Outdoors Blog

Playing Outdoors: the weekly fishing report (Feb. 9)

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. Here’s this week’s report.

Snake River (mixed bag)

With temperatures in the 50s, we are getting to the point where trout will still be active and bluegill, crappie and even bass — especially smallmouths — will start to stir. The key is to come prepared for a variety of species and circumstances so you can take advantage once you find the bite. Jigs, spinners, flies, Rapalas and a container of live worms are good things to have in your arsenal. Trout will be cruising and are likely to hit lures that are trolled or retrieved. Bass will still be sluggish, but will snap up a jig, soft plastic or crankbait fished slowly in warmer, shallower water. If you find yourself on top of an early-spring school of crappie or bluegill, good times are ahead. Bank fishing can be good, but the mobility of a small boat, canoe or kayak really helps out this time of year.

Getting there: Popular Snake River access points include Swan Falls, C.J. Strike and Brownlee reservoirs.

Treasure Valley Ponds (mixed bag)

Pond fishing has been hot throughout the Treasure Valley. Planted rainbows are readily taking bait, lures and even flies. Most of the fish are in the 12-inch range, but there are bigger holdover fish and/or giant brood stock in some ponds. I don’t want to give away anyone’s secret holes, but some ponds that receive a lot of stocking and fishing attention include Wilson Springs Ponds in Nampa, the Caldwell Rotary Ponds, Eagle Island State Park, Julius Kleiner Park and Settler’s Park in Meridian, and Park Center Pond in Boise. Worms, marshmallows, PowerBait, spinners and trout flies are popular offerings.

Getting there: Idaho Fish and Game stocks local ponds from Boise to Middleton and just about everywhere in between.

Lake Cascade (perch, trout)

Ice fishing season may not last much longer, but conditions are stable at Cascade. Anglers are catching trout and perch. One recent perch nearly broke the state record, according to the folks at Tackle Tom’s, and big rainbow trout have been coming through the ice, too. There haven’t been many of the dynamite, 30-fish days ice anglers crave, but those who put in the work and know where to fish have been rewarded with good size. The city boat ramp, French Creek and Poison Creek are easy access areas for those going on foot. Folks with snowmobiles have been fishing around Sugarloaf Island, and that’s where many of the bigger perch have been found. Conditions change quickly as the weather warms, so use caution. Call ahead to Tackle Tom’s at 208-382-4367 for the latest reports.

Getting there: Take Idaho 55 north through Cascade and follow the turnoff signs to sportsman access areas.

Salmon, Snake and Clearwater Rivers (steelhead)

Spring steelhead season has been steady. Anglers are finding fish in Hells Canyon and the Riggins and Orofino areas. Catch rates on the Clearwater River are between 4 and 9 hours per fish, which is pretty respectable. Salmon roe, brightly colored jigs and yarn, wobblers, plugs, nymphs and streamers will attract bites from steelhead. Dress in layers and come prepared to put in the work — it will be well worth it if you are lucky enough to tangle with a huge wild steelhead or a table-worthy hatchery fish.

Getting there: Check the Idaho Fish and Game website for a detailed list of steelhead seasons and rules.