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 Cascade (Mixed Bag)
I am hearing some good things from Cascade, especially from trout anglers. The big rainbows are biting on trolling gear in 20-30 feet of water, or from shore on worms and Power Bait. Perch-colored lures are always a good bet for catching trout at Cascade. Speaking of perch, the schools are settling in around submerged weed patches and other structure in anywhere from 10 to 35 feet of water. Use jigs tipped with worms or cut bait, and if you are catching lots of small fish, try upsizing your lures to a larger jig, spoon or crankbait to entice Cascade’s trademark jumbos. Perch-patterned lures are money for the cannibalistic panfish. Smallmouth bass fishing has been steady all summer, with twisty tail grubs, tube jigs and other soft plastics as the lures of choice. Be prepared for anything when you fish in Cascade — there are roughly a dozen species living in the lake, and everything from a landlocked Coho salmon to a toothy tiger muskie will show up on occasion.
Getting there: Take Idaho 55 north to Cascade. For the latest lake conditions and fishing reports, call Tackle Tom’s at (208) 382-4367.
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Anderson Ranch Reservoir (Kokanee)
The Kokanee bite has remained steady at Anderson Ranch, but the window is closing. According to the latest reports, some fish are starting to turn a dull shade of pink and migrate toward outlet streams. That means the fish are staging for the fall spawning run, which typically begins in earnest by mid-August. Once that happens, the fish will turn red, they will stop eating, and the meat won’t be nearly as tasty as it is during the silver summer phase. So if you’ve been procrastinating a kokanee trip, now is the time! Recent reports indicate the fish are fairly deep, running in 35-50 feet of water. Trolling rigs in bright pink, green and orange tipped with shoepeg corn, fire corn and marshmallows are the ticket. Don’t forget to toss in some bass gear in case the Kokanee aren’t cooperating — Anderson Ranch is a quality smallmouth fishery, with crankbaits, soft plastics and lead head jigs all worthy tackle options.
Getting there: Head east on I-84, take exit 95 and follow U.S. 20 northeast to Anderson Ranch Dam Road.
Boise River (Trout)
Get out there! Floating season has begun, but there are plenty of secluded areas to chase rainbow and brown trout. The Boise River reports I’m seeing are among the best in recent memory, with anglers catching fish on spinners, dry flies, nymphs, streamers, hoppers, Rapalas, worms, Power Bait and more. The Boise is a perfect destination for a quick trip after work, or even over the lunch hour. Toss some gear and a change of clothes in the trunk so you are ready to roll when an opportunity arises!
Getting there: In town, fish are stocked between Barber Park and the Glenwood Bridge. Fish above Barber Park or below Americana Bridge to avoid the floating crowd.
Little Payette Lake (Mixed Bag)
It’s a great time of year to fish Little Payette, an under-the-radar option in beautiful McCall. Little Payette is often overlooked because it can be tough to navigate and the fish can be finicky. Be careful launching and driving your boat — the shoreline is usually crowded with large, fallen timber. The two primary gamefish in the lake are smallmouth bass and tiger muskies. The bass grow to surprisingly large size for a cold-water fishery, and they will readily strike crankbaits, jerk baits, jigs, soft plastics and spinnerbaits when conditions are right. The bite tends to be best early or late in the day. Tiger muskies are the aptly named “fish of 10,000 casts,” but Little Payette is arguably the best place to fish for them in our part of the state. Large spinnerbaits, crankbaits and top-water lures resembling ducklings or mice are the best bets. You’ll need stout tackle and a wire leader to tangle with these toothy monsters, which can grow up to four feet long.
Getting there: Take Idaho 55 north to McCall. The lake is located east of town.