Although it's been a long and cold winter across the Gem State, the days are getting longer and Old Man Winter has loosened his icy grip. Warmer weather is coming, and it's time to dust off your fly rod and patch your waders; there's spring fishing in Idaho to do. Here are a couple you can't go wrong with this spring.
March & April
Her sheer beauty alone is enough to cause you to visit the Upper Salmon River come spring, but throw in migrating steelhead and more than 100 miles of road access and you have no excuses. As the steelhead move up through the canyons towards Stanley, anglers follow their progress. Although catch rates can be low and effort high, just being in the steelhead game makes for a good spring.
Bolting through shallow water riffles, Salmon River steelhead will congregate and rest in the downstream half of deep pools before they continue on their migration journey. These fish are more apt to strike a well-presented fly than those blasting through fast water. Egg patterns are always effective for enticing a strike, and streamers are also known to draw some attention. Picking the right size and color is always the key, so having a good assortment to choose from will help.
March, April & May
Starting from a trickle high on the Boulder, Pioneer and Smokey mountains, the "Wood," as locals refer to it, is Idaho's premier rainbow trout fishery, and when March arrives the residents start rising. This classic freestone fishery offers countless pools, riffles and runs for anglers to sample, and with recent creel surveys showing catch rates to be over one fish per hour, rainbows that average around 13 inches and trout numbering an estimated 3,000 per river kilometer in some prime stretches, it's easy to see why the Big Woods draws such spring angler attention.
Offering countless access points coupled with Idaho's generous river access laws that provide public opportunities below the high water mark to any of its waterways, it's easy to find a share of the river to yourself. Some of the best access points are found from Stanton Crossing all the way up to Lake Creek.
Because this is a freestone fishery, spring runoff does have an effect in May; however, fishing is excellent just prior to the river blowing out. Prior to this midge patterns always seem to catch some attention, so have your boxes filled with a variety of #16 to #24 midge patterns. Some better ones are Shuck Midge, Griffiths Gnats, Parachute Adams, beaded Zebra Midge and Brassies.
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Anglers like their tools close by. And it's even better if it's connected to you so it doesn't go in the drink. T-Reign retractable gear tethers hold onto your pliers, hemostats or landing net. Several size options. Carabiner connects to D-ring, belt loop or strap, or use the stainless steel clip on belt or pack.
Suzuki DF15A/20A EFI
Suzuki's two new four-stroke, two-cylinder portable outboards have a compression reduction system for easier starting. The 20hp tiller model weighs 97 pounds the eletric-start model weighs 106 pounds. Single overhead cam, four-valve engine with Suzuki's Lean Burn Control and bat-tery-less electronic fuel injection. Built for running in skinny water, both motors come with five tilt pin positions and 15- or 20-inch shaft.
Rapala is hoping the new Scatter Rap Series lures and their 'evasive action ' will be as popular as the original 'wounded minnow ' style action that the company is famous for. The new lure has a 'Scatter Lip ' that creates an evasive, erratic, aggressive sweep-ing action. Ideal for multispecies gamefish, the Scatter Rap Series is available in 14-16 classic and new color patterns. Baits 5- to 9-feet deep.
MSRP, $18.95 per pair.
The original Gear Grabbar is a unique way to hold lures and tools at the ready in boats. But the new Lure Hangar is a step beyond. This is a 12- by 16 1/2-inch plate,m ade to mount on your gunwhale, that holds 16 or more lures. There's enough room for a selection of jig, plugs, topwaters or whatever other baits you want to hang.
Honda Marine's BF250 outboard is a 24-valve 3.6-liter V6 that uses varia-ble valve timing and lift electronic control (VTEC). Programmed fuel injection delivers the precise amount of fuel and air to each cylinder for easy starts and instant throttle re-sponse. 20-, 25- and 30-inch shaft models.
TACKLE TOTE VEST
If you wade when you fish, Fish-N-Hunt Pro Gear designed a Tackle Tote Vest that to keep gear accessible but dry when you're standing in deeper waters. It's adjustable, sturdy, has lots of pockets and a modest pricetag.
FLEX 'N GO TACKLE SATCHEL
On-the-go anglers will find a lot to like in Plano's new Flex 'N Go Tack-le Satchel. It features adjustable built-in storage with a deep bin on one side and framework for the pair of swap-pable Plano 3600 StowAway boxes on the other, each Stowaway held with a flexible strap.
www.cabelas.com Jackets MSRP, $249.99-$269;
Cabela's Guidewear raingear now comes in four distinct series. Bass Angler (pictured) jackets and bibs are built with the tournament bass angler in mind. Xtreme parkas and bibs will help anglers fishing Northern lakes and rivers. Tidal jackets and pants offer lightweight, waterproof and breathable protection. River Runner jackets are perfect for wading anglers.
BERKLEY JAR BAIT FOLDER
Anglers who use jar baits know it's a pain to carry more than a few. Berk-ley now has two Jar Bait Folders to keep the baits at hand and make them easy to transport. Model 1170 holds 10 jars. Model 1490 holds 16. Both have various pockets and a D-ring for pliers.
BERKLEY TRILENE XL
Berkley says they've improved a classic. New Trilene XL lines are now 10 percent stronger 20 percent more flexibility then they had been. Knot strength has also improved, said the company. Trilene XL has been around since 1972.
The new AV Micro is a complete underwater camera system that is the same size as a smart phone. On the boat or off the dock, use it to see where fish are hanging out. 3 1/2-inch diagonal display. Built-in rechargea-ble lithium ion batteries.
Smithwick Rogue's has been a stand-ard in bass-anglers' tackle boxes for years. Now they've got a new twist on the famous jerkbait. The
Perfect 10 Rogue has a new lip de-sign, to get deeper, quicker than other jerkbaits.
SIMMS WEATHER GEAR
MSRP, jacket $349, bibs $299.
Simms designed its Contender Gore-Tex jacket and bibs for anglers who need reliability when they are motor-ing on the water at 70 mph in rain and wind. Waterproof and breathable. Cuffs are water tight and adjustable.