Every Tuesday, we’ll post fishing writer Jordan Rodriguez’s weekly report in the Playing Outdoors blog. His column will appear two to three Wednesdays per month.
Magic Reservoir (Perch and Trout)
My personal report from a late-January trip: Access to the popular fishing areas is easy at Magic. From the lodge at West Magic Resort, you simply walk out 100 yards and you are on the fish. Our small group landed four rainbow trout in the 10-to-13-inch range. We had quite a few hits, but the bite was really soft. Overall, we averaged about one fish landed and two or three bites per hour — not great, but not terrible. Groups we talked to and a Fish & Game officer out checking licenses reported similar catch rates. The weather was nice, with occasional snow and temperatures in the mid-30s. The ice was a good 12 inches thick. Most anglers were fishing within 30 feet of shore in 6 to 10 feet of water using jigs tipped with worms, corn or marshmallows. The bigger trout didn’t show up that day, but some really nice rainbows have come through the ice this season. Perch fishing has been very hit-or-miss — no one we talked to caught any perch that day. Call West Magic at (208) 487-2571 for the latest updates.
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Getting there: Take I-84 east past Mountain Home. Take Exit 141 and follow U.S. 26 and Idaho 75 northeast to West Magic Resort.
Lake Cascade (Perch and Trout)
If you can get out to the Sugarloaf Island area via snowmobile, you’ve got a great shot at catching perch, including the coveted 12-inch jumbos. Multiple two-pounders have come through the ice in the last week or so. If you’re going it by foot near the city boat launch, Poison Creek or French Creek, the perch have been tough to come by. You always have a chance at a trout, though, and there are some nice ones. Also of note: the annual Cascade Cup Ice Fishing Derby is set for Feb. 13-14. Call Tackle Tom’s at (208) 382-4367 for more information, the latest fishing reports and tournament registration.
Getting there: Take Idaho 55 north through Cascade and follow the turnoff signs to sportsman access areas.
Local Ponds (Trout)
With temperatures in the 40s, anglers have been taking advantage of ice-free water and hungry trout at local ponds. Spinners, worms, PowerBait and flavored marshmallows are the go-to-presentations. Flies and flashy spoons will catch fish, too. Most stocked rainbows are in the 10-to-14-inch range, but some ponds are stocked with a handful of much larger “brood stock” and/or palomino (“banana”) rainbows that can exceed 20 inches. Idaho Fish & Game has an aggressive February stocking schedule, so there should be plenty of good pond fishing to hold you over until bass season.
Getting there: Fish & Game stocks dozens of local ponds in Boise, Meridian, Nampa, Caldwell and virtually everywhere in between.
Boise River & Snake River (Trout)
Anglers are continuing to catch nice rainbow and brown trout up and down the Boise River. Fly, spinner and bait fishermen alike are having success, and the weather and river conditions have been very angler-friendly. I’ve seen lots of trout coming out of the Snake River, too, primarily around reservoir dams like Swan Falls and C.J. Strike. Anglers seem to be having the most success with spinners like Panther Martins (red, black and yellow are popular colors) or live worms fished in tandem with marshmallows or PowerBait. Savvy anglers might even catch a bass by slow-fishing a jig.
Getting there: The Boise River is stocked with trout between Barber Park and the Glenwood Bridge. Popular Snake River access points include Swan Falls Dam, C.J. Strike Reservoir and Brownlee Reservoir.