Advice for fishing Idaho, early September

Discussion in 'Freshwater' started by DPevin, Jul 18, 2018.

  1. DPevin

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    I will be headed to Idaho the for a week in the beginning of September around Labor Day. My folks moved to Council a year ago. Which is about 40 minutes south of McCall on hwy 95. The Weiser River sits between the county road their property is off of and the hwy. Also, Lost Valley Reservoir is about a 15-20 min drive away. I have only been up there in January when I helped my mom move up. So I have not spent any time on the water.

    I fish the salt here in southern california, but aside from largemouth bass and some trout fishing I don't have much fresh water experience, esp with rivers.

    We will have access to a boat, and they have a Razor side by side UTV. We aren't afraid to get off the beaten path a bit, or do some hiking to get to fishing.

    Is anyone familiar with this area? I know nothing about what would be biting that time of year, or if we should spend time on rivers vs lakes. Or if both would be productive. Suggestions of the most effective fishing style would be awesome too. Would be specifically interested in fishing: salmon, trout and smallmouth. From what I understand, the Weiser has pretty good smallmouth fishing down river from their property in the Midvale/Indian Valley area?

    My dad joined a local rod and gun club, so he intends to get some advice from the people he has met there, as well as some guys from work. Thought I would pick your brains here in case he drops the ball, or something and doesn't get anything useful. Just trying to plan accordingly for the trip, see if I need to pick up any new gear, or if I can get by with what I have.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Werfless

    Werfless The Coach ..RIP my friends
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    I did find this.. also, smallmouth are super aggressive, should be no problem at all with enough water flow and access, maybe get up to the creeks in the southern sierra, trabuco/lytle if they are being stocked to brush up on the moving water trout scenario?
    Stuff like this by other resource departments makes the CA DFG look that much more pathetic...

    Weiser River | Idaho Fishing Planner
     
  3. DPevin

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    Werfless yeah I came across that page. I really should just do the research on the Idaho fish and game site, it is an awesome resource. I was on it when my parents moved up there looking at how much licenses and fees were for hunting and fishing and trying to figure out what I would need to do. It was so much easier and more intuitive than California's. Such a bummer...and it made me jealous of their resident prices hah.

    I have actually never fished smallmouth. Cool to hear they are aggressive. They are in the river that runs along my parents place. I may need to hike the trail a bit to find the right stretch of water. Figured I would just bring a spinning setup with some small jigs for the smallmouth.

    I wish I could make it to the sierras before the trip. One of my good friends is going next month. I am pretty competent with a spinner, pass through bobber, small split shot and fly for trout on the rivers. So I am not worried about that bit too much. Might even borrow a fly fishing setup to try my hand at that, never done it before. I have no idea how to fish for salmon though hah. Or if its even an option that time of year.

    First trip of many, so I'm not trying to have it all dialed in with one trip. Just trying to narrow it down to a couple good options to spend time on the water to hopefully figure 1 thing out. And just build on that for future trips.
     
  4. Werfless

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    Yeah man.. as a guy who catches more smallmouth than most so cal anglers, my main advice would be to use a more universal lure than a jig, like an inline spinner, smaller jerkbait, etc.. never know what else you could catch, big rainbows, browns, whitefish etc (I think whitefish are cool, lol).. on another note, smallmouth do seem to LOVE the buzzbait, can't keep away from them with one in the desert if you wanted a first bait to try otherwise..
     
  5. DPevin

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    Yeah, I think I misspoke when I said jig. I should have said small lure, as in my mind I was really thinking of something like a mepps with the single or double blades. Or like a spook or something. When I said jig I was thinking more like a small tube jig or hair jig.

    I am with you when it comes to whitefish. I also think they are cool. I like the idea of native fish. You don't think it will be too hot for the whitefish to bite well? I have always done better in the colder months. Usually with a beadhead nymph or copper john with a split shot to keep it low, on a pass through bobber on the spinning tackle. I like that setup cause it will get trout all day also.
     
  6. Werfless

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    Personally, I would think that it might be too warm, might not, too.. all you may need be is a couple cooler days in a row.. I love native fish.. if you catch any suckers, sand rollers etc, I would love to see pix!
     
  7. DPevin

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    Yeah, I'm not holding my breath for the whitefish. Although, September can start to get cool up there.

    I would love to catch a sucker...I saw a guy catch one once up in Washington. My wife's family has a cabin on a lake a couple hours north of Spokane in Colville...and a close to the Canadian boarder. We took a day trip to the Pend Oreille river which is where I saw it.

    Sand roller might be even tougher to catch...I think even the biologists have a hard time collecting them for research right?
     
  8. Werfless

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    Never know, fishermen catch loads of little fish that darn few ever bother to identify. Oh, I just caught a minnow..
     
