Outdoors Blog

C.J. Strike off to hot start (fishing report, March 23)

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.

Hagerman Hatchery Ponds (Mixed Bag)

Spring trout fishing is good at the Hagerman Fish Hatchery. The ponds are loaded with hatchery rainbows, including the Palomino (banana) variety. Fishermen have a shot at a wide variety of catches, from pan-sized fish to huge trout well over 20 inches long. Flies, spinners, worms, Power Bait, marshmallows and salmon eggs are the lures and baits of choice. The hatchery also has largemouth bass, sturgeon, bluegill and carp, so there might be some surprises mixed in. Check the Fish & Game regulations or the map located at the hatchery show pond to see which ponds are open — some are closed to fishing until July. Most anglers fish from the bank, but non-motorized rafts and float tubes can get you out on the water. Read this week’s Fish Rap column for more details on Hagerman.

Getting there: Head east on I-84, take Exit 147, head south and follow the signs to the hatchery.

C.J. Strike Reservoir (Mixed Bag)

Fishing has been great at C.J. Strike for a while now, with anglers catching lots of perch, crappie, trout, bluegill and bass. Fish & Game recently released 50,000 catchable-sized rainbows into the reservoir, so there are plenty of fish available. Trout fishing seems equally good from the bank or a boat, with anglers using spinners, worms, marshmallows or Power Bait. Bluegill, crappie and perch are hitting small jigs tipped with worms or cut bait. Look for schools anywhere from the shoreline to 20-25 feet of water. Red, yellow and white are popular jig colors, and panfish tend to congregate in the narrows. Bass fishing is improving by the week, and anglers are catching fish near rocky outcroppings, points and submerged vegetation. Soft plastics, jigs and crankbaits — particularly crayfish-imitating patterns — will do the trick. Keep an eye out for high winds, but otherwise, C.J. has been a springtime haven for Idaho anglers.

Getting there: Take I-84 east to Mountain Home and head south.

Boise River (Trout)

Flows have remained angler-friendly so far this spring, and fishermen are taking full advantage. Fly-fishermen, in particular, seem to be catching lots of nice rainbows. Streamers, BWOs, midges, pheasant tails and blue-winged olive imitations are good flies to have in your box. Warmer days that follow a cooler spell can stimulate insect life and really turn the fishing on. Spinners, worms, salmon eggs and Power Bait will catch fish, too. There are lots of stocked, sterile rainbows in the river, particularly through town. I recommend keeping those fish and releasing the bigger, wild rainbows and browns whenever possible.

Getting there: Fish & Game stocks trout between Barber Park and the Glenwood Bridge.

Horseshoe Bend Mill Pond (Trout, Bluegill)

Anglers have caught nice stringers of stocked rainbow trout at Mill Pond in recent weeks. Spinners and bait are the most popular offerings. Bluegill fishing should turn on any time now, and while the pond has had lots of smaller fish in recent years, it’s a good way to keep the kids entertained when the bite is on. Worms, crickets, small jigs and flies are the best bets for bluegill. Mill Pond also has some good-sized largemouth bass, and they should be stirring soon. And if the fishing is slow or you want to try something different, the Payette River is just a stone’s throw away.

Getting there: Take Idaho 55 north past Horseshoe Bend, and the turnoff to the pond is on your right.

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