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Totally Boise Blog


Stories About Boise Area Life. #totallyboise
24Feb

5 Spots In Southern Idaho To Go Kayak-Fishing This Spring With Alpenglow Mountainsport

Southern Idaho has over 100 species of fish that can be found in our natural waterways with 39 of those being native to our lands. One of the best ways to get an up-close and personal experience with these stunning local inhabitants is by renting or buying your own fishing kayak with Alpenglow Mountainsport.

As Boise’s premier paddlesport and outdoor retailer, Alpenglow Mountainsport has been outfitting adventurous Idahoans with the equipment and gear to explore the wild side of Idaho.

As spring comes into full swing with more sunlight but comfortable weather, the fish wake up from their winter slumber, hungry and biting. Alpenglow Mountainsport wants to get you out and reeling them in with their extraordinary Hobie and Jackson fishing Kayak rentals. 

Keep reading to discover where to kayak fish in Southern Idaho and find your perfect rental option! 

Alpenglow Mountainsport | Totally Boise 2022 Spring Mag
Alpenglow Mountainsport | Totally Boise 2022 Spring Mag
Alpenglow Mountainsport | Totally Boise 2022 Spring Mag

Photo Credit: Alpenglow Mountainsport

Why You Should Try Kayak Fishing

Fishing kayaks have become a popular form of water transportation for fishermen thanks to their affordability compared to other fishing boats. They require zero fuel beyond your own arms or feet (if using a pedal drive kayak), give you better access to shallow and deep fishable areas, you can travel quietly across the waters, they are customizable and most importantly, they’re comfortable. 

Alpenglow Mountainsport carries the Blue Sky Boatworks Angler, and the Bite Angler from the Jackson Kayak brand, as well as the Outback, Lynx, Passport, and Compass options from Hobie Kayaks. 

For rental pricing and packages, check out their website:

Alpenglow Rentals

Alpenglow Mountainsport | Totally Boise 2022 Spring Mag

Photo Credit: Alpenglow Mountainsport

Kayak Fishing Ponds in Boise

Steve Carroll, (aka Sturgeon Steve) a Jackson Kayak Regional Fishing Team Ambassador with Alpenglow Mountainsport shared his unique Idaho fishing knowledge. He is one of many ambassadors recruited by Alpenglow to provide the best education and insight to their customers. 

Eagle Island State Park

Eagle Island offers a great way to get beginners introduced to kayak fishing. Although not very large at just over 10 acres there is plenty of stocked rainbow trout, which can be targeted with Rapala style crankbaits or rooster tails. The largemouth bass is also available but is fairly sparse but can be found with finesse baits like Ned rigs or flukes. Plan on roughly 2-3 hours worth of fishing here.

  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Target species: Rainbow trout, Largemouth bass
Alpenglow Mountainsport | Totally Boise 2022 Spring Mag

Photo Credit: Alpenglow Mountainsport

Esther Simplot Pond & Quinn’s Pond

Located right in the heart of Boise, Esther Simplot pond and Quinn’s Pond are connected by a channel that paddlers can utilize to transit from one pond to another. Amenities include clean bathrooms and easy access for launching kayaks with close access to the parking lot.

  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Target Species: Rainbow Trout, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Yellow Perch, Bluegill, and Channel Catfish

Kayak Fishing the Boise River

Barber Park Put-in, Anne Morrison Park Raft Pull-out

This is a fun float for more experienced paddlers. Launch at Barber Park and takeout at the Anne Morrison raft takeout. There is a small rapid very early on in the float, which can intimidate younger paddlers, and another small rapid roughly halfway through. Fishing for trout is fantastic through this stretch. Work the undercuts and deeper bends in the river with Rapala-style crankbaits to convince the numerous trout to bite.

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Target species: Rainbow Trout, Smallmouth Bass

Kayaking and Fishing the Boise River Youtube Video

Alpenglow Mountainsport | Totally Boise 2022 Spring Mag

Photo Credit: Alpenglow Mountainsport

Floating from Star to Lansing Lane pull-out

Located in Star, cross the Star bridge, put in just below the impoundment dam. Be cautious of low-hanging branches which could snag on gear or potentially pin you underwater. At 4-3/4 miles long, this float will take anywhere from four to six hours. With many shallow stretches ranging from one to two feet deep, the primary activity here is crawfishing. The easiest way to catch crawfish through this stretch is to flip over rocks and grab them in the middle of their backs. A two-person team could fill their coolers with over a hundred giant crawdads in a single afternoon. There are great opportunities for big Rainbow Trout and Smallmouth Bass along this stretch as well.

