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.
Lake Cascade (Mixed Bag)
After some slow dog days of summer, perch fishing is starting to pick up at Cascade. The north and west sides of the lake, in particular, have been fishing well, and the area around Sugarloaf Island is always a good bet. Schools of perch tend to hold in 8 to 12 feet of water, just off the weed beds. Worms, panfish jigs tipped with bait and small crankbaits are the weapons of choice. As perch fishing picks up, trout fishing tends to slow down this time of year, though anglers are still boating some nice fish by trolling or bait fishing from the bank. Smallmouth bass fishing also has been a bit quiet, but it should start to turn on any day now. The water is down about 8 feet, but most of the boat launches are still available. For the latest lake conditions and fishing reports, call Tackle Tom’s at (208) 382-4367.
Getting there: Take Idaho 55 north to Cascade. There are turnoffs to lake access points all the way up through Donnelly.
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Horsethief Reservoir/Warm Lake (Trout)
If hiking into high mountain lakes isn’t your thing, Warm Lake and Horsethief Reservoir offer great scenery, good trout fishing, boat launches and lots of convenient shore access. I’m including these two lakes together because they are in the same neck of the woods, and the same techniques will usually catch fish at both. Trolling with spinners, wedding rings or small pop gear tipped with bait is a tried and true method for boaters, while floating a worm/marshmallow combo or some Power Bait just off the bottom seems to be the ticket from shore, especially early in the day. Horsethief has recovered nicely from last fall’s draining (and this spring’s re-stocking), while Warm Lake has the added bonus of plentiful brook trout, which like to hang out near the lily pads. We are running out of warm weekends in the mountains, so plan a camping trip before the weather starts to turn!
Getting there: Take Idaho 55 north to Cascade and turn right on Warm Lake Road. The turnoff for Horsethief is 8 miles in, and Warm Lake is 26 miles in from 55.
Snake River (Bass, Catfish)
The Snake is running pretty low right now, which can open up some nice opportunities for bank anglers. If you’re boating, be sure to keep a close eye out for rocks and other motor-damaging obstacles that come into play when the water is down. Bass action is hot right now, with fish hitting on tube jigs, grubs, plastic worms and pretty much anything that resembles a crayfish. Find some weed-free holes and you are all but certain to catch some smallmouth. Channel catfish are also biting on live worms, chicken livers and cut bait. Most anglers target catfish at night, but you can catch them pretty much any time of day if you know where to look. Deep pools and eddies with a little bit of current are the ticket.
Getting there: Fish between C.J. Strike Reservoir and Brownlee Reservoir.
Alpine Lakes and Streams (Trout)
Some of the best reports I’m hearing this month continue to be from high-mountain lakes and streams. It’s a pretty simple formula — first, target an area that’s either a doable day hike or has a campsite. Then, pack a small tackle box with small spinners, flies and some bait hooks and get after it! Alpine trout typically aren’t too picky, especially if you can find some brook trout. And campsite meals don’t get much better than keeping a few 12-to-14-inch trout, so bring some tinfoil, butter and spices. Just make sure you double-check the regulations, especially if you plan to keep fish — there are a handful of mountain lakes that have trophy size restrictions and require barbless, artificial lures.
Getting there: There are dozens of lakes to explore in the mountains near McCall, Cascade and Stanley.
Jordan Rodriguez has been fishing Idaho waters since he was a teen. Share your fish stories, adventures, tips and tricks at outdoors @idahostatesman.com.