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Author Archives: Kyle Jones

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Fantastic Crappie and Sturgeon fishing at CJ Strike!

The absolute lights out winter crappie and perch fishing continues at CJ Strike Reservoir. Located only an hour south of Boise, Idaho this is a truly special place for anglers in southern idaho who are looking for a local get away close to home. One of the best things about CJ Strike is the diversity of this fishery. On any day we can target Crappie, Perch, Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass, Channel Catfish, huge White Sturgeon, and the ever present fantastic Rainbow Trout Fishery.

Lately our boats have been focusing on the Crappie, Perch, and white sturgeon. We had 2 boats out last Saturday and between them they took 200 crappie and caught and released 12 sturgeon, with the largest fish going 9’1”.

We have been finding all our crappie suspended over deep water. Most of the crappie schools tend to be suspend from 30-50 feet over both deep water flats, and deep water humps. On the flats the fish tend to be moving around a lot, and the schools come and go very quickly, but on the humps fish are tending to hold in the same area all day. This makes these bunches of fish very accessible.

We have also noticed that schools of fish that are more related to the bottom tend to have a bunch more perch in them and provide some awesome mixed bag fishing.

Currently we are finding fish in all parts of the reservoir. Most people relate the narrows as the epicenter of the crappie and perch fishing on CJ Strike, but we have been finding huge piles of fish up the Snake Arm as well. CJ is a huge place, so if fishing around other boats is not your cup of tea then get out and explore. You will be greatly rewarded. Below is a video of Brett giving a quick rundown on how he is targeting these large schools of fish.

We have boats available most days to get you out fishing, and the best thing about CJ is that it’s a year round fishery, so if your more in warm weather adventures make sure to get you spring and summer trips lined up now before we get super busy.

If your ready to book, or just want to talk to us about a trip, please give our office a call at 208-669-1569 or click the green book online button at the top of the page. We can’t wait to get you out on the water.


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Awesome Winter Fishing at CJ Strike

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.


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Starting 2021 in Style! Steelhead on Idaho’s Clearwater!

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

Kyle


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Clearwater River Steelhead Report 11/30/20

We took most of last week off for the holiday, but we had boats out a few days. The fishing last week was on the slow side. There were fish to be caught, but it was a grind. I was back on the river Saturday and put a few in the boat, but today things really started to heat up. Today was the best egg bite I have had all month. It was so nice to get into a good batch of fish side drifting.

Below is our weekly steelhead video report. Please make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel while you guys are there, and if you have any questions please make sure you leave us a comment.


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Clearwater River Steelhead Report 10/26/20

This week we had some ups and downs on Idaho’s Clearwater River, but by the end of the week the entire River was fishing fantastic.

The week started out slow, as we had a bunch of rain and river levels quickly rose and water quality suffered. We struggled for a few days but still managed to find some willing fish every day on the water. By the end of the week the water had cleared up and fishing was again going great.

This week we caught fish both drifting bait and single egg imitations, but we did most of our damage late in the week backtrolling plugs and diver and shrimp. Friday and Saturday we found fish in most tail outs we fished, and the key was to cover a lot of water to find pods of fish that were grouped together. Some water was empty and some was loaded!

This week we are looking at some great fishing conditions. The water was high last week, but because of cold temps over the weekend the River has stabilized. Water temperatures will also stabilize this week as we should see some fab weather by Wednesday.

All in all the River looks to be setting up for a fantastic November. We have quite a few open dates in November and with the help of a great teammate, Barry Howard, we are able to run multiple boats every day. Get in touch with us now and let’s get your November and December trips lined up.


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Opening Day on Idaho’s Clearwater River

Today, October 15th 2020 was the traditional opening day of Idaho’s catch and keep season on the Clearwater River. Today is a much anticipated day and signals a changing of the season for us. From today through March our focus on the Clearwater is Steelhead! B Run Steelhead are amazing fish.

We had a fantastic day today despite some challenging conditions. Over the last week the Clearwater region has received quite a lot rain, and for the past few days the army corps has been messing with the flows out of Dworshak Reservoir. This caused some early season high water conditions and we started out our day with flows well over 10,000 Cubic Feet/ Second. This is double the flow we normally see this time of year.

Lucky for us we have been guiding on Idaho’s Clearwater for the past 13 years and we relied on that experience to come up with a winning game plan. Our key to success today was backtrolling Yakima bait Maglips. When the water is up or rising on the Clearwater our steelhead kick their migration into hyperdrive and use the higher flows to cover some river miles. This makes the slow presentation of a backtrolled plug your best bet to consistently put fish in the boat under these conditions.

The Clearwater will most likely be a backtrolling game for the next few days, but as the water comes back to normal levels the side drifting bite should be fantastic.