  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Target species: Smallmouth Bass, Rainbow Trout, & Crawfishing 
Alpenglow Mountainsport | Totally Boise 2022 Spring Mag

Photo Credit: Alpenglow Mountainsport

Kayak Fishing Within 30 Minutes of Boise

Lake Lowell in Nampa

Lake Lowell is a 9,800-acre reservoir with over twenty-eight miles of shoreline and multiple sportsman’s access points located around its perimeter. Largemouth can be found in their typical habitats here but the kayak angler has an advantage since the high water extends well past the many trees that only kayak anglers can access. Carp in Lake Lowell number in the millions which is part of the reason why IDFG has been stocking 12”+ Tiger Muskie since 2019 to curb the overabundance of Carp. Lake Lowell is fully open for watercraft from April 15th through October 1st otherwise kayaks will be limited to 200ft directly in front of the dams.

  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Target Species: Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Channel Catfish, Crappie, Carp, Tiger Muskie.

Sawyers Pond in Emmett

Sawyer’s Pond is a beautiful series of four interconnected ponds located in Emmett which offer four very different ecosystems with a large variety of structures to target record size Largemouth Bass. Sawyer’s Pond has been known to give up many 6+ lb largemouth basses with a few tipping the scales into trophy-class bass. 

  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Target species: Largemouth Bass, Channel Catfish, Rainbow Trout, and Bluegill 

Horseshoe Bend Millpond

Located just outside of Horseshoe Bend on the way up to Cascade is a small 13-acre millpond that is fed from the adjacent Payette River. There are some great opportunities to hook into largemouth bass here. The one thing to take notice of are the dinner plate-sized bluegill in this pond. If trophy bluegill is what you’re after, then this is the pond for you.

  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Target species: Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, Rainbow Trout, and Channel Catfish

Kayak Fishing Local Reservoirs

Lucky Peak Reservoir

A large reservoir just outside of Boise is home to prime Kokanee and Rainbow trout fishing. Kayak fishing here should take place early morning or late in the day as there is a very large presence of pleasure boaters throwing large wakes. This reservoir is best fished by trolling which would be difficult if you only had a paddle. If you’re planning on fishing this reservoir then quality electronics and pedal drive kayaks are essential to a successful day on the water.

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Target Species: Rainbow Trout, Kokanee, Smallmouth Bass

Swan Falls Reservoir

A slight current will push a kayak downriver throughout the day so a pedal drive kayak would be the preferred option on this reservoir however it can still be effectively fished with a paddle kayak as well. There are many smallmouths cruising the drop-offs and large boulder fields and can be caught on a variety of jigs and crankbaits. It’s not uncommon to have a fifty fish day here with a majority of smallmouth being in the 12’-15” range and the occasional 18” slabs thrown in. 

  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Target Species: Smallmouth Bass 
Alpenglow Mountainsport | Totally Boise 2022 Spring Mag

Photo Credit: Alpenglow Mountainsport

CJ Strike Reservoir

CJ Strike is a prime smallmouth bass fishery with many fifty fish days being commonplace. For kayak anglers targeting Crappie, you cannot beat the “Narrows'' which is a deep river channel connecting the Bruneau arm with the main reservoir. The mobility of a kayak will allow an angler to stay on top of large roaming schools of crappie while easily filling a five-gallon bucket within a few hours. For the more adventurous kayak angler, there is a very healthy population of white sturgeon to be had on the “Snake Arm '' of the reservoir. Be aware that conditions can change at a moment’s notice. If you’re caught on the water with winds exceeding 15 mph then you’ll be kayaking in three-foot crashing rollers which will prove difficult for even a seasoned kayak angler.

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Target Species: Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, Rainbow Trout, Crappie, Yellow Perch, Channel Catfish, White Sturgeon.
Alpenglow Mountainsport | Totally Boise 2022 Spring Mag

Photo Credit: Alpenglow Mountainsport

Black-Canyon Reservoir

Given its small size, it does not mean that it’s lacking in fishing opportunities. Plan on spending a half-day working the various ledges and coves for locating smallmouth. Quality largemouth does populate this reservoir but are slightly more difficult to locate but can be found cruising typical largemouth habitat in the area.

