Owyhee River (Trout)
Fall fishing has been steady on the Owyhee. The brown trout spawning season should wrap up soon, and many fish already have returned to normal feeding behavior after finding a mate. Effective fly patterns vary from day to day, but the best presentations this time of year include BWOs on top, bead head nymphs and egg patterns under the surface, and chunky streamers stripped through deep holes and current pockets. While the Owyhee is best known as a trophy catch-and-release brown fishery, the river is also home to some monster rainbows. My friend and resident Owyhee expert Tim Streight caught a massive 28-incher last week on a size 18 dry fly! In many rivers, that fish would be called a steelhead. Rapalas, spinners and spoons are also good options for catching trout on the Owyhee. Don’t forget your Oregon license.
Getting there: Fish downstream from Adrian, Ore.
Salmon, Snake and Clearwater Rivers (Steelhead)
It has been a productive week for steelhead anglers. In particular, I’ve noticed some monster B-run fish showing up in the Salmon River near Riggins. These fish, which spend two or three years in the ocean, can approach 40 inches in length! They have been hard to come by this season — the vast majority of fish being caught are A-run (one-year) fish in the 24-to-28-inch range. Either way, steelhead are a blast to catch, but the thought of hooking a 20-pound giant makes it all the more tempting to make the trek north. 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. We are still awaiting word on a steelhead season in the Boise River. An announcement should come any day now.
Getting there: Visit the Idaho Fish & Game website for a complete list of fish counts, seasons and rules, and the latest fishing reports.
Local Ponds (Trout)
Fish and Game is scheduled to release more than 15,000 hatchery rainbow trout into local ponds this month, and many of those fish are already swimming in public waters. Esther’s Pond in Boise, Kleiner Pond in Meridian, the Caldwell Rotary Pond, Horseshoe Bend Mill Pond and Sawyers Pond in Emmett are among the ponds receiving the biggest shipments of fish, but there are more than 20 stocking locations all around the Treasure Valley. The summer weeds should be dying off, which will improve access for fishing with spinners, spoons, crankbaits and flies. Bait fishing with worms, marshmallows and Power Bait is always an effective method. In addition to trout, you might bump into a bass, catfish, crappie or bluegill.
Getting there: Fish & Game stocks ponds across the Treasure Valley, from Boise to Payette.
Snake River (Bass)
If you aren’t quite ready to pack it in for bass season, the weather looks decent enough for one last hurrah this weekend. The fishing will be slower than it is during the summer and early fall months, but you might be able to entice a few smallmouth by fishing deep and slow with tube jigs, grubs, Senkos or live night crawlers. Whereas warm-water bass will willingly chase down and eat your lures, cold-water fish make you do most of the work. But if you know where fish are holding and drop an easy meal right in their lap, they should be willing to cooperate. If you notice fish holding in shallower water, crankbaits and spinnerbaits retrieved at about half their normal speed also might pick up a few fish.
Getting there: Fish between C.J. Strike and Brownlee Reservoirs.
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.