News Updates

North Fremont High School Grant

January 2019

The Henrys Lake Foundation recently presented a $2000 grant to North Fremont High School for use in their FFA Aquaculture program. In a Statement from the Henrys Lake Foundation. We are very pleased to work with the faculty, staff and students of North Fremont High School. Henrys Lake Foundation looks at this partnership as an opportunity to help the Aquaculture program not only with some financial support but by being able to share our many years of experience and knowledge to advance the learning opportunities of the students. By supporting programs such as this, the benefits to the Henrys Lake fishery are immediately recognizable. We are dedicated to see that we can develop the interest of local students to become professionals in the field. Also, to see that the riparian habits of the tributaries are protected and spend considerable time and monies for fencing the tributary streams, screening the irrigation diversions, improving culverts, hardening stream bottoms where cattle water and planting willows. They can now support a growing population of adfluvial fish and more readily serve as nurseries for developing fry. In addition to our natural production project work, we have projects in hatchery production, fisheries management and water quality.

Island Park Welcomes New Henrys Lake Fisheries Biologist (reprint from summer 2018)

November 2018

The Henrys Lake Hatchery has a new Henrys Lake Fisheries Biologist, Jennifer Vincent. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game hosted approximately 75 people Friday night at the Hatchery facility on Henrys Lake, to meet Jenn and talk fishing. Henrys Lake Foundation and the Drift Lodge helped with the burgers and hot dog dinner including home-made sides and desserts. Jenn will be responsible for collecting research data on fish and helping develop priorities for various fisheries projects. She will provide information about fish resources, regulations and policies to the public; analyze habitat quality and recommend and implement projects to improve fish habitat, including working with landowners who have streams on their property and want to improve them for fish. Basically, what this all means is she will continue the Hatchery’s efforts to improve fish habitat around Henrys Lake. Jenn says, “I am really enjoying being up at Henrys Lake and I look forward to continuing to work with landowners and the Henrys Lake Foundation to improve fishing at Henrys Lake.” Before coming to Island Park, Jenn was a Fisheries Biologist in Ontario, Canada, and she has also worked previously with Idaho Fish and Game, as well as the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. She earned her Master’s degree at Trent University in Canada and her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Richard Hodge, VP of Henrys Lake Foundation, said, “We have partnered with Fish and Game and the Henrys Lake Hatchery for many years to improve fishing on Henrys Lake. We welcome Jenn to Island Park and we look forward to working with her and continuing our partnership with Fish and Game on fish habitat improvement projects throughout the lake and its tributaries for years to come.”

BLM seeks public input on Henry’s Lake recreation improvements

October 2018

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho— The Bureau of Land Management Idaho Falls District is requesting public input on plans for additional recreational access and opportunities on the western and eastern shores of Henry’s Lake. Fremont County submitted a proposal to BLM to expand Bill Frome Park, located on the northwest shore of Henry’s Lake. As part of a holistic approach to the development, the BLM is also considering how to develop and/or manage public land areas along the lake’s south shore. “Public input is key at this juncture,” said Jeremy Casterson, Upper Snake Field Manager. “We need assistance from individuals who recreate in that area to help determine how things should proceed.” As part of the proposal, the BLM has developed several alternatives for both Frome Park and the South Shore. Maps of all eight proposals (Frome Park alternatives A, B, C, D and South Shore alternatives A, B, C, D) and descriptions are available online for public review and comment at the Dept. of the Interior, BLM website: Hard copies are also available at the Upper Snake Field Office located at 1405 Hollipark Dr. Idaho Falls, Idaho 83401. Henry’s Lake is located in the mountains of southeast Idaho, a short half hour from West Yellowstone. This shallow alpine lake has premier fishing and other recreational opportunities— including camping, hiking and wildlife viewing— in close proximity to traditional working farms and ranches. To ensure your comments are included, please provide your responses no later than November 19, 2018. For questions or for more information on the proposal, please contact Monica Zimmerman, Upper Snake Field Office recreation planner at 208-524-7543 or

