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.
Swan Falls (Mixed Bag)
The Snake River around Swan Falls Dam offers great fishing for a wide variety of species. Below the dam, anglers can catch piles of smallmouth bass and channel catfish on crankbaits, crayfish imitations, live worms, cut bait and more. It’s also one of the area’s most popular sturgeon destinations. Make sure you use proper tackle and abide by Idaho regulations for targeting, handling and releasing sturgeon if you fish for them! Six-foot fish are caught pretty regularly, and there are bigger ones in there, too. The reservoir area above the dam is also popular, especially with boaters. Smallmouth bass are the most common catch, but there are largemouth bass, bullheads, channel catfish and occasional crappie and perch, too. Pack a variety of lures, including grubs, tubes, jigs, crankbaits, jerk baits and plastic worms.
Getting there: Take Meridian Road south through Kuna and hang a left on Swan Falls Road, which ends at the dam about 25 miles down.
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Lake Lowell (Bass)
Slowly but surely, the bite is picking up at Lowell. Anglers are having to work for their fish, but some nice largemouth bass are being caught around flooded trees and other structure. Spinnerbaits, jigs, soft plastics and crankbaits are the most popular presentations. Wind has been an issue this spring, so be sure to bring life jackets and plan accordingly for choppy conditions. Anglers are also catching catfish and a few bass from shore near the dams on crankbaits and bait. Remember, all bass are catch-and-release until July. And if bow fishing is your thing, there are plenty of carp available in the shallow flats.
Getting there: Head south to the boat docks from Nampa or Caldwell.
C.J. Strike Reservoir (Mixed Bag)
In a spring full of changing weather and fluctuating water levels, C.J. Strike has been the most consistent fishing spot within shouting distance of Boise. Anglers continue to catch bass, bluegill, crappie, perch and trout at a steady clip. Everyone has their own methods, but small jigs tipped with bait are always a good bet for panfish, especially in the narrows or when bank fishing in coves. Soft plastics, jigs and crankbaits work best for bass. C.J. Strike is known as a smallmouth fishery, but bring your largemouth tackle, too. There are some nice ones in there. Plenty of stocked trout remain as well. The pan-sized rainbows and some larger, holdover fish will snatch up worms, Power Bait, spinners and trolling rigs. High winds are about the only thing slowing the fishing down, so check conditions before you go.
Getting there: Take I-84 east to Mountain Home and head south.
Lucky Peak (Trout, Kokanee)
I’m hearing mixed reports on kokanee fishing, and most of the fish being caught seem to be fairly shallow. Try trolling about 10 feet down with traditional pop gear tipped with corn. If you can’t find the kokanee bite, some good-sized trout have been showing up for boat and bank anglers alike. Trout will take trolling rigs as well as spinners, spoons, Rapalas and the good ole worm-and-marshmallow sandwich. Don’t forget, Lucky Peak also has smallmouth bass, which should be starting to patrol shallow, rocky coves and shorelines. Adjacent Arrowrock Reservoir is another option. The fishing opportunities and setups are pretty much identical, but sometimes one lake will outperform the other, especially early in the season when weather and the fish are finicky.
Getting there: From Boise, take Warm Springs Avenue or Idaho 21 northeast to Lucky Peak.