Lake Cascade (Trout, Perch)
Trout fishing has picked up at Cascade in recent weeks, especially for bank anglers as the fish are cruising closer to shore. Favorite presentations vary, but the worm-and-marshmallow combo is a local staple. Power Bait, shrimp, spinners, spoons, Rapalas and trolling gear should also tempt a trout. Cascade rainbows average about two pounds, with occasional monsters in the 5-pound class. Perch fishing has been a little bit hit-or-miss this fall, but there’s always a chance to catch the 14-to-16-inch jumbos for which Cascade is known. Look for schools holding in about 20 feet of water near submerged cover and weed beds. Small jigs tipped with cut bait, crankbaits or a plain old night crawler will catch perch. An occasional bass might still show up, but smallmouth fishing has pretty much wrapped up for the winter.
Getting there: Take Idaho 55 north to Cascade. For the latest lake conditions and fishing reports, call Tackle Tom’s at (208) 382-4367.
Boise River (Trout)
With the daylight hours waning and temperatures dropping, far-off fishing destinations are tougher to get to. Luckily for anglers, the Boise River in town has been fishing well, with both fly and spin anglers picking up lots of rainbows and the occasional brown trout. Look for deep pools, riffles and current seams and fish with spinners, spoons, worms, Power Bait, salmon eggs, streamers, bead head nymphs or tiny dry flies. Keep in mind that the Boise River gets a lot of fishing pressure, especially on the urban stretch. Fishing off the beaten path often leads to more success. As always, I recommend releasing big, wild rainbows and browns and keeping a handful of hatchery fish for the frying pan.
Getting there: Trout are stocked all along the river, from Barber Park and the Glenwood Bridge all the way west through Eagle and Star.
Henry’s Lake (Trout)
I know it’s a long drive, but I’ve seen too many huge fish getting caught this fall to not include Henry’s Lake one last time. Known for its monster cutthroats, brook trout and cutthroat-rainbow hybrids, Henry’s regularly produces fish in the 5-pound class, with a chance at a rare 10-pound trout. During the warmer months, many anglers troll or fly-fish from boats, but bank anglers using some kind of bait caught most of the giants I’ve seen in recent weeks. Worms, Power Bait, marshmallows, shrimp and cut bait all are viable options. Spinners, spoons, Rapalas and chunky streamers also might attract some attention. Don’t wait too long to make the trip — Henry’s sits at high elevation in a part of the state known for wild fall and winter weather.
Getting there: Take I-84/86 east to Pocatello, follow I-15 north toward Idaho Falls and take Highway 20 northeast to Island Park. It’s about a 5-hour drive from Boise, just shy of West Yellowstone.
Salmon, Snake and Clearwater Rivers (Steelhead)
Steelhead fishing remains fair to good, depending on where you fish. According to the latest harvest reports, catch rates are averaging about seven hours per fish on the Snake River, nine to 13 hours per fish on the Clearwater and six to 25 hours per fish on the Salmon. Back-trolling with side planers and plugs, floating a jig-and-bobber rig or drift fishing with streamers, yarn and roe are the most popular methods for enticing a steelhead. Be sure to read up on the modified harvest rules for this fall, and remember to buy a steelhead permit ($12.50) and de-barb your hooks. Also, the Boise River may get a truckload or two of hatchery fish sometime this month. Stay tuned!
Getting there: Visit the Idaho Fish & Game website for a complete list of fish counts, seasons and rules, and the latest fishing reports.
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.
Let’s go ice fishing!
I still have a few spots left in my upcoming ice fishing class, happening Nov. 14 and 16 on The College of Idaho campus in Caldwell. The course costs $59, which includes four hours of classroom instruction and activities (6-8 p.m. Nov. 14 and 16 in the Marty Holly Athletics Center) and a Saturday ice fishing trip at a date TBD. Register online at www.cofifun.com or call (208) 459-5188.