Jordan Rodriguez holding two jumbo perch caught at Lake Cascade

Spring fishing is in full swing! May is one of Idaho’s top fishing months of the year, especially at lakes, ponds and reservoirs. The weather is good, the fish are biting and options abound! As you plan your upcoming trips, here are a few ideas to get you started:

Lake Cascade (Perch, Trout, Bass)

It’s a great time to fish Lake Cascade, which is teeming with life following the perch spawn. Fish are actively hunting minnows, and anglers can take advantage by casting or trolling Rapalas and other crankbaits. Perch patterns are a great place to start. If you have a boat, trolling is an efficient way to cover water. Once you locate schools of active perch, you can anchor up and fish with panfish jigs, blade baits, Ned Rigs and drop shots. Perch are the target of choice for most anglers, but rainbow trout and smallmouth bass are also common catches, and all three will bite pretty much everything listed above. Bring layers—it can be chilly, especially early in the morning.

Lake Lowell (Bass)

After a slow start to the season, the water is warming up and the fishing is following suit. Anglers are catching bass by pitching plastics and jigs into the flooded trees or along the weed line; buzzing spinnerbaits and topwater lures outside the weed edge; or bumping crankbaits and jigs along dam walls and other rocky structure. Remember: the boat ramps close (and the gates are locked!) at sundown, and all bass are catch-and-release through the end of June!

Local Ponds (Mixed Bag)

Fishing is good at many local ponds, and absolutely on fire at some! These often-overlooked fisheries provide great opportunities to catch quality fish right in town. Fishing for stocked rainbow trout has been good. Use spinners, flies or bait, and check the Idaho Fish and Game website to see when the most recent stocking occurred. Most ponds also hold largemouth bass, including some lunkers. Target them with soft plastic lures and finesse jigs around trees and other heavy cover. Some ponds have healthy populations of panfish, especially bluegill. They will be in shallow water for the annual spawn. Micro jigs or a small chunk of worm under a bobber are the ticket.  

Lucky Peak Reservoir (Kokanee)

Water clarity is improving and the Kokanee bite has been fair at Lucky Peak. The fish are still shallow, from the surface down to about 15 feet. Orange, pink and white have been the top color choices. Kokabow dodgers trailed with hoochies and wedding rings tipped with scented corn or maggots are the way to go—standard Kokanee stuff. Experiment with your speeds, depths and locations if the fishing is slow (right around 1 MPH is a good place to start). Fish early in the morning and on weekdays to avoid the ski boat crowds. The first few hours of daylight often provide the best fishing, too. If you’re willing to drive a little further, Arrowrock and Anderson Ranch are solid Kokanee options, too. It’s Kokanee fishing, so things can be fickle and often change quickly. Have a game plan, but be ready to adapt. Tight lines!