  9. Kesepton

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    I am doing a similar trip and posted a similar question on another fishing forum. I was about to post it on here too but I see you have. I am going after labor day for a few weeks. We will be hitting Yellowstone then courde lane, McCall and Stanley and anything else we see along the way in the national forests. From what they were telling me on the other forum, there should be lots of opportunities in the national forest rivers/lakes. One thing is that from fishing trout around here, I am used to throwing 2-4# test. But the pictures they were showing me were fish easily over 10# or more.
     
  10. DPevin

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    So just got back. Didn't do as much fishing as I would have liked, but it was the perfect amount considering this was mainly a family trip.

    Left Friday night at 9 pm. Took the 15, to 395, to 6, to 95 all the way up. What should have been 18 hours with stops turned into 22 hours after a wreck on the Cajon pass and subsequent stop and go traffic sparked an epic bout of car sickness for my 2.5 year old girls. They got sick a total of 11 times from the pass all the way to southern Idaho. We finally got wise in Fallon, Nevada and hit a Safeway and I picked up some tupperware and my wife sat in the back between the car seats the last half of the trip catching puke. So I would just pull over, dump the puke and be on the road again, opposed to our first few puke sessions having the clean/change the girls and car seats every time.

    An hour of the extra time the trip took us was me totally missing a turn in Fallon that was a quick right, left at signal lights to keep us on the 95. Ended up 30 minutes on the wrong highway. In my defense it was just after sunrise and me driving through the night, and we were tripping out on some crazy named casinos in the town. We got to see some rad sand dunes and got a good stop for the girls to run around, so it wasn't all for not....minus them puking again on the way back to the 95.

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    Return trip was smooth. No car sickness miraculously, and we made it in 17 hours.

    Arrived sat. Hung out Sun at my parents place in Council and took a drive up to McCall for some meds at rite aid, as my wife was pretty sick also. Worked out perfect as there is a Ridley's next door (think supermarket meets outdoor sporting goods shop). Got my license as well as some crappie jigs and some of my favorite trout lures.



    Monday, my in laws from Spokane were near by on their own road trip so they came by my parents and we visited all day. But got to go do the range with my dad in the morning and get a bit of shooting in.

    Tuesday, we did breakfast with the in laws at the lodge my dad works at in McCall. That afternoon/evening we hit a reservoir south of Council. It was pretty amazing, no one there, calm water, and WIDE OPEN crappie bite. We were there probably 3 hours. The first 2 hours it was every cast or every other. We got over 40 crappie, with some bonus blue gill and a few largemouth. Few dink largemouth with my Dad catching his first ever that was a pound maybe two on 4# with a crappie jig. I got one at the end on a senko. We were fishing a corner at the end of the damn next to some pipes. The crappie were stacked up on the pipes thick. It was just plain fun fishing, hooking up every cast laughing out butts off with multiple double ups. Of the 40 crappie, about half were perfect pan sized, but we only took about 10 home to fry up.

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    Wednesday, the plan was to take the utility side by side about 30 miles up to a lake at 8,000 ft. and do some trout fishing. My dad ran into a co worker in town Tuesday morning who said he had never had much luck up there, but it was really pretty scenery. He suggested we go hit Brownlee on the Snake river instead. It was going to be about a 2 hour ride on the national forest roads to the lake, and Brownlee was an hour and a half drive, so we made the decision to go there. Looking back on it, I would have liked to have gone to the alpine lake but Brownlee was fun fishing as well. The ride out there told me exactly where we are going to Turkey hunt next year. We got to the north part of Brownlee south of the dam. Found a turn off and hiked down a trail. We were able to fish points and coves with a bit of hiking around the shoreline. First spot, was slow at first but then I was able to make a cast across the pocket we were fishing up against a rock wall that had some crashing fish. Hooked up to a nice one on the senko. Got it all the way to the bank and out of the water. It was hooked kinda deep and as I was going to lip it it flipped and bit through the line and flopped down the steep bank and back into the water. My first ever smallmouth bass, felt 4#s and looked all of it, had full on patterns and everything. I was all excited and should have lipped it in the water, oh well. As I am fighting that fish my dad puts his rod between his legs to get his phone out to take a video and gets bit, almost pulls his pole into the water. Again on the 4# ultralight rod, and he gets a good smallmouth probably just as big to shore and i get over there and as I bend over to try and grab the line to lip it for him he lets some slack and the fish spits the hook. Couple casts later he gets another one, bit smaller, and i hear him say, ah it came off....just as im yelling at him to reel reel reel....he catches up to it just as it jumps and spits the hook. Haha. We were so pumped on the smallmouth that we kept kooking it up when we got them to shore. So no pictures. Caught a couple more dinks and then the sun came up over the canyon wall and the bit kinda shut off. So we moved. Moved a total of 3 more times over the next couple hours and got at least a fish each at each spot. Fun stuff. Had to work for it, but those smallmouth fight hard. We had a good time. I even threw a kastmaster for a bit and when i would reel it in it would have dink followers and I would put it down and throw the crappie jig out and get a dink or two real quick.