  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Target Species: Smallmouth bass, Largemouth bass, Crappie, Yellow Perch, & bluegill 
Alpenglow Mountainsport | Totally Boise 2022 Spring Mag
Alpenglow Mountainsport | Totally Boise 2022 Spring Mag

Photo Credit: Alpenglow Mountainsport

Brownlee Reservoir

Bass tournaments and multi-species tournaments are held here every year with sixty-plus kayak anglers showing up on a regular basis. Jerk baits, drop shots, jigs, and crankbaits will all produce massive amounts of smallmouth with a hundred fish days easily within reach. Brownlee is quite a drive from Boise so it’s best to dedicate an entire day or even a weekend to fishing one of Idaho’s most productive reservoirs.

  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Target species: Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Rainbow Trout, Crappie, Yellow Perch, Catfish (Flathead, Channel, & Bullhead), and Bluegill. 
Alpenglow Mountainsport | Totally Boise 2022 Spring Mag

Photo Credit: Alpenglow Mountainsport

Anderson Ranch Reservoir 

Anderson Ranch is primarily a Kokanee and Salmon reservoir which is why this is such an amazing smallmouth fishery. Most anglers are trolling for kokanee while completely ignoring the bass populations. Like Dworshak Reservoir in northern Idaho, the bass population is abundantly sustained by the large Kokanee populations, allowing big Smallmouth to strap on the feedbag. Pay special attention to where sand and rock outcropping meetup as smallmouth love to school above these transitions.

  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Target species: Kokanee, Chinook Salmon, Rainbow Trout, Smallmouth Bass, and Yellow Perch
Alpenglow Mountainsport | Totally Boise 2022 Spring Mag

Photo Credit: Alpenglow Mountainsport

Snake River Floats

Swan Falls to Celebration Park

Launching from below Swan Falls dam and taking out at Celebration Park this float will put your endurance and paddling skills to the test. Usually, the three sets of rapids would be a walk in the park for a whitewater kayak, but things can get a bit dicey for an angler in a traditional “sit on top” style kayak. Smallmouth bass fishing is plentiful throughout the entirety of the float while picking up immensely after the second set of rapids. If you’re targeting the white sturgeon, your best opportunities are going to be within the first four to five miles of the dam. If bowfishing your game then the stretch right before the last set of rapids is for you. Commonly referred to as the “bone-yard” by boaters who’ve damaged their outboards here this untouched stretch of river is packed with many record-breaking sized carp and possibly the next state record.

  • Difficulty: Expert
  • Target Species: Smallmouth Bass, White Sturgeon, Carp Bowfishing
Alpenglow Mountainsport | Totally Boise 2022 Spring Mag

Photo Credit: Alpenglow Mountainsport

CJ Strike Dam to Grandview, Idaho

Put-in is directly below the bridge at the dam with takeout being at the Grandview boat ramp. There’s a very healthy population of trout observed here with most feeding on the abundant fingerlings of yellow perch. These trout can be targeted with conventional bottom bouncing techniques or with 3”-4” crankbaits. This stretch of river is untouched which means the smallmouth bass population rarely sees the same lures twice. Be sure to target current breaks and rocky points for great smallmouth action. The highlight of this float is the many white sturgeon that roam the depths foraging on the abundance of fresh fish that the dam produces. 

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Target Species: Rainbow trout, Smallmouth bass, White Sturgeon
Alpenglow Mountainsport | Totally Boise 2022 Spring Mag
Alpenglow Mountainsport | Totally Boise 2022 Spring Mag
Alpenglow Mountainsport | Totally Boise 2022 Spring Mag

Photo Credit: Alpenglow Mountainsport

Are Your Personal Floatation Devices in Safe Condition?

Before you hit any waters in Idaho, you should make sure your PFD’s and other personal floatation devices are in their best condition. According to the CDC, Idaho ranks in the top ten states for drowning-based deaths. Most of these unfortunate deaths can be prevented with the use of PFD’s.

Thankfully Alpenglow Mountainsport has you covered! They both sell and rent out high-quality PFDs during the warm water sports months. Now is the perfect time to get yours before the hot weather demand and supply chain issues leave you unprotected.

Head to their location at 2314 Bogus Basin Rd, in Boise to get your PFD’s now!

Alpenglow Mountainsport | Totally Boise 2022 Spring Mag
Alpenglow Mountainsport | Totally Boise 2022 Spring Mag
Alpenglow Mountainsport | Totally Boise 2022 Spring Mag

Photo Credit: Alpenglow Mountainsport

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