18-Class II-030 Public Hearing

October 2018

Oct 18, 2018 Mr. Jeff Patlovich Island Park City Planning and Zoning Administrator RE: 18-Class II-030 Public Hearing for Ralph and Vicki Andrus at 5219 N. Hwy 20, Island Park Idaho for a 25 ft. variance from the required 75 ft., setback from a body of water. Dear Mr. Patlovich: I am writing to the P and Z Commission to request denial of the requested reduction in setback on behalf of the Henrys Lake Foundation Board of Directors. This property has been a long standing conservation concern for IDFG, Henrys Lake Foundation(HLF), locally active non-profit conservation organizations and local neighboring ranchers due to its location containing a significant wetland, ponds and critical portions of Howard Creek . This area is a Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout(YCT) spawning creek, and the Henrys Lake area and its tributaries are the only location in the State of Idaho that produces naturally spawned YCT. These fish spawn in Howard Creek just above the ponds, and the wetland is a critical nursery for young fry. Although a relatively small production, it’s a valuable asset to the fishery and the State. In 2017, Howard Creek was the best producer of YCT fry than any other tributary of the lake. In years past The Nature Conservancy (TNC) invested funds to provide for an improved culvert under the access road for the previous owner in order to improve passage for spawning YCTs. This resulted in improved spawning numbers returning to the lake. A neighboring rancher attempted to purchase the property outright to prevent any disturbance of the habitat. Another neighboring rancher denied an access easement to reduce the possibility of disturbance of the habitat. We are requesting that the P and Z Commission deny the request of the current owner for a variance from the 75 ft. setback requirement. Setbacks from bodies of water are in place for good reason: to protect bodies of water from disturbance due to development. This is a critical wetland that is very productive for native fish. It deserves protection. The previous owner was denied setback reductions of this magnitude in the past. It appears that the planned development is too large for the buildable portion of the lot. The majority of the property is wetland, not suitable for this type of development, and known to the owner when the land was purchased. The buildable portion will not support a structure of this large size with associated driveways, parking, etc. We appreciate the opportunity to make a public comment on this item of interest in our community. HLF hopes you will consider the concerns we have raised and deny this request. Phil Barker, Past President HLF Board Richard Hodge, Acting President HLF Board Mary Van Fleet, Projects Manager HLF Board

Dan Garren begins job as regional supervisor for Fish and Game in Pocatello

October 2018

As printed in the Post Register - Dan Garren recently took over as supervisor for the Southeast Region of Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Garren, who’s based at the regional office in Pocatello, has more than 25 years of experience in Fish and Game agencies from three different states. However, he said he is excited to be a regional supervisor in Idaho, a state whose citizens, he said, are highly engaged with Fish and Game. “Essentially we’re trying to provide opportunities for recreation,” Garren said. “And when you have an active and engaged sporting public, you just know that people appreciate the opportunities that you’re providing out there. I would 10 times rather have an active pubic than one that’s kind of disengaged from the resource.” As regional supervisor, Garren oversees all management programs within his region. “Basically everything that Fish and Game is doing falls under the responsibility of the regional supervisor.” Garren previously served as regional fisheries manager for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game in Idaho Falls. And though the Southeast Region is, as any other region, often buzzing with activity, Garren said he plans to spend his first few weeks on the job learning. “I certainly didn’t come in with an agenda,” he said. “I look at my role right now as just trying to learn. I’m in a learning phase right now trying to get up to speed on what’s historically been done and where we want to go in the future.” But Garren already has shown interest in some of the region’s activities. He was one of the voices that expressed concern over Pocatello’s Wildlife Feeding Ordinance, which was recently proposed to the Pocatello City Council by the Urban Wildlife Task Force. The council agreed to further discuss the ordinance during a work study session, but the ordinance was pulled from the agenda after Garren, among others, took issue with the complicated prospect of enforcement of the ordinance. Garren said that, though Fish and Game serves as a technical adviser to the task force, the future of the ordinance was primarily up to the members of the task force themselves. “We can provide the science behind different management options to the technical committee, but they’re really the drivers behind this,” Garren said. “And they’re the ones that need to work with city council to get an appropriate rule in place that the city council buys off on and that meets the objectives of the technical group.” For the most part, though, Garren said he is still learning the ropes of the region. “I think the challenge for me is going to be getting up to speed on the issues as fast as they’re coming at us,” he said. “You come in to work thinking that you’re going to be working on a specific topic, and the reality is that you’re probably going to get something you weren’t even expecting. The diversity is pretty substantial, and I enjoy that.” He added that he has also enjoyed working with the region’s staff, who he said have been instrumental in helping him adjust to his new position. “The exciting part is walking into a region where the staff is engaged and knowledgeable about the issues and willing to work with the public,” Garren said. “I’ve been really impressed with the quality of the staff and their engagement.” Overall, Garren said he looks forward to interacting with “these resources and these customers” in his new role and asked that the public be open. “I’d love to hear from people,” he said. “I’d love to hear thoughts and concerns about our programs as a whole and get a better understanding of what our public wants.”

