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.
Alpine Lakes and Streams (Trout)
Fishing has been good to great at Idaho’s abundant high-mountain lakes! Be sure to get in on the action while you can — alpine evenings are already chilly, and it will only get cooler as the days grow shorter.
Lakes located near established roads and campgrounds tend to get more angling pressure; for bigger, less-wary fish, try hiking in a few miles and exploring more remote territory. There are dozens of lakes in the mountains above Cascade, McCall and Stanley. Flies, spinners and bait (where allowed) will all catch fish. Terrestrials like hoppers and Chernobyl ants can be dynamite, and smaller, more traditional dry flies and nymphs also will catch fish. My favorite trout spinner is the Panther Martin, and bait fishermen seem to prefer worms, Power Bait or live grasshoppers. Packing in a float tube can be a lot of work, but it’s usually worth it — shore access can be limited, and getting out into deeper water makes a huge difference. And don’t ignore inlet and outlet streams — even the small ones often hold fish.
Getting there: There are dozens of alpine lakes available within a few hours of Boise. Get your hands on a trail map and do some exploring!
C.J. Strike Reservoir (Perch, Bass)
Summer fishing has remained steady at C.J. Strike. Schools of perch (as well as crappie and bluegill) tend to stack up in the narrows, usually in 20 to 30 feet of water. Use a fish finder and drop some panfish jigs tipped with bait when a cloud appears under your boat. Keeper-sized panfish in the 10-inch range are plentiful and usually eager to strike. Bank anglers also can get in on the perch and crappie action if they know where to fish. Bass fishing is steady, but you might have to wade through lots of small fish before you catch a nice one. Soft plastic worms and crayfish, perch-patterned crankbaits, dark-colored tube jigs and whole live night crawlers are some of the go-to presentations. Top-water lures will also work, particularly early and late in the day. Trout fishing slows down on hot summer days, but some anglers are still picking up a few stocked rainbows near the dam on Power Bait, worms and marshmallows.
Getting there: Take I-84 east toward Mountain Home and head south.
South Fork Boise River (Trout)
Flows are hovering around 1,700 cubic feet per second, which is good for drift fishing and passable for wading in certain spots. Fishing for big, wild rainbow trout has been really good of late, with most anglers catching fish on mayfly patterns or terrestrials. Pink is the hot color for dry flies, and hoppers are the ticket on big bugs. Caddis, stonefly and mayfly nymphs are also an option, and many anglers trail one below a surface fly to double their chances. Traditional anglers can fish with spinners and other lures, but only one barbless hook is allowed. Bait is not allowed on the South Fork, and the trout limit is two, none under 20 inches. The special regs make the South Fork more of a catch-and- release fishery, but they also lead to lots of big fish staying in the river. Bring the camera in case you catch a monster!
Getting there: Fish between Arrowrock Reservoir and Anderson Ranch Reservoir.
Halverson Lake (Bass)
August fishing is always fun at little Halverson Lake. By now, the water has receded from two lakes into one, but there is still plenty of habitat to support healthy populations of largemouth bass and bluegill. Weed mats and shoreline brush — including some poison ivy — can make bank fishing difficult, but if you’re willing to pack in a raft or float tube, the action can be fantastic. Most Halverson bass are in the 10- to 14-inch range, but they are aggressive hunters and good fighters. Halverson also has some nice schools of hand-sized bluegill that will give you a run for your money on light tackle. Spinnerbaits, plastic worms, crankbaits and jigs are the ticket for bass. Top-water frogs and plugs also work on calm days. Live worms, small flies and crickets will catch bluegill. If the fishing is slow, try the nearby Snake River for smallmouth bass and catfish.
Getting there: Head to Celebration Park in Melba, park on the dirt road along the Snake River and hike south to the lake (there are signs posted).
Jordan Rodriguez has been fishing Idaho waters since he was a teen. Share your fish stories, adventures, tips and tricks at outdoors @idahostatesman.com.