Maintenance Work Begins on Winchester Lake - Could Last Through Summer 2016

It's not uncommon for a dam that's over 100 years old to require maintenance. Within the next few weeks Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game in cooperations with Idaho Parks and Recreation will be notifying anglers, park users and landowners that lake levels at Winchester Lake will be falling this spring so we can repair a safety siphon and excavate an explorative hole in front of the spillway. Findings from the test hole will dictate whether additional work is necessary. If more work is needed, the lake could remain drawn down from several weeks to the entire summer. All work is being coordinated with the Idaho Dept. of Water Resources and their Dam Safety experts.

There could also be traffic delays on State Highway 95 alternate Route to Winchester, Idaho.

Attend Public Meetings on 2016 Chinook Salmon Fisheries

Joe DuPont, Clearwater Fisheries Manager, encourages anglers to join the discussion on how to manage this year's Chinook Salmon fisheries. The public meeting is in Lewiston on February 24, 2016. Meetings are also being held in Orofino on February 22 and Riggins on February 23.  Check the press release for more details.

Commission extends big game tag auction comment period

Idaho Fish and Game commissioners on Thursday 2/4, postponed a decision to offer big-game tags for auction until their March 9-11 meeting in Boise to allow more time for the public to comment on the proposal.

The extended comment period will close March 4th.

The comment period has reopened.
  1. Auction tag proposal document [PDF 92kb]
  2. Decision postponed, auction tag press release ( 2/4/16 )
  3. Original auction tag press release ( 1/29/16 )
  4. Comment on the proposal

Late January 2016 - It's Time to Play - Go Fish!!

If you want to beat cabin there are great opportunities. Here are some random angling reports from the past week. Some are typical fishing spots for this time of year, but others may cause you to say, "why didn't I think of that?"

Ice Fisheries:
Cascade is "spotty" at best. People are catching a few large perch and rainbow trout through the ice. If you are looking for qualilty and not quantity - Poison Creek is a good spot. Sugarloaf has produced a few more trout but you need a snowmachine to access the reservoir.

Payette Lake as been yielding lake trout. I've seen several in the 20" - 30" range. Jig just off the bottom in deeper water areas (upper 2/3 of the lake). Be careful on the edge of the ice because it is still a little soft.

Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir has produced nice trout through the ice. Fish the bays, such as Gray's Landing with bait. Anglers are finding fish in 10' - 12' of water.

Magic Reservoir is fishing much like Cascade. Fishing has been "spotty" with some anglers being "skunked." Fish bait about 10 - 12' deep for best results.

LIttle Wood Reservoir is a fishery that has yielded nice catches of rainbow trout with most anglers reporting limits followed by catch-and-release action. You need a snowmachine to access the reservoir.

Warm Lake has been good fishing with several reports of anglers catching limits of rainbow trout. Again, you need a snowmobile. Use eggs, corn, worms or maggots for great results.

Mackay Reservoir is a great winter fishery - if you don't mind a slight breeze. Locals are catching rainbow, cutthroat and an occasional perch using bait.

Bank Anglers and Open Water:
C.J. Strike near Air Force Ramp and Cottonwood Boat Launch have both been reported as great locations to catch rainbow trout and perch. Anglers are reporting bait and lures both yielding great results. Lures (e.g. Dare Devil, Rooster tail) have been effective for rainbow trout.

Arrowrock and Lucky Peak have both been good from the bank. Rainbow trout limits are common using mostly bait (worms, corn, etc.).

Be Careful Ice Fishing - January 2016

I recently observed pictures on social media of anglers ice fishing on Lake Lowell near Nampa. Anglers and other recreationists going out on the ice on lower elevation lakes, reservoirs and ponds need to be very careful and be prepared with safety equipment. Have 20'+ of rope, never go alone and maintain distance between yourself and other anglers. If someone falls through the ice - don't rush to the hole. Remain calm and assess your situation before moving. Before attempting a rescue - call for assistance. Spread your weight out on the ice by laying down or rolling to the bank or a safe distance from the hole.  Use a long stick, ladder or rope to assist anyone who's fallen through the ice to get back on top. If you've fallen through the ice, put both arms on the ice and kick like you are swimming. It is much easier to get back on the ice by kicking and pulling yourself forward with the help from a buddy holding a long stick or rope.

As temperatures start to warm, the edges of the ice can become unsafe. Pay attention to your surrounds because conditions can change rapidly.

Learn more about ice fishing in Idaho.

The Bite is on at Cascade Reservoir - 2016 Starts Right

Ice fishing over the weekend (Jan. 2 and 3) at the upper end of Cascade Reservoir was reported to be very good with anglers catching 10 - 12" perch at Poison Creek. Reports were of 150 people at the site Saturday morning. Tackle Tom's and Southwest Idaho Fishing Facebook pages show fish from several satisfied anglers.