Henrys Lake has been good to anglers this year and catch rates underneath the ice are continuing that trend into the colder months. Sub-zero temperatures near the end of October prompted a few brazen ice anglers to venture out onto the newly frozen lake several days before Halloween. “Henrys Lake is often one of the first fisheries to cap over in Idaho but this year it happened particularly early,” says Fisheries Manager Brett High.
Henrys Lake is a world-famous fishery and produces some of the largest trout in Idaho. Cutthroat trout, brook trout and large hybrid trout commonly referred to as cutbows are abundant in the lake and grow rapidly. “Lots of trout in the 16 inch range are being pulled through the ice right now with several reports of larger fish weighing 8 pounds or more,” says High. “If you are willing to brave the cold, Henrys offers a unique opportunity to catch trophy fish under the ice.”
Tips for fishing through the ice at Henrys Lake:
- Arrive early and begin fishing before sunrise.
- Early season fishing is generally better.
- Worms, powerbait or 3 inch jigs of various colors have all performed well.
- Don’t be afraid to move to a new hole, try different depths or switch baits if what you are doing isn’t working.
The best way to check ice thickness is to drill a test hole before venturing too far, follow these guidelines, and remember, it’s ultimately your responsibility to determine if it’s safe to be on the ice.
General guidelines for ice safety are:
- Three to four inches of solid ice is the minimum to support a person, and thicker ice is needed for groups.
- 10 inches of solid ice are needed to support an ATV or snow machine.
- Ice does not typically get thick enough to drive cars and trucks on Idaho's lakes and reservoirs.
- Drill test holes to determine thickness, and remember thickness is not always uniform. Holes can be no larger than 10-inches in diameter for safety sake.
- Inexpensive ice picks can be worn to aid in a self-rescue if a fall through the ice occurs.
- Wearing ice cleats can prevent slips and falls on smooth ice.
- Beware of conditions that can create weak ice, such as inlets and outlets, springs, or near docks and other structures that can absorb sunlight and weaken ice.
Several access points are available around the lake with the most popular being the Fish and Game Hatchery and County Park which are both plowed with restrooms available. Henrys Lake State Park is also a popular starting point but is often only accessible in a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
Henrys Lake Seasons and Rules:
Section: Those portions of the lake within the posted boundaries of Staley Springs and within 100 yards of Hatchery Creek - Closed to fishing
Remainder of Henrys Lake:
• January 2 through Friday before Memorial Day weekend – Closed to fishing
• Saturday of Memorial Day weekend through January 1 – trout limit is 2, Brook Trout must be counted in the trout limit
• Fishing may not continue after 2 trout have been reduced to possession
To learn more about ice fishing in Idaho, including ice fishing safety, click here.