Jordan Rodriguez holding a nice Snake River smallmouth bass.

Spring is officially upon us! Mother Nature is still throwing us a few curveballs with the weather, but for the most part, things are warming up and trending in the right direction, with prime fishing season just around the corner. As you plan your upcoming trips, here are a few local waters to keep in mind:

Snake River (Bass, Catfish)

The Snake River is running high and fast right now, but don’t be fooled—fish are on the move and willing to eat! Use caution while boating or working the shoreline, but there is plenty of navigable water to explore. On a recent evening trip, my buddy Randal and I put 30 smallmouth in the boat, mostly using crayfish-colored cranks and other reaction baits. I’ve seen reports of anglers having success with finesse jigs, Senkos, plastic creature baits and Ned Rigs, too, so bring a few different options to maximize your chances. The water temperature on our trip was 56 degrees. I prefer to fish afternoons/evenings this time of year, as a couple extra degrees can make a big difference. I also recommend catch-and-release, especially with big adult bass. It’s spawning season! Catfish are also chewing—try fishing with worms, shrimp, cut bait, chicken livers and other natural baits in swirling eddies and slow-moving current seams.

Duck Valley Reservation (Trout)

Spring is an ideal time to fish for big rainbow trout on the Duck Valley Reservation, and I have been hearing some good reports over the past couple weeks. Mountain View is the most popular of the three lakes, and action has been good trolling plugs and spoons, casting flies and spinners or soaking worms and Power Bait. Don’t overlook Lake Billy Shaw — it is managed for trophy fish and has special rules (flies only), but there are some real giants being caught. Sheep Creek is the third option at Duck Valley, and it offers a quality smallmouth bass fishery in addition to trout. As a reminder, a tribal permit (not a state license) is required to fish anywhere on Duck Valley.

Brownlee Reservoir (Mixed Bag)

Water levels are on the rise at Brownlee, and fishing has been picking up for multiple species. Bass are moving up shallow and have been taking crankbaits, tubes, Ned Rigs and other finesse jig presentations. Catfish are active, with anglers picking up plenty of channel cats on cut bait and other bottom bait presentations. Bigger flathead catfish are usually caught on lures, often by bass anglers throwing deep diving crankbaits. Crappie action has been hit or miss—look for them close to shore in coves with steep bank drop-offs. When the fish cooperate, they are usually keeper sized and caught on panfish jigs or small swimbaits. If you’re fishing from a boat, an Idaho or Oregon license will cover you. From shore, you need the license for whichever state you’re standing in.

Boise River Reservoirs (Kokanee)

Kokanee fishing has been so-so this spring for anglers at Arrowrock, Lucky Peak and Anderson Ranch Reservoirs. Some boats are finding a limit of fish—usually after a pretty full day on the water—but there have been a lot of slow reports, too. Things should pick up as the water levels stabilize and clarity improves. Pink seems to be the hot color so far—I like to troll with Kokabow dodgers and lures like the Kokabug or hoochie. Long-lining 80 to 100 feet behind the boat is the way to go right now, as the fish are mostly scattered relatively close to the surface. You may pick up a few trout, too. Tight lines!!