This report highlights a few of the best places to fish, what anglers are using and what they are catching. The information is compiled from regional Fish and Game fishery managers, local tackle shops and anglers.
If you are looking for a fun place to take the family fishing this fall, area lowland lakes offer ideal, easy-to- reach destinations. Algae and aquatic weeds are less of a problem this time of year, and most waters receive generous stockings of catchable rainbow trout. Below is a list of area waters and the fish you might expect to catch at each:
Deer Creek Reservoir – Near Pierce, Idaho. It is the state’s newest fishing water. Excellent populations of stocked rainbow and cutthroat trout.
Elk Creek Reservoir – Near Elk River, Idaho. Good populations of largemouth and smallmouth bass, bluegill, and stocked rainbow trout.
Mann Lake – Near Lewiston, Idaho. Mann Lake is an irrigation reservoir and is usually drawn down in the late summer, but fishing can still be good. Good populations of largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, channel catfish, and stocked rainbow trout.
Moose Creek Reservoir – Near Bovill, Idaho. Good populations of largemouth bass, bluegill, and stocked rainbow trout.
Soldier’s Meadow Reservoir – 20 miles south of Lewiston. Soldier’s Meadow is an irrigation reservoir and is usually drawn down in late summer. Good populations of black crappie and stocked rainbow trout.
Spring Valley Reservoir – Near Troy, Idaho. Good populations of largemouth bass, bluegill, and stocked rainbow trout.
Tolo Lake – Near Grangeville, Idaho. It is a fairly turbid natural lake that experienced a fish kill late last summer. While stocked, expect fishing to be slow for trout, white crappie, largemouth bass, bluegill, and channel catfish.
Waha Lake – South of Lewiston, Idaho. Waha is a natural lake and has fair populations of smallmouth bass, perch, and stocked rainbow trout.
Winchester Lake – Near Winchester, Idaho. It has good populations of largemouth bass, bluegill, black crappie, yellow perch, channel catfish, and stocked rainbow trout.
September brings some spectacular fly fishing in our area’s rivers and streams. Anglers on Kelly Creek, the Lochsa, Selway, and North Fork Clearwater rivers can expect to do very well as the water cools and fish become more active. The fishing pressure is light and good fall hatches contribute to quality fishing. The larger trout tend to head out of the smaller tributaries and into the main rivers this time of year, so anglers looking for big fish should focus their efforts in the big water.
Attractor patterns, such as yellow Stimulators, red Humpies, Royal Wulffs, and Parachute Adams should all work this month. Try October caddis later in the month. If your dry flies are ignored, go wet with size 16-18 Hares Ears, Princes, and Pheasant Tails.
The good news: Counts over Lower Granite the last week combined with dropping flows have led to an increase in catch rates and numbers of anglers on the Snake and Lower Clearwater rivers. Back trolling metallic-type plugs such as hot shots and mag warts seem to be the most popular method. Jig and bobber anglers using shrimp and boat anglers using lighted plugs after dark have been effective, mostly in the confluence area.
This past week, anglers averaged 14 hours per fish caught in the lower Snake River and 36 hours per fish caught in the Clearwater River below the Memorial Bridge.
The bad news: Anglers can expect fewer steelhead to return to Idaho this fall than the last several years. Warm water temperatures in the Snake River also continue to delay their return. While fishing may not be as good this fall compared to previous years, there will still be plenty of steelhead to enjoy. Expect fishing to improve as the water temperatures cool even more.
Fall Chinook Salmon
Steelhead anglers may want to turn their attention to fall chinook, which so far appears to be meeting expectations. The chinook run is on pace to meet the preseason prediction of more than 18,000 at Lower Granite. Anglers are doing well on the Snake River, with 58 hatchery adult and 36 jack chinook harvested this past week. No chinook harvest was recorded on the lower Clearwater River. Water temperatures are still warm, but the water is clear.
Don’t forget to review the fishing seasons and rules booklet before casting a line. The Fish and Game office in Lewiston (799-5010) can assist you with detailed information and your local tackle shop can help with equipment.