Lucky Peak tributaries (Kokanee)
The bright-red Kokanee spawning run is on in full force. If you want to see or catch a red-phase Kokanee close to town, now is the time to try. Beware — the fish are stingy, as they don’t eat once they enter their spawning phase. Your best bet is to draw an aggression strike with something flashy. I’ve seen the most success with shiny spoons, egg patterns, streamers and brightly colored yarn (think Chinook gear on a smaller scale). For my money, the meat isn’t great once the fish turn red, but some folks like it smoked. Be sure to observe regular bag limits if you do plan to keep your catch. Grimes Creek and Mores Creek usually have the most Kokanee in them, but any outlet from Lucky Peak, Arrowrock or Anderson Ranch Reservoir should hold fish. Even if you don’t catch one, it’s pretty darn neat to see them in action.
Getting there: Head up Highway 21 and fish Mores Creek, Grimes Creek and other outlet streams.
Boise River (Trout)
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The Boise River continues to fish well as we head into September. Flows are holding steady between 800 and 900 CFS, and anglers have been catching nice rainbows and browns all along the urban stretch of river between Lucky Peak Dam and Eagle Island State Park. For the spinning crowd, spoons, Rapalas, spinners and bait have been effective. Tossing Panther Martin spinners toward cut banks is one of my favorite tactics. Fly anglers have also been catching fish on hare’s ear nymphs, copper johns, midges, caddis, streamers and PMDs. Nymphs and streamers are carrying the early hours, with dry flies — especially caddis and PMDs — taking over in the evenings. As always, I recommend releasing big native rainbows and browns. There are plenty of hatchery fish available if you want to cook your catch.
Getting there: Fish & Game regularly stocks trout throughout town, from Barber Park all the way down through Eagle and Star.
Payette River (Mixed Bag)
The Payette is a versatile fishery that offers both bass- and trout-friendly conditions. In recent weeks, I have seen some nice smallmouth reports coming out of the western stretches through New Plymouth and Emmett, with anglers catching fish on crayfish imitations including jigs, crankbaits, soft plastics and flies. Catfish are also a possibility in that neck of the woods. Further north along Idaho 55, the Payette has been fishing well for trout, with some nice native rainbows and plenty of stocked fish in the mix. Spinners, spoons, worms, Power Bait, nymphs, streamers and hopper patterns are the ticket for trout. The Payette tends to be less crowded and a few degrees cooler than the Boise River, making it an ideal destination on a hot weekend. Keep an eye out for bears, especially in the Boise National Forest stretch.
Getting there: Fish along Idaho 55 to target trout, or head west toward New Plymouth to fish for bass and catfish.
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.
Come fishing with me!
I’m teaching a fishing class this fall through The College of Idaho’s Community Learning program in Caldwell. Join me Oct. 3-7 for “Stop Fishing, Start Catching,” a fun and informative class for anglers of all ages and ability levels. The course costs $59, which includes four hours of classroom instruction and activities (6-8 p.m. Oct. 3 and 5 in the C of I’s Marty Holly Athletics Center) and a four-hour Saturday morning fishing trip (8 a.m.-noon Oct. 7). Every participant receives a tackle goodie bag, plus chances to win awesome prizes. This class sold out in the spring, so reserve your spot early. Register online at www.cofifun.com. For more info, call (208) 459-5188 or email email@example.com.