Outdoors Blog

Playing Outdoors: Fly fishing heats up on the Owyhee (fishing report, March 16)

Every Tuesday, we’ll post fishing writer Jordan Rodriguez’s weekly report in the Playing Outdoors blog. His column will appear three Wednesdays per month.

Jordan’s report for this week:

Owyhee River (Trout)

Fly fishing has been productive for big browns and an occasional rainbow trout on the Owyhee. As usual, there are plenty of 16-to-18-inch fish, and a good chance at hooking into something over 20 inches. Anglers are reporting midge hatches early in the day and BWOs in the afternoon. Smaller flies seem to work best on top. Nymphs and streamer patterns like muddler minnows, leeches, Mickey Finns and sculpins will catch fish, too. Spin fishermen can get in on the action with spinners and countdown Rapalas. Remember, you need an Oregon fishing license to fish the Owyhee. Rainbow trout may be kept, but browns are catch-and-release only. Barbless hooks are recommended on all flies and lures.

Getting there: Fish downstream from Adrian, Ore.

Lake Lowell (Bass, Catfish)

Lake Lowell remains closed to motorized boats until April 15, but bank anglers are starting to catch a few fish from the dams and other access points. The largemouth bass are still pretty sluggish, so fish slowly with spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jigs or soft plastics. Don’t expect to catch a lot of fish, but you might catch a nice one — the big, pre-spawn fish are usually the first to start stirring. Catfish action also should be warming up — Lowell has some nice channel cats, and they’ll take worms, shrimp or cut bait fished near the bottom. The motor ban applies to all power motors, even electric trolling setups, but anglers can get out on the water using float tubes, pontoons and other hand-powered watercraft.

Getting there: Head south from Nampa or Caldwell.

Lucky Peak Reservoir (Trout)

Trout fishing has been steady at Lucky Peak, and anglers are starting to pick up a few kokanee salmon as well. Fish are being caught both via boat and from shore. Bank anglers are using worms, marshmallows, corn, Power Bait and spinners, while boaters are trolling with lures such as wedding rings tipped with a piece of night crawler or corn. Most Lucky Peak rainbows seem to be in the 12-to-15-inch range, which is perfect eating size. There are occasionally some bigger fish mixed in, too. Fishing conditions are similar at Arrowrock, although access can be tougher during winter and early spring. Four-wheel drive is recommended, and be extra careful launching your boat when the water is low.

Getting there: Take Idaho 21 to Lucky Peak and continue East on Spring Shores/Arrow Rock Road to Arrowrock.

Snake River (Mixed Bag)

Every week that goes by brings improved fishing on the Snake River. Anglers are catching sturgeon near Swan Falls Dam, some big flathead catfish in the Brownlee stretch, nice stringers of panfish at C.J. Strike and channel catfish just about everywhere in between. Bass action is starting to pick up, too. Sturgeon anglers are using big pieces of cut bait on the bottom; catfish anglers are using cut bait, worms, shrimp, chicken livers or crankbaits; panfish anglers are fishing the reservoirs using small jigs tipped with a small piece of worm or cut bait; and bass anglers are picking up fish on slowly retrieved crankbaits, jigs and soft plastics. Drifting a live night crawler through the current is the ultimate grab-bag proposition—you never know what might take the bait.

Getting there: Find access points anywhere between C.J. Strike Reservoir and Brownlee Reservoir.

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