Henrys Lake is ready for the cold footers - East Idaho News

Henrys Lake is ready for the cold footers

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My line started circling the eight-inch hole in the ice that was about five inches thick, but the flimsy rod tip did not move. As I raised the rod, I felt a little resistance, so I set the hook into the heavy fish. There was not much fight out of it until I got it near the hole when the six-pound hybrid powered itself away from the hole until it finally tired and I was able to slip it up through the hole. It then went back down the hole to grow some more.

This was last Monday when three of us, my friends Gary Owens and Moose Harrop, invited me to join them on the new formed ice that covered the lake. Henrys Lake froze over on Nov. 10, and by Saturday, the ice was thick enough for a few fishermen to venture out on it. Social media was full of pictures of their successes and ice fishermen started drooling and dreaming of the trophies on the end of their line on short rods.

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Moose Harrop shows off a fish that he caught last Monday on Henrys. The sports-brella was used to protect Harrop from a bitter cold north breeze that he was fishing in. | Bill Schiess, EastIdahoNews.com

The three of us would land about 30 fish in four hours of fishing with several hybrids between six to seven pounds with one brook trout. We found the bite being very light with most of the fish caught “dead-sticking” as the fish did not respond to jigging for some reason. We had to watch our lines to detect the bites. Most were caught with flashy white jigs tipped with a minnow or a piece of sucker meat with a flavored kernel of corn added. The corn flavored with krill/shrimp oil seemed to be the key ingredient for us.

On Wednesday, my rock hunting partner, Mike Bruton and I headed back up to fish the same area and were joined by Gary and two other friends. We found the fishing a little tougher than what we had on Monday, but when the fish came in, we all got some good ones.

There is about two feet of snow around the lake with only about an inch of it on top of the seven inches of ice near the Frome County Boat ramp. There are not very many parking areas around the lake. As of Wednesday, the county boat dock had not been plowed out, the Henrys Lake State Park is blocked off, the Stump Hole parking lot can only hold about four or five vehicles, there is construction going on at the Cliff area and most of the private property has been posted. We parked at the county dock and walked down the ice toward Staley Springs to get away from a large group of fishermen.

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Gary Owens of Rexburg lands a large male cutthroat through the ice last Monday.| Bill Schiess, EastIdahoNews.com

We found the fishing was the best from about 8 to 10 during the mornings and then we had good fishing again about one in the afternoon.Traditionally, fishing is best during the first three weeks after the ice has formed and usually gets slower as the weeds start breaking down which depletes the amount of oxygen in the water. This causes the fish to go into a hibernating stage.

The Drift Lodge Shop at Aspen Ridge is open and has ice fishing tackle available, but the most important thing they have is up-to-date information about the parking areas and road conditions around the lake. You can call them at (208) 558-0152.

As we were coming off the lake Wednesday, I stopped by two fishermen from Jackson, Wyoming, to see how they were doing. “Not great,” they replied just as one of their Jaw-Jackers went off. One of the fishermen, Lucas Donaldson, a fishing guide in Wyoming, hustled over to fight the fish. After five minutes, he iced a very large hybrid and after a couple of pictures, slid the hog back down the hole for someone else to enjoy.

The “not so great a fishing day” had just turned into a great day for him and made the long trip from Jackson well worth the trip. “Might as well come and fish Idaho as Jackson Lake is still a month and a half from freezing over,” was his reply as I left.

Be safe on the roads as large herds of elk and deer are crossing Highway 20 from Ashton Hill to Last Chance. A few of them have already been hit and killed – just drive carefully. Have a Great Thanksgiving!!!

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A beginning ice fisherman, David Johnson, thought he had on a small fish until he got it up by the hole. It took him about 10 minutes to sneak it out through the ice. | Bill Schiess, EastIdahoNews.com
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Mike Bruton of Rigby shows off a nice hybrid he caught on Wednesday. | Bill Schiess, EastIdahoNews.com

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