Each of three reservoir sections provides a unique fishing experience.
The main reservoir, near the dam, provides easy access for both bank and
boat angling. Trout, yellow perch, and bullheads can be taken from the
bank using bait such as worms, eggs, and marshmallows. The marshmallow
will float the bait off the bottom into the fishes view. You may wish to
try both with and without a bobber until you find where the fish are
Boaters trolling with rapalas, rooster tail, or flies along the face
of the dam, the south shore or in the narrows, can be rewarded with
excellent trout fishing.
Anglers will also find great success in spring and early summer
fishing for smallmouth bass along the dam, and in shallow coves, using
jigs, plastic grubs, and lures which imitate smaller fish. For best
success, fish the shallow areas and rocky banks, cast toward the cover
areas, and keep your lure moving.
Best fishing on the Snake River Arm is by boat, though some bank
fishing can be found at the Cove Arm site. Refer to the map for the best
launch site. Trolling for trout with a rooster tail or spinning lure is
the primary activity; however, smallmouth bass and channel catfish can
be found in the coves and sheltered area during the spring months. The
smallmouth bass will strike at fish imitating lures or plugs, while the
channel catfish are bottom feeders and can be caught with nightcrawlers.
For the hardy, catch-and-release sturgeon fishing can be very good
during the fall and spring from the bank or boat. Equip yourself with a
hefty rod and reel, at least a 30 lb. test line, 6-9 ounce weights, and
some large barbless hooks (no. 4 or better). Look for areas 20' or
deeper to catch these 6 to 8 foot fish.
The most diverse fishing can be found in the Bruneau Arm. The
Cottonwood Campground and Jack's Creek access site provide both boat and
bank angling for bluegill, perch, crappie, trout, largemouth and
smallmouth bass, and channel catfish. From the shore, try worms, on or
near, the bottom. In the early spring, the narrows is a good area to
troll for trout and to flip grubs for smallmouth bass in May and June.
Fish for the largemouth the same as described for the smallmouth but
look for heavy vegetation and perhaps use a weedless lure. Bluegill like
the vegetation as well and the rocky shoreline. They prefer a very small
hook with bait or a fly. Using a small bobber will keep the bait off the
bottom and at the level where the fish are located.
For success on crappie, try jigs retrieved in a slight jerking
motion. In May and June, the crappie can be found in the shallows,
usually less than 6 feet of water. Again, using a small bobber will help
to keep your jig at the right depth.
Perch, bullheads and channel catfish are bottom feeders and like cut
bait or worms.
Float tubers do well in the Bruneau Arm, especially in the vicinity
of Cottonwood Campground. Try casting back toward over-hanging brushy
areas or rocky shores with flies or bait.
The Bruneau Arm also provides an early and productive ice fishery for
perch, bluegill, and trout. Ice fishing is a great way to expand your
fishing season and great fun, but remember, safety first. Always check
the ice, and dress for cold weather. Common ice fishing equipment
includes an ice auger, a short rod with light line (tips off of old rods
work great), some leaded hooks, ice jigs, flies, or swedish pimple
lures. Add to that any of a variety of baits such as eggs, maggots,
worms, and cut bait, and you are set. Jig the lure up and down near the
bottom for perch and bluegill; and mid-depth for trout.
How to Get to C.J. Strike
At Mountain Home, follow the signs to the Mountain Home Airbase. To
access the Bruneau Arm, turn south at the Bruneau turnoff (State Highway
51) and continue 14.3 miles to the Loverage Bridge access (located where
the highway cross the Snake River Arm of C.J. Strike Res.). To reach
Cove Arm launch, continue 3.5 miles and turn north at the Cove Arm,
Crane Falls sign. Follow the signs, down the hill and to the north for
6.5 miles (caution: the last 1.5 miles is extremely rough gravel road).
To access Bruneau Arm and C.J. Strike Dam, continue through Bruneau
and watch for signs for C.J. Strike Wildlife Management Area (4.1 miles
past Bruneau on Highway 78), Bruneau Narrows (7.5 miles), Cottonwood
Campground (5.7 miles), BLM Cove Campground (8.8 miles), Black Sands
Resort (10.2 miles), and C.J. Strike Dam (11.8 miles). Take the road
below the dam to access the launch below the dam and Airbase Docks (13.0
miles from Bruneau).
C.J. Strike Dam can also be reached from Mountain Home by taking
State highway 67 via Grandview, or gravel road cut-off to Strike Dam
road (21.2 miles from Mountain Home).
- Full Service facilities can be found at Black Sands Resort on the
Main Reservoir, and the Cottonwood Campground on the Bruneau Arm.
- Limited camping and parking is available at the Air Base Docks,
Cove Campground on the main reservoir and the launch below the dam.
- Boat access only is found at Crane Falls, Loverage Bridge.
- Fishing access is possible at the C.J. Strike Wildlife Management