Water Quality Monitoring - $11,000 funded by HLF

September 2018

Excerpts from IDFG Fisheries Biologist, Jennifer Vincent's Quarterly Report - The lower than expected trout in the gill nets this year suggests trout may have experienced a higher than normal mortality rate over the last few years. Potential factor(s) limiting trout production in the lake may be temperature and oxygen. However, limited information exists on water quality in the lake. As many of you may know the IDFG has partnered with the Henrys Fork Foundation, the Henrys Lake Foundation and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality to implement a new sampling program to monitor water quality in Henrys Lake. Our first sampling date was August 7th and we have been out each week since. What data are we collecting? We take water samples, zooplankton samples and collect water quality measurements at six different sampling locations. During the winter our water quality sampling equipment will remain deployed under the ice at one of our sampling locations allowing us to collect continuous water quality information throughout the winter. Water samples will be analyzed for total Nitrogen and total Phosphorus concentrations. We also collect data on dissolved oxygen (DO), temperature, conductivity (a measure of how much “stuff” is in the water column), and algal production (tied to the cyanobacteria blooms we’ve observed in recent years) as well as measuring water clarity. We collect zooplankton on a bi-weekly basis. Our goal here is to gather information on the availability of zooplankton, which is used as a food source for Trout. This is important as we edge closer to the end of September, when we stock all our fish. Along with our partners, we will be evaluating our water quality monitoring program this winter to ensure we are collecting the appropriate data to monitor water quality and its impact on trout. More information regarding this project along with other current activities of the IDFG regarding Henrys Lake can be found at this PDF.

2016 HLF Fund Raiser Friday July 1

March 2016

Fellow members - I am happy to announce that the HLF Dinner and Fundraiser will be on Friday July 1 at Meadow Vue Ranch. Cody and the team at Meadow Vue really put on a nice event for us last year. This year's event will be a private HLF event with live music but without the rodeo. Mary Van Fleet and Damon Keen will be available to discuss and answer any questions you may have regarding our current and future projects and their funding although a formal presentation is not planned. We have some very exciting things in the works that should have a significant beneficial impact on the fishery habitat. Most of our project partners will be attendance to also answer questions. We plan on having HLF shirts and hats available for purchase along with several raffle and live auction items. The auction items will include our signature HLF rod and reel along with the HLF belt buckle. As always it is your generosity that allows us to pursue the incredible projects that we have been able to accomplish since the foundation was formed in 1982. Although we will be able to process credit card payments, cash or check will simplify the check-out and donation process considerably, thank you. Festivities will start at 5:30 PM with a happy hour and informal project discussions until 6:30 PM. Dinner will consist of BBQ steak, chicken, potatoes, baked beans, salad bar and a peach cobbler dessert. Several members have already come forward to donate the beer and wine so happy hour should be a lot fun. Those refreshments are included in the $27 ticket price per person. Reservations are required since attendance will be limited. Reservations and payment for dinner will be handled directly by Meadow Vue Ranch. They can be reached at either 208-558-7411 or Please tell them that you are an HLF member in order to receive the $27 discounted ticket price. I suggest that you make your reservations at your earliest possible convenience. Additional information regarding the location of Meadow Vue Ranch, the rodeo and BBQ can be found at

