Bass fishing heats up at Lake Lowell
Every Friday, we’ll post fishing writer Jordan Rodriguez’s weekly report in the Playing Outdoors blog. His column appears three Tuesdays per month.
Lake Lowell (Bass)
It’s opening weekend at Lake Lowell! Saturday marks the first day of the boating season, and it will be busy with more than 100 boats expected for the Boise Bass Busters Open Tournament. Sunday might be the day to target if you are looking for more elbow room. Either way, it’s exciting to have another fishing option in this spring of difficult conditions. Lowell is extremely full, not to mention a bit colder and cloudier than usual, which is to be expected. But it’s also full of largemouth bass, many of which haven’t seen a lure since Labor Day. Folks have been catching a few fish from shore over the past few weeks, but nothing crazy. With the cool water temperatures, slow fishing jigs, soft plastics, crankbaits and spinnerbaits is probably the way to go. There should be tons of submerged trees, shrubs and brush piles to explore thanks to the high water. Remember: bass fishing is catch-and-release only through the end of June to protect the spawn. Catfish, bluegill, crappie and perch are also possibilities at Lowell.
Getting there: Head south from Nampa or Caldwell.
Brownlee Reservoir (Mixed Bag)
The water is still pretty low, but the crappie bite is starting to come around, and the catfish have been going steady for over a month now. From what I’m hearing, the water is still too low to launch a boat from any of the established docks, but there are makeshift dirt and gravel ramps available if you’re feeling adventurous. Or, you can fish from shore. Coves that quickly drop off into 20 or more feet of water are likely to hold some crappie, which are fairly easy pickings on panfish jigs and small tubes. Catfish will take worms or cut bait fished near the bottom. And if you’re willing to put in some work, you might find some bass foraging around rocky structure or submerged vegetation.
Getting there: Access Brownlee via Weiser on the Idaho side or Huntington on the Oregon side.
Duck Valley Indian Reservation (Trout)
Duck Valley provides another still-water option, and all three lakes (Mountain View, Billy Shaw and Sheep Creek) are now open for business. The latest reports indicate catch rates of one or two fish per hour. That’s not great action, but the good news is what anglers do catch tend to be pretty good size (rainbow trout in the 16-to-20-inch range). Spinners, worms, marshmallows, Power Bait and flies will all do the trick—for the latter, try streamers, nymphs or small dry flies like a midge or caddis. Word on the street is that the bigger trout are cruising in shallower water. Anglers fishing from shore, a boat or a float tube (bring waders) should all have a shot at some fish. Remember to buy your day or season pass to fish on the reservation. 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.
Local Ponds (Mixed Bag)
I promise to get more variety into the fishing report ASAP, but for now, ponds continue to be our best bet. Stocked trout are usually plentiful, bass are stirring, and if the fishing is slow, you won’t have wasted hours and gas money to get there. There are lots of ponds to choose from. Take the dog, take the kids, bring some worms and a variety of lures, and give it a whirl. Chances are you’ll catch something if you put in the effort, and you might even discover some new favorite fishing holes close to home.
Getting there: Fish & Game stocks ponds throughout Boise, Meridian, Nampa, Eagle, Middleton and Caldwell.
Jordan Rodriguez has been fishing Idaho waters since he was a teen. Share your fish stories, adventures, tips and tricks at outdoors @idahostatesman.com.