Fly fishing gear

Pelicans were gathered at Henrys Lake last week, which means the fishing season is about to begin

Over 100 pelicans wait for the trout to move up Timber Creek on Henrys Lake. | Bill Schiess,

Hundreds of pelicans piled up at the mouths of streams that flow into Henrys Lake can only be there for one reason: easy food. Breeding fish that fight in the shallows to reach the creek are easy to pluck. On May 12, at the mouth of Timber Creek on the north side of the famous lake, 137 of the large fish-swallowing birds were looking for brunch. Some of the fish did not become a meal because there was fish in the stream that had overtaken the fishing army.

The ice melt on Henrys occurred on May 5, allowing the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to make its annual gillnet to count and age fish before the season opens on May 29.

“Our job right now is to take the nets out every night and pick them up the next morning,” said Lauren Carter, a fishery technician, trying to untangle a large brook trout from a net. “Our goal is to have a total of 100 net / nights so that we can get a feel for what’s going on on the lake.”

Jenn Vincent, the local regional fish biologist, who heads the gillnet and spawning operations on Henrys Lake, reported that the first 50 nets (the traditional number of nets / night) showed that 18% of the fish caught were Yellowstone burdens while 10% were hybrids. , 2.5% were brook trout and 69% were chub.

“It’s about the same level as last year,” said Vincent. “Chub is a school fish, so unless you are in a school of chub you won’t catch them.”

When I observed the trout aging, measuring and weighing operation, the fillets with the most chub were the fillets near the cliffs on the south side of the lake. Some of the larger trout also came from these same fillets.

“I’m going to predict that the fishing will be good, very good this season,” said Vincent. “The majority of the trout we saw while spawning and gillnetting were 3 year old Cutts and we also saw hybrids between 25 and 28 inches long and weighing up to 10 pounds. We are right about our management objective. “

A tube filled with mostly Utah chub caught in a net near the cliffs of Henrys Lake. | Bill Schiess,

The fishermen have had an exceptional year on Henrys Lake in number and size. All indications for the coming season point to an even better year. The two- and three-year-old age classes are abundant with a few very large hybrids and speckled trout up to 21 inches.

Usually, when the ice leaves nearly a month before opening day, most fish move away from the shallows. But this year the water has remained cold and the fish are still close to shore. The Cliff area is always a very popular area on opening weekends for bait anglers using sucker meat, minnows and nocturnal caterpillars. Trollers using a variety of decoys, including pop gear, Panther Martins, and spoons, have always been lucky early in the season before weeds grew too tall.

For early season fly fishermen, dark leeches like the Black and Purple Electric Showgirls, as well as Halloween flies have always performed well. Trolling for large flies, whether from a boat, floats, or pontoon devices, has been an effective way to catch fish from Henrys Lake.

Just a few rappels on Henrys Lake – storms can transform the lake from a calm, smooth, glassy surface into a raging inferno in minutes. In addition, the limit is still two fish per day and “in possession”. Once you have kept your two fish, you need to stop fishing.

Good luck and be careful. Henrys Lake is one of Idaho’s gems and it should be used and enjoyed.

Fishing Tech Lauren Carter shows 20 inch speckled trout with Logan Thomas, holding 26 inch hybrid caught in gillnets on May 12 | Bill Schiess,

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