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.
Lake Lowell (Bass)
The water is high, which means lots of fish are hanging out in the flooded trees and other hard-to-reach places. Both boaters and shore/float tube anglers can get into the hot spots, but it might take a little extra effort. If you’re fishing heavy cover, think about using weedless setups and heavier tackle so you can limit hang-ups and muscle big fish out of the trees. Other good spots to look for are places where new aquatic vegetation is growing or, if none is showing yet, the remnants of last year’s weed line. Soft plastic baits like worms, crayfish, flukes, lizards and other “creature baits” are a good bet. Jigs, spinnerbaits, crankbaits and jerk baits will work, too, and you might even get a top-water strike on a popper, frog or buzz bait, especially early or late in the day. Catfish and panfish also are possible catches at Lowell and, if you’re a bow fisherman, the carp are moving into the shallows to spawn.
Getting there: Head south from Nampa or Caldwell.
Local Ponds (Mixed Bag)
It’s a great time of year for pond fishing. Fish & Game is stocking plenty of pan-sized rainbow trout, and the warm temperatures have bass and panfish on the move. Ponds — even urban ponds and small neighborhood slews — almost always have plenty of fish in them, making it a great spot for beginners, young anglers, and busy folks who don’t have time to make a longer trek. If you are targeting trout, use spinners, worms, marshmallows or Power Bait. If you want to catch bass, try soft plastics, jigs and spinnerbaits. And if you just want something swimming around on the end of your line, the old worm-and-bobber setup will catch pretty much anything. Be prepared for surprises — I’ve seen folks catch big crappie, catfish, carp and even a sturgeon in Treasure Valley ponds, and that’s just this spring.
Getting there: Fish & Game stocks ponds throughout Boise, Meridian, Nampa, Eagle, Middleton and Caldwell.
Snake River (Mixed Bag)
The action can be a little bit hit-and-miss in the spring as water levels and temperatures fluctuate, but anglers have been consistently catching bass, catfish and sturgeon for several weeks now. The stretch leading into Brownlee Reservoir and continuing up through Steck Park has been particularly good for catfish, with river and reservoir anglers landing nice channel cats and some big flatheads, too. Fresh cut bait, worms and prepared catfish baits seem to worm best, though catfish are more predatory than people give them credit for. They’ll happily grab a crankbait, and it’s not uncommon to catch them on bass lures and even crappie jigs—which usually leads to an epic battle on light tackle. Pre-spawn bass should be moving up into shallow, rocky coves and shorelines, and sturgeon are hanging out near the bottom of the deepest, darkest holes. Snake River reservoirs like Brownlee and C.J. Strike continue to produce, but watch out for windy days.
Getting there: Fish between C.J. Strike Reservoir and Brownlee. Popular access points include Swan Falls Dam, Celebration Park and Marsing.
Lucky Peak (Trout, Kokanee)
It hasn’t turned red-hot yet, but anglers are starting to pick up some nice stringers of kokanee salmon at Lucky Peak and Arrowrock. Trout fishing has been good, too, and rainbows often will bite on kokanee trolling rigs. Fish with wedding rings and other pop gear tipped with a salmon egg or shoepeg corn, and use a depth finder to see where the schools are holding. If the kokanee aren’t biting, try throwing spinners, Power Bait or a worm/marshmallow combo near the shoreline. And don’t forget: Lucky Peak and Arrowrock have smallmouth bass, too, so think about packing along some bass jigs and crankbaits.
Getting there: From Boise, take Warm Springs Avenue or Idaho 21 northeast to Lucky Peak.