The Northwest's Premier Outfitter offering guided fishing trips on Idaho's Clearwater and Snake Rivers, American Falls Reservoir, CJ Strike Reservoir, Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir, and the Columbia River in Washington and Oregon.
CJ Strike is arguably the crown jewel as far as winter fisheries go in Southern Idaho. Located an hour south of Boise, Idaho it is home to a fantastic winter Crappie and Yellow Perch bite, and can also produce some of the best open water trout fishing in the area.
Over the last several weeks we have been targeting the insane numbers of Crappie that have been filling live wells since last spring. During the winter months most panfish species (crappie, bluegills, and perch) suspend mid water column over deep water. We locate these huge schools of fish and target them by vertically jigging the same style of flutter spoons common to ice fishing.
Over the last two weeks the big schools of fish have been mostly hanging out in 30-50 feet of water over 70 feet of water. To locate these fish we cruise the 70 foot flats with our electronics until we dial in the area they are using. We then use the spot lock feature on our bow mount trolling motor to essentially anchor on the fish. This allows us to stay directly over the schools while we drop our gear into the zone. With multiple anglers fishing it’s nothing to put 50 + fish in the boat in a number of hours.
If you decide to get the boat out and head to CJ Strike a word of caution is warranted. This reservoir can get nasty fast in a very short amount of time. Make sure you plan your launch site accordingly so that if the wind does come up you can safely return to port. With that said this is a fantastic fishery that needs to be enjoyed. These huge numbers of Crappie won’t be around long, as crappie numbers are naturally very cyclicals and go through boom and bust cycles often. We are now in an amazing boom, so get out there and enjoy!
We run guided fishing trips year round on CJ Strike Reservoir. This crappie fishery will be on fire all through the spring, and we will be there catching and enjoying these tasty fish. We also fish for trout, sturgeon, and bass. The trout fishing is good now, and come spring and summer the Sturgeon fishing is amazing. If you looking to learn this fishery there is no better option than booking a trip with us. Our guides have the knowledge and are very willing to share their tips and tricks with anyone that wants to learn.
Today was my first day of 2021 on the river and I couldn’t have been happier about how things went today. Every year my family and I take off to see family for the holidays, and while our days are spent gathering with family and doing some fantastic bird hunting, there is still the draw that brings me back to the river. See 10 days off the water is a LONG time in my world, and I’m always apprehensive on how the day will go. When you spend your life on the water and suddenly the routine is broken it always feels a little strange to “get back” into it.
I’m blessed to have an awesome team and great contacts that keep me informed on what’s happening on the river while I’m gone. Their help is such a blessing, and it’s hard to imagine being able to jump right back into it without having a great team. So, with some great intel, and some earned river knowledge I decided to go with the basics, and fish a stretch of river I know better than most people know the streets in their neighborhood.
What I found today was a great way to get back on the river. Idaho’s Clearwater was in the perfect “steelhead “green” and although we didn’t put up record numbers, we were able to get into fish in all the places they should have been. Side drifting egg imitations, and corky/yarn/shrimp combos were the ticket today. My absolute favorite way to fish this time of year is to side drift. It allows us to cover a bunch of water and pound holes over and over again picking out the biters.
Fishing should remain good all the way through the first half of March. It’s a guarantee we will see some changes and challenges during the next 2 1/2 months, but there is no doubt the second half of the Clearwater Steelhead season is numbers time. Our highest hookup dates always fall sometime between now and the end of February.
We still have some great dates open, but we have been taking lots of calls and filling lots of dates the past few days, so if you are interested in fishing with us this winter/Spring make sure to give Dani in our office a call at 208-669-1569 and she will get you all set up with myself or Barry. Either way you will be in good hands.
Check out the pictures below, and most of all I wish you all a happy new year, and while there are so many challenges ahead of us always remember that God’s got this and trust in him is the only way to truly have peace