2015 HLF Dinner and Fundraiser

June 2015

Fellow members - I am happy to announce that the HLF Dinner and Fundraiser will be on Wednesday July 1 at Meadow Vue Ranch. Cody and the team at Meadow Vue really put on a nice event. Although this will not be a private HLF event I expect the vast majority of folks there that night to be HLF members and their guests. I know many of you have enjoyed the Meadow Vue rodeo and BBQ over the years and this is a great way to enjoy that along with the company of other members. Damon Keen and I will be available to discuss and answer any questions you may have regarding our current and future projects and their funding although a formal presentation is not planned. We have some very exciting things in the works that should have a significant beneficial impact on the fishery habitat. Most of our partners will be attendance to also answer questions. We plan on having HLF shirts and hats available for purchase along with several raffle and live auction items. The auction items will include our signature HLF rod and reel along with the HLF belt buckle. As always it is your generosity that allows us to pursue the incredible projects that we have been able to accomplish since 1982. Although we will be able to process credit card payments, cash or check will simplify the check-out and donation process considerably, thank you. Festivities will start at 5:30 PM with a happy hour and informal project discussions until 7 PM. The rodeo will start at 7 PM and dinner will be served at 8 PM. Dinner will consist of BBQ steak, chicken, potatoes, baked beans, salad bar and a peach cobbler dessert. Several members have already come forward to donate the beer and wine so happy hour should be a lot fun. Those refreshments are included in the $27 ticket price per person. Reservations are required since attendance will be limited. Reservations and payment for dinner will be handled directly by Meadow Vue Ranch. They can be reached at either 208-558-7411 or Please tell them that you are an HLF member in order to receive the $27 discounted ticket price. I suggest that you make your reservations at your earliest possible convenience. Additional information regarding the location of Meadow Vue Ranch, the rodeo and BBQ can be found at

IDFG 3-year Fishing Regulation Cycle Scoping Process

February 2015

The HLF board recently provided input to the IDFG to curtail the ice fishing season and close the tributaries for the next 3 years. We know that this may not be a unanimous request but given the feedback that we have received it certainly appears to represent the majority of our membership. It is important that we take this opportunity to respond to the IDFG since it sets the fishing regulations for the following 3 years. We encourage everyone who would like to offer their opinion or perspective to contact either Damon Keen or Dan Garren directly. You may recall that the decision to create an ice fishing season was first enacted in 2010. Since that time many anglers have experienced a decline in the number and size of the large hybrid trout. Although there is not absolute proof that the ice fishing has led to the decline in the big hybrids, the foundation board believes that it is contrary to our mission to protect and enhance the fishery of Henrys Lake. After all, Henrys Lake is considered to be a trophy fishery and a fishery like Island Park reservoir may be better suited for ice fishing. We believe that a 3-year hiatus in ice fishing may lead to an increase in larger fish and at a minimum provide the IDFG with another level of data for analysis. Again, we welcome everyone’s input on this very important request.

