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 has picked up with this warmer weather. Here are my top picks for the week:
Local Ponds (Mixed Bag)
The annual spring boom is finally happening as water temperatures creep toward 60. I’m seeing lots of nice fish — both bass and trout — being caught at ponds all over the Treasure Valley. Live bait, flies, crankbaits, spinners and soft plastics are all viable options. One thing to keep in mind when you fish ponds: trout are stocked by Fish and Game, but bass are naturally recurring populations. It’s a good idea to release large, spawning bass for the long-term health of the fishery, especially in public ponds that get a lot of pressure. Trout, on the other hand, are stocked strictly for anglers (and osprey) to enjoy. If you like to eat fish, take some home with you!
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Getting there: Fish and Game stocks ponds throughout Boise, Meridian, Nampa, Eagle, Middleton and Caldwell.
Owyhee Reservoir (Crappie)
While Brownlee Reservoir continues to run low to protect against spring runoff, Owyhee is chock full, and the crappie bite is on. Fish are schooling in 15 to 30 feet of water, usually in coves where the lake bottom drops quickly. Having a boat helps for two reasons — having a fish finder to locate schools and having the mobility to hunt for the best spots. But I’ve heard from some anglers who had success on foot as well. Once you locate fish, throw brightly colored panfish jigs, either on their own or under a slip bobber. Tying multiple jigs on one line can increase your odds (and lead to occasional double catches!). There are bass and catfish in Owyhee, too, so be ready for anything. Don’t forget your Oregon license.
Getting there: Head southwest to Adrian, Ore., and follow the Owyhee River past the dam.
Lucky Peak Reservoir (Kokanee)
This makes back-to-back weeks on the fishing report for Lucky Peak, but it’s well-deserved. I’m hearing lots of good things from the kokanee crowd, and the size has been impressive this spring, with fish up to 20 inches long. Those make for great eats, and when kokanee are biting, the action can be fast. Brightly colored jigs, squid or spoons trailed behind pop gear and tipped with corn are the way to go, and it seems the fish are usually running shallow in 10 to 20 feet of water. Rainbow trout will hit on the trolling gear as well, but if the salmon aren’t active, don’t be afraid to work the shorelines with bait for trout or crankbaits and jigs for smallmouth bass.
Getting there: From Boise, take Warm Springs Avenue or Idaho 21 northeast to Lucky Peak.
Lake Lowell (Bass)
After a cold start, I’m starting to see some better catch rates out at Lake Lowell. Boat anglers are fishing submerged cover around the edges (and there’s a lot of it) with spinnerbaits, jigs, swimbaits and soft plastics. There is some decent shore access around the coves and dams, and I’ve seen anglers catching both bass and catfish in those areas. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, the south bank is full of flooded trees you can access by wading in or launching a float tube, canoe or kayak. These smaller vessels have an advantage over motorboats in that they can squeeze into tiny gaps in the foliage to get to the hard-to-reach fishing holes. Bass are catch-and-release only until July 1.
Getting there: Head south from Nampa or 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.