Outdoors Blog

Get alpine feel without the hike at Tripod Reservoir (fishing report, July 21)

Pan-sized rainbow trout, cool mountain temperatures and a bald eagle sighting are a few of the things you might catch at Tripod Reservoir north of Boise.
Pan-sized rainbow trout, cool mountain temperatures and a bald eagle sighting are a few of the things you might catch at Tripod Reservoir north of Boise. Special to the Idaho Statesman

Every Friday, we’ll post fishing writer Jordan Rodriguez’s weekly report in the Playing Outdoors blog. His column appears three Tuesdays per month.

Tripod Reservoir (Trout)

If you are looking for an alpine escape without the three-hour drive or long hike in, Tripod is the place to go. My wife and I checked it out on a recent scorching Saturday, and the 85-degree temps were the perfect reprieve from the triple-digit heat in town. Rainbow trout are the catch of the day at Tripod, and they tend to be hatchery fish in the 10-to-12-inch range. Monsters are probably few and far between, but it’s a great place to relax, put your feet up and take in the scenery while you fish. We even saw a bald eagle on our trip. Worms, Power Bait, marshmallows, spinners and flies will all attract some bites — there was a good-sized caddis hatch on as evening fell on our trip. There is good bank access, but it can get crowded, so paddling around in a small raft or float tube is a good way to go. Camping is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The lake does require a walk in, but it’s only a few hundred yards from the parking area.

Getting there: Take Idaho 55 north to Smiths Ferry and follow the brown access signs into the lake. The turnoff is directly across from Cougar Mountain Lodge off Idaho 55.

Deadwood Reservoir (Kokanee, Trout)

Heavy snowpack led to a late start, but the roadway in is clear now, and a good source of mine knocked ’em dead (bad pun intended) last weekend. From what I’m hearing, the Kokanee are eagerly taking trolling gear in 20 to 40 feet of water. Pink and orange lures tipped with shoepeg corn are always a good place to start. My source said there were two classes of fish — small 8-to-10-inchers and beefy 16-to-18-inchers, which is great size for Kokanee. Cutthroat and rainbow trout were also on the bite, taking trolling gear, top-water flies and bait on the bottom. The trout in Deadwood can grow up to 20 inches and weigh several pounds, and the cutthroats in particular are beautiful to look at. One interesting note: a few of the Kokanee are already starting to turn pink, so it won’t be long before the big adults enter their spawning phase. I’ve heard similar reports from Anderson Ranch, so if you want to fill your freezer with delicious Kokanee fillets while the fish are still actively feeding, you better act fast!

Getting there: Head northeast via Idaho 55, Banks Lowman Road and Scott Mountain Road. The last stretch in is bumpy, especially if you are towing a boat. Camping is available at the lake.

Boise River (Trout)

The Boise River has finally receded to fishable flows, and I have seen several good reports from anglers already. The water is still high and fast in places, so be careful wading. And you may need to find some new favorite holes — flooding at the levels we saw this spring and summer often changes the entire landscape of the river. But there will be new holes to discover, and odds are the fish haven’t seen many lures or flies since last fall. Look for slower-moving water and target pools and riffles with spinners, spoons, worms or Power Bait. For fly anglers, grasshoppers, streamers, caddis imitations and a variety of sub-surface nymphs should trigger some strikes. As always, I recommend releasing big wild rainbows and browns and keeping a few hatchery fish for the frying pan.

Getting there: Fish the urban stretch between Barber Park and the Glenwood Bridge, or head farther west toward Eagle and Star for wider, slower-moving water.

Snake River (Catfish, Bass)

Catfish anglers are having an epic summer on the Snake. Fishing with Mormon Crickets, in particular, has been wildly successful — they are the one thing known to bring catfish to the surface to feed. If the big crickets are too creepy for you, good old-fashioned cut bait, worms, chicken livers or shrimp will do the trick. Big cats also will take deep-diving crankbaits on occasion. With the river settling into normal summer patterns, it should be easier to identify good catfish holes. Channel cats like deep riffles or pockets behind boulders with a little current, while flatheads prefer to lurk near submerged timber and drop-off ledges. Smallmouth bass fishing has also been productive for anglers throwing soft plastics tube and grub jigs, crankbaits or leech and woolly buggar patterns. Sturgeon are active as well — if you are fishing for cats, it doesn’t hurt to set out a second, sturdier rod set up with heavy tackle and some pickled herring or fresh cut bait.

Getting there: Fish between C.J. Strike Reservoir in Bruneau and Brownlee Reservoir on the Idaho-Oregon border.

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