Local fishers getting trophy perch and trout at Ashton Reservoir
Many of the traditional Upper Snake River Valley ice fishing waters are still iceless this year, including Ririe and Palisades Reservoirs, two of the most desired destination for coldfooters.
“Get your boat out,” a friend told me as I lamented the conditions not allowing my wife and I to have any kokanee to enjoy.
But some fishermen have found Ashton Reservoir to be a gem, producing a lot of catchable planters, rainbows and browns between 16 to 18 inches and trophy perch.
“We are catching a few perch up to 12 inches,” said Lucas Ingram, a Rexburg fishermen who has fished Ashton several times with his family. “We don’t find them at the dam but in mud flats about 20 feet below the ice in bays between the dam and the boat ramp.”
“I had a customer come in and show me pictures of two 13 inch perch that they caught at Ashton,” said Mike Bruton, an ice fisherman waiting not so patiently for Ririe to freeze over. “I guess I am going to have to try it.”
Those fishermen targeting perch on Ashton will have to travel by snowmachine or get permission to cross private land to get to the perch producing areas. There are not large numbers of the warm water fish, but Ingam reports his family have caught over 10 several times.
Perch areas are also producing some nice brown and rainbow trout, but they are usually taken by fishing closer to the shore.
But those fishermen desiring a lot of action are fishing near the dam. Family groups are working the deep water just above the dam and doing very well on planters. During the summer months the Idaho Department of Fish and Game stocked over 39,000 rainbows in the reservoir and it appears many have congregated near the dam. Some fishermen report catching up to 60 per outing, making it enjoyable for kids to spend a day on the ice. The most successful fishermen are fishing the face of the dam or near the bank.
Jigs tipped with wax or meal worms are usually setups for holdover or native trout while nightcrawlers, Powerbait or corn have been good for the stocked fish. Perch are usually taken on small jigs tipped with a wax or meal worm fished below a spoon or larger jig. The brown trout are taken on minnows or a piece of nightcrawler fished below a flasher.
Access to the reservoir by the dam is fairly easy, but on weekends parking is limited so if you want to take the kids for an ice fishing trip, go early. Over the Christmas break, I took my grandchildren fishing at Ashton and they had a great time.
If you are waiting for Ririe and Palisades to hopefully freeze over, Ashton may be the fix for the cabin blues during this warmer than normal weather. Just be very careful as there are warm springs alone the shore.