One fish, two fish, river fish, city fish
Armed with a light-weight cheapo Shakespeare rod, a pack of weights, silver and gold Panther Martin spin lures, some plain two-prong hooks and a container of nightcrawlers, I headed down to the water.
The bank next to the Ninth Street bridge crossing Boise River was too crowded by foliage, and I got stuck in a tree. So I re-maneuvered, moving up to the cement support plunked into the river. From there, I had much better distance, and my arms were free to cast.
Rivers tend to be easier to fly fish, but the finesse needed for the art of fly fishing isn't a skill easily honed by many. With the right tools, however, even novice fishermen can find luck on the water flowing right through metropolitan Boise.
Rather than an overhand cast, I opted for a side swing, something like a baseball player at bat. Casting easily without much oomph, I followed the advice of fisherman Sam Burbank, examiner.com's Boise Fishing Examiner. Burbank and other Boise River anglers advocate an information-intensive approach to the river.
He suggests obtaining water level data from the United States Geological Survey website, the fishing report from Idaho Department of Fish and Game, which stocks the river, as well as a knowledge of your prey, whether it be rainbow or brown trout, mountain whitefish, catfish, carp or large and smallmouth bass. By knowing where these critters like to hide, you can outsmart the fish. Put all that information together, and you can predict how best to tackle the river.
I followed Burbank's advice on casting technique. I shot the lure upstream, letting it flow down the river a bit, sinking below the surface by keeping the rod down. The lure's metal weight spun around the bright green bait, which hopefully looked like a tasty snack to trout as it hung in the water. Reeling fast to avoid the bottom, I continued this approach the length of the river, following it leisurely, stopping to cast wherever it pleased me.
The best spots were off the small island created when the river runs high beneath Friendship Bridge. There I caught three rainbow trout, all the size of my hand, palm to finger-tip.
Another good spot was downstream, directly across from Boise State's football training complex. There, between the coast and a sandbar, the water gets deeper and fish hide below. I caught another four rainbows, only slightly smaller than the previous trio.
When going urban, my advice is to resist the urge to fish off bridges. The high vantage point may offer good casting, but it won't let the bait sink low enough to lure any fish. And if you catch something off the bridge, you'll never get it in--especially if you're after one the river's monsters.