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 Cascade (Mixed Bag)
The ice is off at Lake Cascade, and anglers have been catching some nice perch and trout on the open water. As far as perch go, the record-breaking, spawning females have likely dropped their egg weight by now, but there are still plenty of nice fish to be had. Worms, cut bait, small jigs and crankbaits are the best bets for perch, while trout will hit on spinners, Rapalas, worms, marshmallows and Power Bait. Bass anglers will probably have better luck here in the Treasure Valley until the water warms up, but you might find a few smallmouths by slow-fishing jigs and soft plastics. Also, the annual Howdy’s Gas and Grub Fishing Derby is happening this weekend, with cash prizes going to the heaviest trout and stringer of three perch. For more info, call Howdy’s at (208) 382-6712. You can also get the inside scoop on tournament fishing in this week’s Fish Rap column on Wednesday!
Getting there: Take Idaho 55 to Cascade. Crown Point and Sugarloaf Island are popular access points.
Duck Valley Indian Reservation (Trout)
I’m hearing some good reports for spring fishing on the Duck Valley Indian Reservation. Fish are biting on worms, marshmallows, Power Bait, silver and gold spoons and spinners, and fly patterns including leaches, nymphs and chironomids. The rainbow trout are typical Duck Valley fish — fat, healthy and high-flying fighters. Mountain View, Sheep Creek and Billy Shaw are the three lakes available on the reservation. A day pass is $15 per angler to fish all three lakes, and a season pass costs $85. For the latest fishing and weather reports, call (208) 759-3246.
Getting there: From Boise, go east on I-84 to Mountain Home, then take Idaho 51 south toward the Nevada border.
Local Ponds (Bass)
Pond fishing is really hitting its stride, particularly for big pre-spawn bass. Remember, it is important to release big fish — pretty much any bass over two pounds is a female capable of laying thousands of eggs every spring! But they sure are fun to catch, and they are hitting right now on everything from spinnerbaits and crankbaits to jigs, soft plastics and beefy fly patterns. Smaller fish tend to be more aggressive (and naïve), and they will readily attack lures and live worms in the shallows. Ponds with lots of small bass and/or bluegill are great for taking the kids. Stocked rainbow trout, catfish and carp also are possibilities at ponds. It’s a great way to have a quick getaway the whole family can enjoy, and you can catch some really nice fish this time of year.
Getting there: Fish & Game stocks ponds throughout Boise, Meridian, Nampa, Eagle, Middleton and Caldwell.
South Fork Snake River (Trout)
With the Boise River still running high, stream anglers might have to venture a bit farther to get their fix. The Owyhee in eastern Oregon and the Big Wood near Hailey and Ketchum are popular options, but if you’re willing to travel a bit farther out, I’m hearing great things about spring fishing on the South Fork of the Snake in eastern Idaho. The South Fork is legendary for big browns and cutthroats, and it runs through my old stomping grounds, so I know firsthand how hot it can be. Browns over 20 inches aren’t uncommon, and my personal-best trout — a 28-inch brown — was caught in April on the South Fork. It’s a fly-fisherman’s paradise, and lures (Rapalas work really well) and bait are legal, too. Pay attention to the special rules: All cutthroats must be released, the limit on browns is two (none under 16 inches) and there is no limit on rainbows. Make a road trip of it, and tight lines!
Getting there: Take I-84 east toward Idaho Falls. The South Fork can be accessed near the small towns of Swan Valley, Rigby and Ririe.