Members of the public were asked to consider two proposal options:
Option A. Extend the fishing season on Henrys Lake to year round with a catch-and-release season from February 15 through the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend.
Option B. Extend the fishing harvest season on Henrys Lake by moving the closing date from January 1 to January 31. Implement a catch-and-release season from February 1 through May 10. Close all fishing from May 11 through the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend.
In the randomized design, IDFG sent out an e-mail survey to 36,021 individuals targeting Idaho resident anglers with roughly half of the recipients residing in the Upper Snake Region. They received 3,910 responses, including 2,417 residents of the Upper Snake Region and 1,493 from residents of other locations in Idaho. In this survey, anglers were allowed to select preferences (option A, B, or neither) as well as provide comments.
IDFG also collected comments in on open format through the department website that allowed anyone to provide feedback and comments on the proposals. In all, 537 individuals participated in the open, non-random website survey.
Overall, 84% of respondents favored increasing fishing opportunity at Henrys Lake, with 58% favoring option A and 26% favoring Option B.
In the random e-mail survey, 87% favored increasing fishing opportunity with 59% selecting Option A and 28% selecting Option B (Figure 1).
In the non-random website survey, results were similar to the random survey with most anglers preferring additional angling opportunity (68%). Option A was preferred by 48% of the respondents and Option B garnered 32% in the website survey (Figure 2).
Respondents were provided an opportunity to share written comments during these surveys. Comments among the random e-mail and non-random website surveys were quite similar. The common themes from the random e-mail survey included concern over hooking mortality rates, suggestions for simpler regulations, suggestions for higher bag limits, and expression of opinion that ice-fishing has been detrimental to the fishery. However, these themes were shared by less than 4% of the respondents. The most common themes heard during the open website survey included desires to keep the regulations as they are (16% of respondents), opinions that ice fishing has been detrimental to the fishery (11% of respondents), and concern over increased mortality rates during the catch-and-release season (5% of respondents).
“There appears to be broad public support for increasing angling opportunity at Henrys Lake,” says Fisheries Manager Brett High. “Our biological surveys have consistently indicated that trout populations could withstand additional fishing pressure without adversely affecting population abundances or fish size.”