With the warmer weather upon us, along with great water conditions, many of us will be hitting the water this summer. But with lots of craft on the water comes some congestion and you should know some of the basic rules of safely operating your vessel.
Every operator of a watercraft is responsible for avoiding a collision. If operating a power-driven vessel, you must give way to a vessel that is not underway such as a boat that is anchored or is disabled. You must also give way to sailing vessels, or a vessel that is towing or a vessel that is powered by oars. If operating a sailing vessel you must give way to a vessel that is disabled or towing.
When two power driven vessels are approaching each other head on, you give way to starboard (to the right). When following and passing another power-driven vessel, you may pass to either the starboard (right) or port (left) sides of the vessel being passed. To signal your intention, one toot of the horn or whistle indicates you will go to the starboard side and two toots of the horn or whistle indicate that you will go to the port side.
If two boats are crossing paths, the boat on the starboard side continues its original path, while the boat on the port side gives way. This is just like two cars coming to an uncontrolled intersection at the same time.
Remember to always operate your vessel at a safe speed for the conditions. If visibility is impaired due to darkness or fog, slow down considerably. Observe no-wake buoys. These will generally be found near boat ramps, beaches used for swimming and on parts of the lake that are often used by anglers in human-powered craft.
Give shore anglers plenty of room for fishing. Realize that Personal Water Crafts (PWCs) and boats don’t stop or turn like a car does. They must be under power to turn and when powering down to stop, the boat will continue in the direction it was going for a bit. So anticipate and give yourself plenty of room to turn or stop.
Very little change here as the lake continues to spill, though flows are subsiding. For the most part, the water has cleared, but algae is starting to grow. Surface water temperatures are in the low to mid 60s. Depending upon the day and the weather, fishing ranges from good to excellent for 15 to 18 inch fish with some 20+ inch fish every once in a while. Shore anglers are doing well by the bridge in the Hendricks Arm using PowerBait (color doesn’t seem to matter) and with spinners. For fly fishermen midge larva and midge emerger patterns as well as hares ears, and PT nymphs are still go to nymph patters. Black or olive wooly buggers were taking fish as well, though black is better as trout are eating black leeches. Black balanced leeches under an indicator on days with some chop on the water are productive. Shorelines are drying out. With the lake spilling, fishing below the dam has been good for reservoir sized fish. The lake was stocked with approximately 6,000 tiger trout averaging just over eight inches in length a couple of weeks ago. No black bass may be kept until July 1. The campground is open and is on a first come first served basis.
SOUTH FORK RESERVOIR
Fishing is starting to pick up with several anglers reporting good fishing the past couple of weeks using flies, bait or spinners. Over the past few weeks SF has been stocked with approximately 55,000 rainbow trout. Fishing small PT’s, hares ears or chironomids under a strike indicator has worked. Blood midges fished just off the bottom are also worth a try. Snail patterns and black leeches with some red flash should also be effective. The southwest side of the lake has been productive as has Tomera Cove, Hastings Cove and on either side of the dam. Catfish have become active and anglers may want to try raw shrimp fished in low light conditions or at night. Surface water temperatures are in the mid 60’s. Fishing below the dam in the river has been good though flows are high. The black bass are spawning so please give the guard males on the nests a break and fish the transition waters. No black bass may be kept until July 1.
Jiggs has been with approximately 2300 trout, 300 of which are surplus brood stock averaging around 12 inches. Anglers have been catching blue gill and trout. A few bass are showing up in the creel, though they are still spawning due to the cooler and wetter spring. The same presentations as at South Fork should work well here. Trout fishing has been fair to good. Bait anglers are doing best with worms under a bobber.
The lake is spilling hard and the water temperature is in the low 60’s. The water is clearing. Expect it to continue to spill for another few weeks. Fishing is good for 12 to 15-inch fish that are in good shape. The same presentations, flies, baits and lures as used at South Fork, should also work well here. Fishing below the spillway has been good. This lake will be stocked once it stops spilling. The road is very rutted with lots of potholes due to the wet weather but has dried out. Pretty rough going for trailers and boats so take it slow.
