Henrys Lake is freezing over and the fishing is good

Living the Wild Life

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Traditionally each year Henrys Lake freezes over just prior to Thanksgiving with enough ice to allow dyed in the wool cold-footers a place to hit hard water. This year will be no exception as a few fishermen were on the frozen lake early this week.

“I decided to drive up today (Monday) as I heard it had capped over on Saturday or Sunday,” Mike Bruton of Rexburg said. “The ice was two inches deep in the southwest corner and I walked out and fished in two to three feet water and caught five fish.”

Bruton landed a six-pound hybrid and a five-pound brook trout as well as three small fish about 12 inches long using minnows and sucker meat. He invited me to go with him on Tuesday and we did not find the fishing hot, but we managed to ice seven fish in three hours of fishing.

“I took this week off to fish it every day as I know that the fishing will be best for the first two weeks after it freezes over and then it usually dies,” commented Bruton as we drove to the lake.

We found the ice about four inches deep near the shore for about one hundred yards out, beyond that it thinned to about two inches. By Thursday afternoon most of the 2-inch ice had grown to three to four inches. CAUTION: Ice is never totally safe and weak spots do and will exist.

Through this week, Bruton and a few other friends have found the best fishing along the south shore near the Cliffs has been in shallow water. Fishing in two feet of water has produced large brook trout up to five pounds and hybrids up to eight pounds. But the majority of the fish caught have been hybrids, cutthroats and brook trout between 12 to 14 inches.

“Every time I have moved to deeper water I got less bites and often no fish,” Bruton reported Thursday evening after catching eight fish in shallow water and then moving into the deeper water near the Cliffs where he caught none.

“Along the Cliffs the bite was really light but we did catch some fish,” said Gary Owens of Rexburg. “We will be fishing it some more in the next two weeks.”

By next week the ice on the north and west shorelines should be deeper and fishermen can fish some of the other areas of the lake that usually produces fish there. The Hatchery, Pintail Point and Staley Springs were the hot areas prior to the lake freezing over and should produce fish around the holiday.

The larger fish were taken on Monday and Tuesday by fishing with minnows and sucker meat sitting on the bottom. As the day progressed the smaller fish were attracted to white jigs tipped with meal worms or sucker meat. On Thursday one group fishing in 10 to 12 feet of water did fairly well using worms and marshmallows.

The aquatic plants appear to be breaking down already and as they rot the process will use a lot of oxygen from the water. The low oxygen will cause the fish to feed less and will slow their activity causing the fishing to slow as well.

With only about two inches of snow on the ground all the roads to the lake remain open for fishermen to get to the water. For the next two weeks, the ice fishing should be the best for those looking for a place to enjoy fishing through a small hole in the ice. But please remember that care needs to be taken whenever you are on the ice. Good Luck.