Fishing is by far one of the most accessible outdoor sports and nearly anyone, regardless of age, fitness level, or income can do it. Whether you grew up taking out the tackle box with your grandpa every weekend or are just looking to get outside with the kids and try something new, casting a line is a great activity. Check out two of southwest Idaho’s most angler-friendly fishing locations and learn how you can conquer your first trip out on the water.
What to Pack
- A fishing rod
- Water-safe sandals or shoes
- A comfortable bathing suit or pair of swim trunks
- Bug spray
- A pair of jeans (or lightweight zip-off pants)
- A sun-blocking hat
- A high SPF sunscreen
Fishing at Swan Falls
If you’ve never been bass fishing in Idaho, Swan Falls is your golden ticket to taking on spring or fall fishing. Just outside of Kuna, Swan Falls is known as a great location for catching bass for locals and visitors alike.
When you first arrive at the dam, you can drive around for a short while, to scout out possible locations. Often families will fish from the docks located right on the reservoir. This location is perfect for parents with little ones because there is a park directly behind the docks, which is ideal if the kids get bored.
You can experience natural wonder if you take the time to fish until the sun sets behind the towering canyon walls. The views are spectacular and only get better as the sun sinks lower in the sky. One of the greatest things about spring and fall fishing in Idaho is the weather. Typically days sit between 70 and 80 degrees and the evenings sit somewhere in the 60’s, making for the ideal fishing experience.
As the night sky darkens, you may notice people arriving for night fishing. Some hope to catch the mighty sturgeon, others just want to be in the canyon as the sun sets, in hopes of catching a view like this…
Tackle Box and Fishin’ Tips for Swan Falls
In general, the Snake River around Swan Falls Dam offers outstanding fishing for a wide variety of species. Just below the dam, anglers can catch catfish and smallmouth bass. Most fishermen can snag channel catfish using crank baits, live worms, crayfish imitations and cut bait. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can venture down the Snake River for a couple of miles and attempt to catch sturgeon. Just make sure that if you are attempting this massive feat, you use proper tackle and abide by Idaho regulations for handling, targeting and releasing these six-foot-long fish.
For the average fisherman, you’ll be going after smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, bullheads, channel catfish, and the occasional crappie and perch. Be sure to pack various lures—the most successful for this area include jigs, grubs, tubes, crank baits, jerk baits and plastic worms.
Getting to Swan Falls
Take Meridian Road south all the way through Kuna and take a left on Swan Falls Road. This road eventually ends at the dam about 25 miles down.
Fishing at C.J. Strike Reservoir
C.J. Strike Reservoir is one of the most easily accessible, family-friendly fishing locations in the state. Swan Falls may have phenomenal views, but C.J. Strike has the edge when it comes to catch rate.
You may see boats trolling the reservoir with rooster tails and flies hoping to catch crappie, smallmouth bass, perch and trout. The spring and summer months are bountiful here, just be sure to pack jigs, lures, plastic grubs and live bait (which you can buy at most gas stations). You’ll be most successful in the shallow areas and rocky banks. You will want to cast toward the covered areas and keep your lure moving, jerking it along slowly as this tricks the fish into thinking that the bait is alive.
Tackle Box and Fishin’ Tips for C.J. Strike Reservoir
Every section of the reservoir (there are three total) offers unique fishing. The main section has easy access for bank and boat angling. Perch, bullheads, trout and crappie are often caught in droves if you use the right bait. Worms, eggs and marshmallows are a great evening bait go-to.
Getting to C.J. Strike Reservoir
Head to Mountain Home. Once you arrive, follow the signs to the Mountain Home Air Base. To get to C.J. Strike Dam, continue through Bruneau and watch for signs for C.J. Strike Wildlife Management Area, which is about 4 miles past Bruneau on Highway 78. Take the road below the dam to access the launch below the dam.Head to Mountain Home. Once you arrive, follow the signs to the Mountain Home Air Base. To get to C.J. Strike Dam, continue through Bruneau and watch for signs for C.J. Strike Wildlife Management Area, which is about 4 miles past Bruneau on Highway 78. Take the road below the dam to access the launch below the dam.
- Be sure to get your Idaho Fishing License prior to your trip. Visit Idaho Fish and Game for purchase information, requirements and frequently asked questions.
- A common mistake that first-time anglers make is bringing too much of what they don’t need. Stick to the basics listed above for your tackle box and you’ll be sure to find success.
- Bring a pocket knife. It comes in handy if your line gets snagged in the water.
Updated on December 02, 2021
Published on May 24, 2016