Destination: CJ Strike and Fishing
Friday morning and the blustery wind of the previous days had ended. The morning sun was on its daily path through a clear blue sky. It would be a great day to be outdoors. If you can’t go 4-wheeling, might as well go fishing. Mike and I loaded the boat with necessary gear (poles, tackle, and bait), hooked the trailer to his 4x4 pickup and headed for the lake.
The “lake” is CJ Strike Reservoir managed for recreation opportunities by Idaho Power Company. Located on the Snake River, the reservoir provides hydroelectric power for southwest Idaho and irrigation water for the many farms in the area. CJ Strike also provides a variety of year around recreation opportunities including waterfowl hunting, fishing, and water sports. This day, fishing was on the agenda and crappie were biting.
After launching the boat at the Cottonwood Campground Boat Ramp, we headed across the Bruneau Arm to a narrow gorge heading to the main reservoir. We were not the first boat to drop anchor along the rocky shoreline. Soon, the lures were baited and cast and the fun began. We had found a school of fish willing to strike any lure tossed their way. Each cast produced a bite. Most hooked a fish. Some fish were lost near the boat. Others were tossed back for being too small.
Crappie are a member of the sunfish family and provide tasty filet. The limit of crappie is the number you are willing to clean and filet. As the afternoon progressed, we quickly filled two buckets with fish. Then, it was time to change location and search for bluegill, another member of the sunfish family and maybe some bass.
Being a long-time angler on CJ Strike, Mike had his favorite spots for each variety of fish in the lake. We pulled anchor and headed for a small, protected shallow cove with tree-lined banks. We did add to the crappie catch and added a few bluegill to the buckets; however, no bass were caught.
While in the cove, we were treated with the sight of an otter swimming along the bank. Perhaps that was why fishing was slow. We had a lot of competition for the fish.
As the sun was beginning its journey into the western sky, it was time to head for the boat ramp and an evening meal of fresh fish.
When you go:
CJ Strike Reservoir offers hunting and year-around fishing opportunities. The adjacent Owyhee County offers a variety of OHV opportunities. For more information, check with the Owyhee County and the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation www.parksandrecreation.idaho.gov
Limited supplies and necessary hunting, fishing and OHV vehicle/boat permits are available at The Fishin’ Hole on Highway 51 in Bruneau, Idaho.