Boise River (Trout, Steelhead)
Anglers are continuing to catch nice trout on the Boise, with a lucky few getting a bonus steelhead. Most of those fish have probably been caught by now, but there are undoubtedly a few still swimming around. I’ve actually seen quite a few anglers catching steelhead on spinners and other traditional trout gear, so even if you aren’t looking to catch one, tie good knots! For trout, I have had good luck tossing spinners or bait into deep pools where fish don’t have to fight the current. I’ve caught and released rainbows up to 18 inches this fall, and I’ve seen others catching big rainbows and browns on shiny lures, worms, Power Bait, streamers and even dry flies. Temperatures are dropping, so get out there while it’s still above freezing!
Getting there: Fish & Game stocks trout all along the river. Steelhead went in at Glenwood Bridge, Americana Bridge, below the Broadway Avenue Bridge behind Boise State University, at Park Center Bridge and at Barber Park.
Arrowrock Reservoir (Trout, Kokanee)
Diehard trollers are still dragging pop gear at Arrowrock and Lucky Peak, and the results have been rewarding. In the past week alone, I have seen several limits of Kokanee, some respectable trout and even a big landlocked Chinook. There’s no exact science to depth this time of year, but 30 to 40 feet is a good place to start trolling for salmon. Trout are often caught in shallower water — use your finder to dial things in and drop lures at multiple depths once you start marking fish until you find the bite. Flashy wedding rings and spinners tipped with worms work best for trout, while salmon seem to prefer small jigs and squid tipped with shoepeg corn. If you don’t have a boat or don’t trust taking your trailer down the bumpy, muddy winter roads, bank anglers are catching trout on worms, marshmallows and spinners.
Getting there: Head East on I-84, take Exit 64 and follow Blacks Creek Road to the dam. You can also take Highway 21 north to Lucky Peak and follow Arrowrock Road to the reservoir.
Salmon, Snake and Clearwater Rivers (Steelhead)
Steelhead fishing is still going strong. According to the latest harvest reports, catch rates are best on the Clearwater (four to five hours per fish) and between the Middle and North Forks of the Salmon (11 hours per fish). 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 steelhead methods. 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.
Getting there: Visit the Idaho Fish & Game website for a complete list of fish counts, seasons and rules, and the latest fishing reports.
Lake Cascade (Trout, Perch)
No signs of ice yet, although the forecast next week calls for overnight lows in the teens. Stay tuned. In the meantime, bank anglers have been catching some nice rainbow trout using worms, corn, marshmallows and Power Bait. I haven’t seen many boats out of late, but if you want to get out and look for schools of perch, Blue Heron boat access usually has the best access during the low-water season. You can also look for perch using a slip-bobber setup off rocky points and coves. Call ahead and get the latest scoop for Tackle Tom’s so you don’t waste a boat trip. You might also get a few helpful hints!
Getting there: Take Idaho 55 north to Cascade. For the latest lake conditions and fishing reports, call Tackle Tom’s at (208) 382-4367.
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.