Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir (Walleye)
The water is warm and algae blooms are a problem in some areas, but that hasn’t stopped anglers from catching elusive walleye at Salmon Falls Creek. It’s a nearly three-hour trek from Boise, but it’s worth it to fish one of the rare walleye lakes in Idaho. Bottom-bouncers, trolling rigs, crankbaits, jerk baits and jigs will catch fish, and most anglers tip their hooks with pieces of night crawler. Cooler water is better, and a little breeze — known by diehards as the “walleye chop” — is ideal to stir up microorganisms and, in turn, the baitfish walleye like to feed on. Tag along with an experienced angler if you can. Learning the tricks of the trade might take some time on your own, but walleye fishing quickly becomes an addiction for many anglers. Walleye are great eating, but observe the bag limits — six fish per day, and only one over 20 inches. Salmon Falls also has smallmouth bass, trout and perch. Fish for those species as you would in other lakes, though you’ll likely pick up a few on walleye gear.
Getting there: Take I-84 east toward Twin Falls and follow U.S. 93 south toward the Nevada border. From Boise, it’s about a two-and-a-half-hour drive, just a few minutes shy of Jackpot.
Big Wood River (Trout)
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Late summer is a great time to fish the Big Wood River on the way to Sun Valley and Hailey. With wading-friendly flows, hungry fish and gorgeous scenery, it’s hard to beat for a day of fly-fishing. Tricos, callibaetis and midges are the ticket early in the day, giving way to hoppers, terrestrials and small nymph patterns in the afternoon and evening. BWOs and streamers might also pick up a few fish. One of the keys to fishing the Big Wood is knowing where you are — the regulations differ based on both time of year and location. Some stretches are limited artificial lures and flies with single, barbless hooks. Others are catch-and-release-only during spawning seasons. Otherwise, spinners, spoons, Rapalas and bait can get you in on some nice rainbow and brown trout.
Getting there: Head east via I-84 and Highway 20. Some of the best fishing is found along Highway 20 north of Magic Reservoir and along Highway 75 as you head north toward Hailey.
C.J. Strike Reservoir (Mixed Bag)
Fishing has been steady at C.J. Strike, where the wide variety of species available usually means something is biting. On a recent weekend trip, it was bass — my friend Justin and I put more than 30 in the boat, mostly smallmouths with a few largemouth mixed in. Crayfish-colored crankbaits were the ticket, and we picked up a few fish on plastic worms and tube jigs. C.J. also can be dynamite for panfish, especially perch. Look for schools in 20 to 30 feet of water and throw small jigs tipped with worms or cut bait. The Narrows is usually the best place to start looking. Crappie and bluegill will go for similar presentations. Rainbow trout action should pick up as the weather cools. Troll or find some current where the reservoir flows toward the dam and fish with worms, marshmallows or Power Bait.
Getting there: Head east and then south on I-84 and Simco Road, then follow the signs to C.J. Strike Wildlife Management area via Strike Dam Cut-Off Road and Highway 78.
Boise River (Trout, Crayfish)
The trout bite has been reliable on the Boise River, which should be easier to fish as the float crowds subside. Big, native rainbow and brown trout are interspersed with smaller hatchery rainbows and the occasional whitefish. The grasshoppers are out in full force, so a hopper fly or live grasshopper will almost surely draw some attention. Worms, spinners, Rapalas, marshmallows, Power Bait, caddis imitations, streamers and nymphs are also good options. Look for fish in and around deep pools, riffles, eddies and cut banks. As the water level drops, it is also easier to catch crayfish. The Boise has a healthy population of big crayfish, which will wander into traps filled with fish or chicken parts. You also can wade in and fish for them by hand, or with a net. Catching crayfish does require a fishing license.
Getting there: Trout are stocked all along the river, from Barber Park and the Glenwood Bridge all the way west through Eagle and Star.
Jordan Rodriguez has been fishing Idaho waters since he was a teen. Share your fish stories, adventures, tips and tricks at email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.