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.
Indian Creek (Trout)
We’ll start with a local but often overlooked stream that runs right through Kuna, Nampa and Caldwell. Indian Creek is regularly stocked with pan-sized rainbow trout, and there are some bigger holdover and native fish, too. Bank access is limited, but waders or swim trunks can put you right in the middle of the action. Tried and true trout temptations such as worms, marshmallows, salmon eggs, corn, dry flies, nymphs and small spinners will catch fish. Try targeting cut banks and overhanging trees that provide cover, as well as deep pools. It’s a rare opportunity to catch trout out of a small stream right here in the Valley, and you stand a good chance of bringing home a few stocked rainbows for the frying pan.
Getting there: Easy spots to access Indian Creek include downtown Caldwell, Northside Boulevard in Nampa and Swan Falls Road in Kuna.
Snake River (Mixed Bag)
Warm-weather fishing is hitting its stride on the Snake River. Smallmouth bass are booming, catfish are biting and sturgeon are burning out drags with their hard-charging runs and impressive aerial displays. Bass will whack all manner of jigs, plastics, crankbaits and jerk baits, particularly anything that looks like a crayfish. It’s a good time of year to fish retrieve lures like crankbaits that will get hung up on weeds later in the summer. For catfish, try drifting or sinking a piece of cut bait or chicken liver through deep riffles and channels. Sturgeon hang out in the deepest, darkest holes available. Bring your heavy tackle and sink a chunk of fish to the bottom, and be sure to adhere to sturgeon fishing rules and regulations. Fly-fishing will work, too, especially on bass and carp. And drifting a live worm through promising holes can catch just about anything that swims in the Snake.
Getting there: Fish between C.J. Strike Reservoir and Brownlee Reservoir. Popular access points include Swan Falls Dam, Celebration Park and Marsing.
Crane Falls/Cove Arm (Bass)
These two neighboring lakes provide lots of variety and the convenience of hitting both in one day. Crane Falls is a trophy-rules largemouth bass lake that also has bluegill, pumpkinseed, perch and rainbow trout. Only electric trolling motors are allowed. Popular lures include spinners, soft plastics, top-water plugs, frogs, spinnerbaits, jigs, flies and live worms. Cove Arm Lake features a smorgasbord of species, making it a great place to check some fish off your list. Smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, perch and catfish are among the possible catches. Motorboats are allowed, and the lake has a narrow channel leading to the Snake River. Bring your Crane Falls tackle, but throw in some extra crayfish patterns for the smallies and some panfish jigs for the crappie.
Getting there: Take I-84 east to Exit 90, then follow Highway 51 south. Turn right onto Crane Falls Road and follow the signs to the lake. Continue west along the dirt road to reach the Cove Arm boat launch.
Brownlee Reservoir (Catfish, Crappie)
Here’s a quick and easy guide to a multispecies day at Brownlee. First, find a cove with about 25 feet of water and some decent bottom structure. Drop some panfish jigs and you should catch a crappie — there are lots of decent fish in the 8-to-10-inch range this year. Next, kill and fillet one of your crappie and put the meat on ice. Place the remnants — the head, in particular — on a large circle hook and throw it out with a decent weight. Watch that rod closely as you continue to fish for crappie. If the line starts to move, get the slack out and be ready to wrestle with a flathead or channel catfish. If you wind up with one of each and want to make it a grand slam, try throwing a jig or crankbait for smallmouth bass. Rinse and repeat. Action is good for all three species right now, and should remain so for most of the summer.
Getting there: Take I-84 west and access the lake through Weiser on the Idaho side or Huntington on the Oregon side.
Jordan Rodriguez has been fishing Idaho waters since he was a teen. Share your fish stories, adventures, tips and tricks at outdoors @idahostatesman.com.