Invasive Species Update

August 2013

On Thursday August 15, 2013 an outreach program was held for water preservation and protection at Henrys Lake. It was hosted by Bryce Fowler from the Fremont County Weed Control department. Many other key organizations also attended, including Phil Barker and Larry Mcmillan from the Henry’s lake foundation. It was an excellent opportunity to get up to speed on what it takes to protect our water resources and visit with the greatest of authorities on the issues. As you are all aware water is the single most important resource we have in Idaho. It is not only the key component to establishing and maintaining agriculture it is also brings in millions of dollars in recreation. It was an excellent opportunity for the foundation to integrate into the aquatic protection arena as well as learn what is being done to protect this valuable resource and how to identify the desired aquatic ecosystem players and how to determine the possible invaders. One of the single most authoritative figures in aquatic invasives management - Professor William (Bill) Haller from the University of Florida was in attendance. Bill was originally brought to Idaho many years ago to help Idaho build protocol for reducing the impacts of Eurasian water milfoil as well as our Invasive Species program such as the Quagga/Zebra mussle program. Bill will be traveling with Tom Woolf, Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) Aquatic Program Manager, as well as Amy Ferriter (CPS) - former Aquatic Invasive Program Coordinator for ISDA. Our local contact for help from the ISDA is Matthew Kreizenbeck. He is located in Idaho Falls. He has volunteered to review any picture of suspected invasive specie that you may find. Simply email it to him at Remember, it is incumbent upon everyone who uses any kind of watercraft or wades in our rivers and lakes to stop the spread of invasive species. Inspections can only do so much so the foundation encourages everyone to do their part.

2013 Henrys Lake Foundation Annual Dinner and Fund Raiser

June 2013

Sticking with tradition, the Henrys Lake Foundation is once again holding its annual dinner and fundraiser at the historic Union Pacific dining hall in West Yellowstone Friday on July 12th from 5:00 – 8:30 PM. This event is sure to be another fun one. This year will feature a pasta bar with lots of different toppings so everyone can combine their own choices of protein. There will also be live music and of special note there will be a casting demonstration by Bob Jacklin. Bob Jacklin has maintained the casting ponds outback of the historic dining hall for over 29 years. They just recently went through a complete refresh and look brand new. Bob will be demonstrating fly, spin and bait casting techniques from 5:30 – 6:00 PM at the ponds. The festivities are going to get started promptly at 5:00 PM with check-in and bidder registration. As guests arrive they will be able to have a glass of wine, beer or refreshment of their choosing and browse the live and silent auction items as well as purchase raffle tickets. Shortly after the casting demonstrations, dinner will get started. As dinner winds down the live auction will start. Auction items can be paid for by check, credit card or cash. There will also be foundation merchandise for sale. There are brand new Simms shirts and hats with the HLF logo. While auction results are being tabulated and the check-out process begins guests can continue to enjoy the live music and refreshments. Members of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game will also be on hand to talk about all the work that is being done on the tributaries as well as the ongoing Pelican study. As a completely volunteer organization, every dollar raised goes directly towards the foundation’s projects to enhance and protect the fishery of Henrys Lake. Reservations are recommended. Please contact Velora Ferris at 208-558-7631.

Henrys Lake Foundation Picnic a Great Success

July 2012

On Thursday July 5th the Henrys Lake Foundation held its annual picnic at the historic Union Pacific dining hall in West Yellowstone. Foundation members, friends and visitors enjoyed a BBQ pork lunch, a chance to win raffle prizes, live and silent auction items, fly tying demonstrations and casting instruction from local experts. Proceeds from the event will be used to fund fisheries habitat improvement projects that enhance the natural reproduction of the Yellowstone Cutthroat trout in Henrys Lake. Guest speakers included IDFG Regional Fisheries Biologist Jessica Buelow who discussed the significant changes in management of the lake and the reduced planting counts of Yellowstone Cutthroat trout. She also discussed the ongoing pelican study and the use of the night-vision cameras to study their feeding habits along with the installation of a wader wash station at Harriman State Park to thwart the introduction of invasive species. Fremont County Weed Control Manager Bryce Fowler also attended and discussed what his team is doing to stop the introduction of invasive species through the operation of the boat inspection stations. The highlight of the event was the presentation of the foundation’s Louis Trager Memorial Award to US Forest Service Fisheries Biologist Lee Mabey. The award is in memory of Louis Trager whose life and deeds of stewardship exemplified a commitment of time and service in selfless dedication to the preservation and enhancement of the natural habitat of the Henrys Lake Watershed. “Lee’s passion and dedication go far beyond his job responsibilities. As a fisheries biologist for the US Forest Service, his leadership of the project to replace the culverts on Duck Creek and re-route Red Rock Rd to eliminate one of the culverts was exemplary. It was Lee’s perseverance over this four-year project working with partner agencies and landowners to resolve critical issues that may have deterred others. The new culverts and rehabilitation of the stream bed have improved fish passage to miles of upstream spawning habitat on Duck Creek, a key tributary of Henrys Lake. The Henrys Lake Foundation is forever indebted to Lee, serving as a perfect example of how stewards of this incredible fishery act in extraordinary ways to protect the Yellowstone Cutthroat trout and its native spawning habitat.”

