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Fishing at Henrys Lake opens with a bang


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Photos courtesy Bill Schiess |

HENRYS LAKE – “This was the best day of fishing I have ever had,” a very happy Alton Hansen said as he showed the fish his party of four caught Saturday morning, the opening on Henrys Lake. “We got a 13.86 pounder, a 10.5, a 9.5, a 9.0, a 7.5, a 7.0, a 6.0 and this little four pounder for our limits and caught about four or five others.”

“I am ecstatic at how happy most fishermen are,” Jenn Vincent, the Idaho Fish and Game manager of Henrys Lake, said. “I have interviewed about a dozen people at the (Henrys Lake) state park and did not find any that were unhappy. I am just happy that the fishermen are happy and they are catching fish from the shore at the state park.”

Hansen’s group fished just off the Cliffs with bait and others trolling just out in the deeper water were also catching fish. There were also people catching fish just off the north shore from Wild Rose Resort down to the Hatchery.

Two employees of the Fish and Game, Josh Rydalch and Dan Garren, trolled along the north shore “catching fish after fish; brookies and cutts and hybrids in all age classes.” Rydalch had also taken a large hybrid over 12 pounds.

“I believe fly fishermen had the most success as they fished egg patterns below an indicator,” said Vincent. “But all kinds of fishermen were successful today.”

“The best flies that caught fish were single egg patterns, the Electric Black leech and the Purple Showgirl,” said Mike Wilson, owner of the Drift Lodge near Henrys Lake. “It is really nice to have fishing as good as it is.”

The best bait appeared to be sucker meat followed by nightcrawlers, while those casting Panther Martins and rubber jigs also found success. Most people found that fishing in 12 to 15 feet of water is where most of the fish are located.

As fishermen and Fish and Game personnel discussed the reason for the hot start Saturday, they say the recent storms and cold weather may have delayed the snow fly hatch.

“Last season, the insect hatch happened before the opening and the fish were full of the larvae and would not take anything,” said Wilson. “Also last season we had very few three year olds that showed up, but this year last year’s one and two year olds are being caught as two and three year olds. It looks like we have a healthy lake again.”

Once the lake gets a few warm days, the fly hatch will be on and the fish will feed on them and the fishing may slow. But for now, fishermen are enjoying the action. This may be the best season to harvest that big fish of a lifetime. Just ask Alton Hansen or one of his party.