My line began to go around the eight-inch hole in the ice that was about five inches thick, but the flimsy rod tip didn’t budge. When I raised the rod, I felt a bit of resistance, so I stuck the hook into the heavy fish. There wasn’t much of a struggle until I got him closer to the hole as the six pound hybrid pulled away from the hole until he finally got tired and I was able to slide him down the hole. Then it 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 newly formed ice covering the lake. Henrys Lake froze over on November 10, and by Saturday the ice was thick enough for some fishermen to venture across it. Social media was abuzz with photos of their successes and ice anglers began drooling and dreaming of the trophies at the end of their line on short rods.
The three of us landed about 30 fish in four hours of fishing with several six to seven pound hybrids with a brook trout. We found that the bite was very light and most fish were caught “dead” as the fish were not responding to jigging for whatever reason. We had to watch our lines for bites. Most were caught on flashy white hooks with a minnow on the tip or a piece of suckling pig meat with a flavored corn kernel added. Krill flavored corn/shrimp oil seemed to be the key ingredient for us.
On Wednesday my rock hunting buddy 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 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 an inch on top of the seven inches of ice near the Frome County boat ramp. There are not many parking areas around the lake. As of Wednesday, the county boat dock hasn’t been cleaned up, Henrys Lake State Park is locked, the Stump Hole parking lot only holds four or five vehicles, construction is underway in the Cliff area, and most The Private property has been published. We parked at the county pier and walked across the ice towards Staley Springs to get away from a large group of fishermen.
We found that the fishing was best between 8 and 10 in the morning and then we were back to good fishing around 1 in the afternoon. they begin to break down, which depletes the amount of oxygen in the water. This causes the fish to go into a hibernation stage.
The Drift Lodge store in Aspen Ridge is open and has ice fishing tackle available, but most importantly they have up-to-date information on parking areas and road conditions around the lake. You can call them at (208) 558-0152.
As we were leaving 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 fishermen, Lucas Donaldson, a fishing guide in Wyoming, rushed to fight the fish. After five minutes, he froze a very large hybrid and after a couple of photos, he slid the pig down the hole for someone else to enjoy.
The “not so good day of fishing” had just turned into a great day for him and it made the long drive from Jackson worth it. “I might as well come over and fish in Idaho since Jackson Lake is still a month and a half away from freezing,” was his reply as I left.
Stay safe on the roads as large herds of elk and deer cross Highway 20 from Ashton Hill to Last Chance. Some of them have already been hit and killed, just drive carefully. Have a great Thanksgiving!