RUBY LAKE NWR
Not much has changed here as fishing continues to be good at the collection ditch for 13 to 16-inch trout with the occasional large trout being taken. Fishing seems to improve on rainy or windy days. Wet flies have been performing better than the dries right now though there has been a Mayfly hatch on the warmer days. These include the usual small nymphs such as PT’s, hares ears, olive soft hackles, BWO emergers, red or blue copper Johns and prince nymphs as well as egg patterns in orange or pink. Wooly and crystal buggers in black, purple or olive are also working. With the dredging done, the water is clearing though there is still some silt suspended from runoff. The South Marsh was recently stocked and fishing at the boat ramp has been good for stockers with an occasional larger fish as well as a few bass. Unit 21 is also producing some bass using olive soft plastic grubs or olive wooly buggers. The water temperature here is in the high-50’s pushing 60 degrees. Saturday, June 15, is the electric boat opener. Expect fair bass fishing until the water warms up. Dark four inch plastic grubs hooked weedless are the best bet for bass. Good colors include dark green, brown, purple or blue. Some anglers like a contrasting colored tail such as chartreuse. If you are new to the marsh, stay on the main channel where there are marker poles. However, some of the marker poles have fallen, so if you have a GPS, consider taking it and using the tracker feature so that you can follow your path back to the boat ramp.
JAKES CREEK/BOIES RESERVOIR
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Very little change here as fishing continues to be fair to good. Trout fishing is fair to good, bass fishing is slow to fair, and fishing for catfish has been fair. The usual PowerBait and worms as well as small spinners are working for trout. Fly rodders should be using chironomids, hares ears, PT nymphs, copper Johns, and black or olive wooly buggers. The lake is full.
COLD CREEK RESERVOIR
Fishing here is fair to good for 10 to 12 inch trout and fair for bass. The lake was stocked with 2,000 rainbow trout averaging 11 inches earlier this spring. The usual worms, PowerBait, small spinners and flies should all work. Expect muddy road conditions to get here.
Cave Lake is ice free and fishing for nine to 12 inch fish has been fair to good. The lake has been stocked with approximately 8000 fish between 10 and 11 inches this spring. Most anglers are having luck with small worms, though PowerBait is also catching fish. Fly rodders should be using small olive or black bead head crystal buggers, small olive wooly worms, hares ears and prince nymphs. On warmer afternoons if a hatch is seen, small Adams, black ants, Griffith’s gnats, and red or yellow humpies should all work.
Comins Lake continues to fish well with surface water temperatures in the mid 60s. Anglers are catching trout averaging16 to 20 inches on a variety of tackle. Panther Martins, spoons, PowerBait, salmon eggs, and night crawlers should all do well for the majority of bait fisherman. Fly fisherman should use wooly buggers, leech patterns, and nymphs patterns (midges, beaded pheasant tails…etc.). Comins was stocked this spring with approximately 10,000 rainbow trout averaging just over 8-inches.
The reservoir is full and fishing has been good. The water is clearing. The usual springtime flies of wooly buggers, prince nymphs, hares ears and chironomid patterns should all work. Small spinners, PowerBait and worms should be effective as well. The roads around the reservoir are drying out, but anglers are still being advised to stay on the gravel. Illipah was stocked with 7500 trout this spring.
WILLOW CREEK RESERVOIR
The reservoir is full! NDOW and Barrick planted the reservoir with 5,000 five to six-inch catfish and 5,000 15-inch catfish on Friday, May 31. Expect the fishing for catfish to pick up as the water temperature starts to move above 60 degrees. Crappie from Chimney Creek Reservoir were stocked earlier this week, but anglers are being asked to return any crappie they catch back to the lake for a couple of years while the fishery rebuilds.
The road to Angel Lake is open but the lake is still completely covered in unsafe ice. It is going to be a week or two or three before you can fish here.
High mountain lakes are still inaccessible due to snow and ice. With the wet winter and spring some of the higher elevation lakes may not be accessible until July and most are probably still iced over.
While flows are subsiding as the snowpack shrinks from the warm weather, most streams are still well above normal for this time of year. Expect well above normal flows for much of the early summer until the snow finally comes off the mountains. The water is turbid and difficult to fish. Shorelines are soft due high flows and the wet spring so please travel with caution. While the flows are high, fishing below both Wildhorse and South Fork dams has been good as fish are going over the spillway at Wildhorse and through the gates at South Fork. To get to the Bruneau or the Jarbidge, you still need to drive into Idaho first. The USFS has opened the road into Lamoille Canyon to the public but flows are still very high. As of June 13, the Bruneau River continues to drop though flows are twice the normal at 485 cubic feet/second (cfs), the Jarbidge at 160 cfs, Salmon Falls Creek at 553 cfs, Lamoille Creek at 419 cfs and had flood warnings earlier this week. The South Fork of the Humboldt between 950 and 1,300 cfs, Cleve Creek at 52 cfs and Steptoe Creek at 23 cfs. Steptoe Creek was stocked with 1000 rainbow trout two weeks ago.