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Henrys Lake is ready for cold feet – East Idaho News

My line started circling the eight inch hole in the ice which was about five inches thick, but the fragile tip of the rod didn’t budge. As I lifted the rod, I felt a little resistance, so I sank the hook into the big fish. There wasn’t much of a fight until I had it close to the hole when the six-pound hybrid moved away from the hole until it finally got tired and I could slip it through the hole. He then went back down into the hole to push some more.

It was last Monday when three of us, my friends Gary Owens and Moose Harrop, invited me to join them on the newly formed ice that covered the lake. Henrys Lake froze on Nov. 10 and on Saturday the ice was thick enough for a few anglers to venture there. Social media was overflowing with photos of their successes and ice anglers drooled and dreamed of trophies at the end of their line on short rods.

Moose Harrop shows off a fish he caught on Henrys last Monday. The sports brella was used to protect Harrop from a freezing northern breeze 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 and seven pounds with a speckled trout. We found the bite to be very light with most fish caught “dead-sticky” as the fish did not react to jigging for some reason. We had to watch our lines for bites. Most were caught with flashy white jigs with a minnow or a piece of sucker meat with a flavored corn kernel added. The krill/shrimp oil flavored corn seemed like the key ingredient for us.

On Wednesday my rock hunting partner Mike Bruton and I went back fishing in the same area and were joined by Gary and two other friends. We found the fishing a bit more difficult than Monday, but when the fish came we all had some good ones.

There is about two feet of snow around the lake with only about an inch above the seven inches of ice near the Frome County boat ramp. There are not many parking lots around the lake. As of Wednesday, the county wharf had not been cleared of snow, Henrys Lake State Park is blocked, the Stump Hole parking lot can only hold about four or five vehicles, construction is underway in the area of Cliff and most of the private property was displayed. We parked at the county wharf and walked down the ice towards Staley Springs to get away from a large group of anglers.

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Rexburg’s Gary Owens lands a big cutthroat buck through the ice last Monday. | Bill Schiess, EastIdahoNews.com

We found the fishing to be best around 8-10 in the morning and then fished well again around 1 in the afternoon. Traditionally fishing is best for the first three weeks after training ice and generally gets slower as the weeds start to break down, which depletes the amount of oxygen in the water. This causes the fish to go into a hibernation phase.

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

As we left the lake on 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 anglers, Lucas Donaldson, a Wyoming fishing guide, rushed in to fight the fish. After five minutes he iced a very large hybrid and after a few shots slid the pig down the hole for someone else to enjoy.

The “not-so-great day of fishing” had just turned into a great day for him, and the long trip from Jackson was well worth the trip. “Might as well come fishing in Idaho, ’cause Jackson Lake is still a month and a half away from freezing,” he replied as I left.

Be careful on the roads as large herds of elk and deer cross 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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Rookie ice fisherman David Johnson thought he had a small fish until he caught it through the hole. It took him about 10 minutes to squeeze through the ice. | Bill Schiess, EastIdahoNews.com
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Rigby’s Mike Bruton shows off a nice hybrid he caught on Wednesday. | Bill Schiess, EastIdahoNews.com

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