By: Woody Venard  

Chase Lake, North Idaho

Chase Lake is an extremely shallow, clear lake located just south of Priest Lake. The very first time I fished this lake, I patrolled all over for a deep hole, but there simply isn’t one. 

Twelve feet is the maximum depth of the whole lake, which means that you can fish anywhere on the lake for large mouth bass. There are also huge yellow perch, some of the biggest in all of Idaho. 

On my last trip there in early June, there was a ferocious wind scouring the lake. It was so powerful that I had to anchor up just to fish. I began fishing about 100 yards straight out from the boat launch, in a sparse weed bed in 10 feet of water. 

My girlfriend loves perch, so I was intent on landing a few for dinner before fishing for bass. Casting a shallow diving crayfish crankbait out over the weedbeds, I wound it in hard, then twitched it several times erratically. After a brief pause, I cranked it hard again so it would dive into the weeds, then twitched it again. On the second twitch, I felt a weight on the rod and reeled in a monstrous perch that hardly fought at all. 

At 13 inches it was one of the biggest of my life.

After two hours, I had caught two more gazongo perch. They might be big, but there certainly aren’t a lot of them in the lake. Pulling up the anchor, I rowed around the lake, looking for some likely bass spots. The best looking areas I could find at such an early part of the year were patches of red lily pads that were just breaking the water’s surface. 

At the first patch I came across, I cast a small wobbling spoon right down the edge of the pads. Before the lure could even sink, a bass gobbled it up and came catapulting out of the water in a back flip. Several more jumps and a couple of powerful runs later, I lipped the fat 14-inch large mouth and then released him back to the crystal waters.

Oaring further around the lake, I found several more patches of red lilies, all of them in about four feet of water. Switching to an olive green plastic worm proved to be an excellent choice. I set the hook into several very hard fighting bass of 16 inches or more, and several lesser bass. None of these fish failed to jump or tailwalk at some part of the fight. With my polarized glasses on I spotted many more bass that I could not tempt to strike, some right on the shoreline, but most of them well out into the lake in the weed beds.

I was very pleased with my experience at Chase Lake and would recommend it to anyone. With its beautiful clear water and hard-hitting bass, this lake is any fisherman’s dream come true. And don’t forget the enormous perch. 

So if you’re ever fishing on Priest Lake and want a break from the deep water and huge areas, pop over to Chase Lake for a wonderful small lake experience.