Every Friday, we’ll post fishing writer Jordan Rodriguez’s weekly report in the Playing Outdoors blog. His column appears three Tuesdays per month.
Henry’s Lake (Trout)
The season opened last weekend and, as usual, some monster trout are coming out of Henry’s Lake. It’s about a five-hour drive east toward West Yellowstone, but if you hit it on a good weekend, it’s definitely worth the trip. Few places in Idaho (or anywhere) consistently produce trophy trout like Henry’s, which has cutthroat-rainbow hybrids that often reach sizes of 8-10 pounds or more. Big cutthroats and brook trout also inhabit the lake. The bite can be finicky, but anglers have success with a number of different setups. Fly-fishing — especially with big leech patterns — can be a thrill. Trolling with spinners, Rapalas or pop gear usually produces a few fish. And from the bank, spinners or the trusty bait-on-the-bottom will get the job done. If you go, be sure to observe the two-fish limit and keep an eye on the weather, which is notoriously unreliable.
Getting there: Take I-84/86 east to Pocatello, follow I-15 north toward Idaho Falls and take Highway 20 northeast to Island Park.
Silver Creek (Trout)
The brown drake hatch is on at Silver Creek! Big rainbow and brown trout are on the hunt, with mayfly, PMD and callibaetis patterns all on the menu. I recently chatted with Idaho Angler fly-fishing guide Chris Gerono, who was casting on Silver Creek as we spoke. He said the hatches were plentiful and the fishing was good, including nighttime streamer and mouse fishing for big, aggressive browns. Make sure you exercise stealth when fishing Silver Creek — the water is clear and the fish are notoriously spooky. If you plan to make a trip, call Picabo Angler at (208) 788-3536 for the latest conditions and reports.
Getting there: Take I-84 east to Mountain Home and then follow U.S. 20 northeast toward the Silver Creek Preserve.
Anderson Ranch Reservoir (Mixed Bag)
It would be fair to call recent reports out of Anderson Ranch mixed. There have definitely been some tough days on the water, especially for the kokanee/Chinook trolling crowd. But I’ve also seen some dynamite reports on smallmouth bass, which are in full-on early summer feeding mode around rocky coves and points. Crankbaits, jerk baits, spinnerbaits, jigs and grubs are reliable bass lures. Crayfish patterns and silvery white minnow colors tend to work best. The salmon trolling bite could turn on any time now — it’s always better to be there when things get hot than to wait too long and miss out. The typical pop gear trailed by squid jigs, wedding rings or hoochies tipped with shoepeg corn is the ticket for kokanee and Chinook.
Getting there: Head east on I-84, take exit 95 and follow U.S. 20 northeast to Anderson Ranch Dam Road.
Halverson Lake (Bass, Bluegill)
One of my favorite summer fishing holes is tiny Halverson Lake near Celebration Park. A recent trip produced lots of largemouth bass and some keeper-sized bluegills, including the biggest one I’ve ever caught (read more about that fish in Tuesday’s Fish Rap column). I picked up most of my fish on spinnerbaits and soft plastics, though I did entice one to slurp a top-water frog. Halverson is small enough to walk around in a morning or afternoon, pausing to fish the most inviting holes. You can also fish from a float tube or kayak if you’re willing to haul it on the one-mile trek through the desert (motorized vehicles cannot access the lake). Bass are evenly distributed throughout most of the lake. For bluegills, look for schools hugging underwater rock piles or overhanging willow trees. Live worms, crickets, small crankbaits or tiny dry flies are the best bets for enticing a bluegill. Bring plenty of water, and be aware of your surroundings — it can get hot in a hurry on the desert trail, and I’ve bumped into quite a few snakes, including a prairie rattler.
Getting there: Drive to Celebration Park along the Snake River south of Melba, park along the dirt road and follow the trails into Halverson Lake.
Jordan Rodriguez has been fishing Idaho waters since he was a teen. Share your fish stories, adventures, tips and tricks at firstname.lastname@example.org.