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.
Crane Falls Lake (Mixed Bag)
For anglers with small boats, float tubes and canoes, it doesn’t get much better than little Crane Falls Lake near Bruneau. Crane Falls has everything from largemouth bass and rainbow trout to crappie, perch, bluegill and pumpkinseed. Some anglers are deterred by the special regulations — electric motors only and trophy rules on bass (two-fish limit, none under 20 inches) — but it’s a fun summer destination with great variety in a quiet, relaxed atmosphere. Largemouth bass will hit a variety of lures, from crankbaits and spinnerbaits to soft plastics and tube jigs. The first and last hours of daylight can be dynamite for top-water fishing with frogs, buzz baits, flies and plugs. Trout will take spinners, Rapalas, worms, marshmallows, Power Bait or flies. And the panfish bite varies depending on the day and the species you are targeting, but panfish jigs, worms or small crankbaits usually will catch something. Bring an anchor if you can, because it gets windy out there. Or, if you want to fire up the big motor, boat launches to the Snake River and Cove Arm Lake are less than a mile away.
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.
Duck Valley Indian Reservation (Trout)
Warm temperatures can make for slower going in trout lakes, but anglers who put in the time are usually rewarded with some fat rainbows at Mountain View Reservoir, Sheep Creek Reservoir and Lake Billy Shaw. Algae blooms can become a problem in late summer, so finding open pockets of water to fish is key, and having a boat or float tube helps. Fly-fishing is a good way to beat the weeds, with leeches, chironomids, midges, damselflies and mayfly emergers serving as go-to patterns. Trolling or casting spoons and spinners will work if you find a clear stretch of water, and worms, marshmallows and Power Bait are always good baits. Make sure to purchase your Duck Valley license ($15 per day) before you start fishing. More info on fishing and camping at Duck Valley is available at www.shopaitribes.org/fish.
Getting there: From Boise, go east on I-84 to Mountain Home, then take Idaho 51 south toward the Nevada border.
Boise River (Trout)
Summer fishing has been hot on the Boise River. I’ve seen some nice stringers of stocked fish coming out of the main stretch through town, along with a couple of monsters over 20 inches long! Fly-fishermen are catching fish on PMDs, caddis and trico imitations, prince and pheasant tail nymphs, and sculpin patterns, which tend to attract larger rainbows and browns. Spinners, spoons, Rapalas, Power Bait or a good ol’ fashioned night crawler also will catch fish in the deep pools, riffles and cut banks. I always encourage anglers to keep stocked fish and release the rarer, larger wild fish that sustain Boise’s natural trout population. Big, full fins with white tips are a telltale sign of a wild fish. Fishing flows are friendly right now, but the stretch between Barber Park and Ann Morrison is often crowded with river floaters.
Getting there: Trout are regularly stocked between Barber Park and the Glenwood Bridge.
Local Ponds (Bass)
For a quick and easy fishing fix, it’s hard to beat the many ponds available throughout the Treasure Valley. Public parks, community subdivision ponds and even golf course lakes are usually loaded with largemouth bass, rainbow trout, panfish, catfish, or some combination thereof. Just make sure you have permission to fish, and bring a variety of tackle so you are ready for anything. Ponds with grassy banks are perfect for practicing fly-casting, and the evening top-water bite tends to be pretty good for largemouth bass this time of year. Spinners, flies, weedless soft plastics, panfish jigs, top-water frogs and a carton of night crawlers are a few good things to have in your arsenal.
Getting there: Fish & Game stocks ponds throughout Boise, Meridian, Nampa, Eagle, Middleton and 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.