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    That evening we hit a hot springs near my folks place. That was an instant favorite.

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    Thursday, the wife and I woke up, had coffee, and headed into McCall. We had a nights stay at the lodge and dinner reservations at the steakhouse there for our anniversary (which was the following day friday). Got there early, had to wait an hour for early check it, had a drink. Checked in at 2. Dinner reservations were at 6:45. Scoped the room out and like all the parents out there know, when you have a room and night to yourself you the only logical thing....we took the best nap ever from 3 to 5. hah. Got ready, had a drink at the bar, then sat down for dinner. Hands down, the best steak meal I have ever had. And that includes places like Del Frisco's, Morton's and Ruth Chris. We split the Porterhouse with smoked bone marrow for a topping. Skipped dessert as the lodge was doing s'mores at the fire pit lakeside. My folks had the lodge leave us a bottle of champagne in our room while we were eating so we took that down there. Met some crazy older ladies from Florida/Alabama that were awesome. Met a wedding party of a couple from Texas, that was hanging out. The guy was also in the oilfield so we hit it off and hung with them for a bit. Ended the night at the bar and sacked out.

    The Lodge: Shore Lodge is the premier McCall Lodging Experience

    The Steakhouse: The Narrows Steakhouse - Fine McCall Idaho Dining

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    Friday, the wife was hurting from boozing the night before....and had a full on message/spa morning booked for her anniversary gift. Uh oh...I got us coffee...made sure she was gonna stay alive, and took off for my anniversary activity....went to a smaller (still pretty big) nearby lake to fish. The lodge was on Lake Payette, which was so big I didn't know where to even start, so I found a smaller lake nearby. Come to find out the lake is a trophy smallmouth lake and is no keep for any bass under 20". Walked the shore for 4 hours for nothing but a few short bites. And one that almost went for my dropshot fight at shore until i hung the weight on a log and it stopped following it, and probably saw me. If I perched up on a rock or stump at shore I could see bottom out to about 15 yards the water was so clear. Saw a kayak angler as I got there launching and that would have been the way to go. The water level was so low. All the structure around the lake was exposed. Still a great morning at an awesome lake with just me out there, and the kayak that disappeared out of sight after 10 min. Great scenery, tons of tracks around the lake shore, everything from deer to bear and what almost looked like lion tracks. Went back and picked up the wife from her spa day and checked out of the lodge. Headed straight back to the lake so she could collect some driftwood. She uses it to make macrame hangings she sells on etsy. From there we drove further up the road and found an awesome creek. Thought for sure it was holding fish, but walked about a mile of it and didnt see anything. And you could see everywhere in the water. Headed back to my parents and hit that hot springs one last time.

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    Saturday, woke up, went into a nearby town for breakfast. Came back to my folks place. I slept a few hours in the afternoon so I would be fresh for the drive. Woke up had dinner and we were on the road by 9pm again. Home by 2 pm sunday.

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    Great trip. If you haven't been to Idaho....you just have to. The place is amazing. End of summer hurt me a bit fishing wise, the water levels were so low everywhere. Even the river right across from my parents property I could walk across calf deep. But all in all it felt good to fish new places and catch fish. Now we have an idea, and I will probably head back in the spring. My dad is gonna try and dial it in more for next time, which I think will be a dedicated guys trip with some friends purely for fishing.
     
    #10 DPevin, Sep 10, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2018
  11. DPevin

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    Oh, and if you were wondering if a bear ****s in the woods....

    Yes it does...

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    Girls got to get some dirt under their nails and had a blast. Can't help but feel it would be awesome to raise them in a place like Idaho.

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    Merica
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  12. Werfless

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    Sounds fun as hell.. nice work
     
  13. DPevin

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    It really was. Trip wasn't really a fishing trip, just a trip to get up there to see the folks. So wrong time of year and all with the water levels being so low. But we were pumped to catch fish and have a good time. I can't wait to plan a trip more focused around fishing during a better part of the year. There will just be more options I feel.
     
  14. Bonecrusher

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    Great pics and write-up!

    I'm feeling the pull... the more I hear and see of Idaho, the more I like it.
     
  15. DPevin

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    It is pretty great. You just feel free to do whatever you want, so long as you aren't hurting someone else or their freedom.

    The fishing is great....I kept tripping out that we were just pulling up to bodies of water and fishing within the regulations....but not having to pay an entrance fee, or fee to fish....we fished reservoirs with no one there and legally, as opposed to having to sneak in at night like we do here.

    As long as you aren't messing with someone else people just leave you alone and let you do whatever hah.
     
  16. dooolan

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    I have fished Brownlee a bunch of times and have caught some nice small mouths. There is a road on the west side in Oregon called Snake River Rd that you can fish between Oxbow and Huntington (30 miles of decent access). I always like going up to the town of Yellowpine which is 25 miles east of Mccall. Camped there, some nice bull trout in that area (catch/release only).
     
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