We have two boats operating on the Clearwater and currently we have open dates, so if your interested in some big Idaho Steelhead make sure to give our office a call and Dani will get your trip all set up.


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Idaho’s Clearwater River is off to a Great Start.

This past week was our first full week of fishing back home on Idaho’s a Clearwater River. Although the steelhead season is still catch and release through October 15, Fall Chinook and Coho are open for retention Thursday – Sunday.

Our boats have been out daily this week and fishing has been very good for both Steelhead and Chinook. We are seeing fantastic numbers of steelhead already spread out between Lewiston and Orofino, and the morning bite has been very good for Fall Chinook on the deep salmon holes.

Catch and keep steelhead is coming fast and we are so excited to be targeting our favorite fish in our favorite places.


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Clearwater/ Snake Confluence Fall Chinook

We have been home from the Oregon coast now for about 10 days and in that time we have spent some great days fishing for Fall Chinook on the Clearwater and Snake Rivers out of Lewiston, Idaho. Although we love to fish in Astoria it just doesn’t quite measure up to our local fisheries and sleeping in our own beds. The confluence as we call it is one of our favorite fisheries and we can’t be more excited to be catching fall Chinook at home in Idaho.

The confluence is a unique fishery as the cold clear waters of Idaho’s Clearwater meet the slightly stained warm waters of the Snake River. The Clearwater this time of year is often running at around 50 degrees when it meets the hot 70 degree water of the Snake. These are the conditions that allow this fishery to thrive. Migrating salmon and steelhead bound for the Snake, Salmon, and Clearwater rivers seek this cold water refuge. While the Clearwater fish tend to shoot straight up the Clearwater, the Snake and Salmon River fish hold up, hang out, and wait for water temperatures on the Snake to cool down before continuing their migration, and it’s these holding fish that provide us with fantastic fishing.

For salmon the confluence is primarily a troll fishery although there is a strong following of bobber and shrimp fisherman that do very well for steelhead, and also catch a few salmon while targeting steelhead. We absolutely love to troll and this fishery is a trollers dream. Our go to set ups are almost identical to the other troll fisheries we fish throughout the Columbia River Basin. We fish 360 style flashers with superbaits or spinners as our lures of choice, and all of this is easily accomplished without the use of downriggers.

When targeting salmon in the confluence we tend to try and keep our gear within about 5 feet of the bottom. Utilizing lead cannon ball weights and line counter reels. Our go to depths the past few outing have been to run 12 ounces of lead at 30 and 35 feet on our line counters, and 8 ounces at 50 feet. Water depth ranges in in the confluence from 25- 40 or so feet and the above numbers do a great job of having us in the zone at all times.

Another thing to keep in mind when fishing at the Confluence is that trolling speed is your friend. These Chinook seem to like a fast troll, and we want to see a deep thump on the rod telling us that our flashers are working well. If your not getting that deep thump, then speed up. Also speed can be used to raise and lower your gear when trying to fish over shallower humps. If you need your set up to raise up just simply go faster and get your gear up and over the hump. Often times these speed changes are really what get these salmon to bite.

Like we stated before this is one of our favorite fisheries and the flat calm waters of the Snake and Clearwater Confluence are a great place to hone your salmon skills. So, grab some canned tuna, a handful of 3.5 Colorado Spinners, and your favorite superbaits and get out on the water.


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Buoy 10 update, only a few days left to go!

Today marks the start of our final week chasing Fall Chinook and Coho in the Columbia River estuary for 2020. This has been an awesome season so far, and it has been a pleasure to spend some great days on the water with such great people. Our customers are the absolute best and our business would not be growing without their support.

While we have seen some amazing fishing, this season has also had plenty of challenges. We have had some days where we struggled to get fish only to have our day saved in the 9th inning, and other days that we just couldn’t quite come up with the magic formula. Some years this fishery is difficult and this is one of those years, but despite having to work extra hard for fish this year the payday is seeing a 30 pound black and chrome specimen hit the deck.

With the tides setting up great it’s looking like we will have the opportunity to end our season with a bang. The next few days we get soft tides, and great fishing should follow.

While this season is winding down others are just starting to ramp up! We are beyond excited to get back to our side of the mountains and chase fall chinook and steelhead in our favorite fisheries. September will find us both on the Hanford Reach and at the Confluence of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers. We consider both of these locations to be home waters, and we are so looking forward to this season.

Once fall is officially here and the nighttime temps get crisp, you will know October has arrived. October will find us fishing for fall Chinook and steelhead on two of our favorite rivers. The Clearwater and Snake Rivers in October are two rivers everyone should have a chance to fish. We will be targeting the 1-2 punch while side drifting small baits on light rods for both acrobatic steelhead and hard pulling Fall Chinook.

We still have openings during both September and October, and with access to some of the best guides in the inland northwest we can find a way to get you on the water almost every day.