Outdoors Blog

Chase bass at Ben Ross Reservoir (fishing report, May 31)

Largemouth bass.
Largemouth bass. Special to the Idaho Statesman

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.

C. Ben Ross Reservoir (Bass)

The largemouth bite should be on at Ben Ross, a medium-sized reservoir located about two hours northwest of Boise. The water is typically pretty high this time of year, so try fishing around the flooded willow trees, cattails and other aquatic vegetation. In my experience, the bass in Ben Ross are easy to find if you keep your eyes and ears open. They make distinctive popping sounds feeding deep within the branches of flooded trees, and quivering weeds above the surface often belie the commotion of bass foraging below. Soft plastic presentations, spinnerbaits, jigs and crankbaits are good weapons to have in your arsenal. Be mindful of the special rules on bass in Ben Ross — catch-and-release only through June 30, and only two fish, none between 12 and 16 inches, thereafter. If you are looking for some nice fillets, Ben Ross also has bluegill, crappie and rainbow trout. Motorized boats are allowed.

Getting there: Take I-84 or Idaho 52 west to Highway 95. Follow 95 north past Weiser, Midvale and Cambridge, then turn right on West Indian Valley Road (brown signs are posted for C. Ben Ross Reservoir).

Lucky Peak & Arrowrock Reservoirs (Kokanee)

The kokanee bite has been pretty steady at Lucky Peak and Arrowrock. Fish in the 10-to-14 inch range are common, which is perfect eating size. I’m hearing most fish are being caught at depths between 15 and 25 feet using the usual trolling gear, often tipped with a piece of corn. Use downriggers or leaded line to get your tackle into the strike zone. A fish/depth finder is a virtual must-have, and a good net person is critical — kokanee have soft mouths and a tendency to freak out and make a last-ditch escape dash when they see the boat. Silver, gold, pink and red are popular lure colors. If the kokanee aren’t biting, try fishing for trout or smallmouth bass, or move around the lake until you can find a more active school of fish.

Getting there: From Boise, take Warm Springs Avenue or Idaho 21 northeast to Lucky Peak. Continue past Lucky Peak to get to Arrowrock.

Lake Lowell (Bass)

Spring bass fishing is steady, although the unseasonable wind and rain wreaked some havoc on anglers in May. With warmer and more favorable conditions, fishing should improve. Anglers are having the best luck pitching jigs and soft plastics into the flooded trees, but spinnerbaits, crankbaits and top-water lures will catch fish, too. One little-known secret on Lowell is the strong smallmouth population. If the largemouth aren’t cooperating, try throwing jigs and crankbaits along the rocky dams and shorelines. Catfish are another common catch, and there are some big ones. Sink a live worm, cut bait or some sort of stinky catfish concoction to the bottom, and be ready for a battle!

Getting there: Follow the signs south from Nampa or Caldwell.

Jordan Rodriguez has been fishing Idaho waters since he was a teen. Share your fish stories, adventures, tips and tricks at outdoors @idahostatesman.com.