t been hot yet. The north end of the reservoir near Poison Creek is usually a good place to start looking for perch, which will take small jigs and crankbaits tipped with worms or cut bait.

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

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