Saturday, June 3, 2017

Crane Falls Lake


Since January, Katie had continually been asking me what we were going to do for our anniversary this year. To be honest, I hadn't given it much thought. Until Katie asked one day, "When are you going to take me crappie fishing?!"
"Well there's an idea! Let's go to Cove Arm and Crane Falls!" I said, with glowing enthusiasm.
"Oh, and one of the days we can look for antlers!" Katie added.
Wow! I married the right woman!
We anxiously awaited our trip. But the weather was unseasonably cool, questioning whether the crappie would be on the bite. Regardless, we left Boise one evening and headed down to Crane Falls with the float tubes.
I awoke at first light to the sound of loons and red-winged black birds celebrating the gorgeous morning. I stood in front of the tranquil lake, itching to break the glass-like water with my float tube and a splashing fish.
I kicked out into the lake with a leech and a damsel trailer fly. The next 2 hours were packed with action. On my first cast I brought in our target species; a black crappie.
A few casts later produced another small crappie.
By 8:30 am I had landed 5 species; black crappie, yellow perch, largemouth bass, rainbow trout and bluegill.
By 9 am, Katie had joined me on the water and together we hammered the fish.
The beautiful thing about fishing in Crane Falls is you never know what you are going to catch. We were trolling across the lake to another location when my line stopped and began to scream in the other direction. The creature on the end of my line showed no signs of stopping and I was beginning to see the backing peeking through on my reel. Like an ominous stranger at your door, the backing knot knocked through every line guide of the rod, telling me I was officially into my backing. I had to start kicking towards the fish to make sure I didn't get spooled. Finally, after I was 30 yards into my backing, the fish slowed and began swimming right towards me. To stay tight, I once again had to kick the other direction. After quite the rodeo, we scooped the brood stock rainbow into the net. It was 24 inches, with a face only a mother could love.  
Katie followed up with another rainbow of her own.
After lunch we decided to hit Cove Arm to see if the crappie were biting.
We kicked around for a couple hours and tried everything in the fly box at every depth attainable with a fly rod. Nothing but a few sticks grabbed our flies. We soon found ourselves back in the warmer waters of Crane Falls.    
We made it back over to the weeded southeast corner and I decided to try fishing a balance perch under a strike indicator. I quickly discovered a wonderful way to fish Crane Falls. I would cast the indicator over towards the weed edge and let the waves do their magic. The indicator would take a plunge and you never knew what would be on the other end.

We fished a while longer before calling it quits. Crane Falls had provided a diverse, action packed day. The midge hatch that evening was a blizzard!
At about midnight, the notorious southern Idaho wind decided to make an appearance. The tent was rocking back and forth, threatening to tumble into the lake with us in it. I expected the wind to die down by morning, but no such luck. The lake had been whipped to a froth with no signs of quieting.
We wanted to get out into the lake and fish for a while, but the whitecaps were brutal. So we drove around to some other areas and ended up finding a few reptiles before heading back to the lake.
By the time we made it back to the lake, the wind had died down. We quickly wadered up and kicked out into the lake to fish. Katie was quickly into a trout.
The afternoon fished well. Although we never ended up getting into crappie, we caught plenty of other species while we were there. Crane Falls has always been a favorite of mine for early season multi-species action.

The following day we looked for antlers with Katie's family. I found 3 fairly old ones, Katie found a chalky one and her brother found a large 3 point dead-head. A great finish to a great trip.