Henrys Lake Foundation Annual Picnic July 5th

June 2012

Come join us for our annual picnic at the historic dining hall in West Yellowstone MT. The event will get started around 10:30 AM and go until 2 PM. It is going to be a really fun time for everyone. We will have several expert fly tiers showing you all the local patterns along with fly casting instruction at the casting ponds out back of the dining hall. There will be a live auction as well as many items up for silent auction along with a raffle. A BBQ pork lunch will be served from 11 AM - 1 PM. Lunch tickets are $10. All proceeds go directly towards our project work to protect and enhance the fishery of Henrys Lake. If you have any items you would like to donate to the auction please contact us at 208-558-9660.

Record Project Year for the Henry’s Lake Foundation

August 2011

This year the foundation funded over $35,000 for fish passage improvement projects at Henrys Lake. This constitutes the largest single year financial commitment in the foundation’s history. Committed projects for 2011 include the installation of two new modular diversion screens on Targhee Creek and three new modular diversion screens on Duck Creek. All of these screens were designed and manufactured at the IDFG screen shop in Salmon Idaho and incorporate improved engineering for more effective maintenance free screening and fish passage. In order to maximize natural reproduction of the Yellowstone Cutthroat trout it is essential that all irrigation diversions on the key tributaries of Henrys Lake be screened, ensuring that spawning adfluvial fish and fry don’t end up in an irrigated field. The first of the two screens for Targhee Creek was installed on the Salisbury property August 22 under the direction of Jim Hardy from the IDFG. The second and largest of the Targhee screens is planned for installation upstream on the Stockon property. With an HLF commitment of $17,500, it is the largest and most complex screen funded by the Foundation to date. With these new screens, all of the diversions on Targhee Creek, the major tributary to Henrys Lake, will be screened. The first of the three Duck Creek screens planned for the Parkinson property was installed on August 23. The final two will be installed this fall. This will complete the screening of all diversions on this important tributary from Red Rock Road to the lake. The final HLF sponsored project for 2011 will be the removal of the double barrel culvert on Duck Creek on the Pearson property commensurate with the rerouting of Red Rock Road. This will return this section of Duck Creek to its natural pathway. This will be the last of the four culverts replaced or removed at Red Rock Road over the past two years. Led by Lee Mabey of the U.S. Forest Service, this work on Red Rock road will eventually provide unobstructed passage for spawning fish to six miles of Duck Creek and its tributaries. As stated by Phil Barker, President of the Henrys Lake Foundation, “The foundation is extremely appreciative of the past support of its members and the community and takes great pride in its stewardship of the Henrys Lake fishery and positive results of its past efforts. It is only with the contributions and active involvement of our members, partners and community that the foundation can be successful. In that regard the foundation is continually seeking input of possible future projects that may provide benefit to the fishery and protection of Henrys Lake and the Yellowstone Cutthroat trout. If you are interested in joining the foundation, contributing as a volunteer or are aware of any opportunities that would enhance the natural reproduction of the Yellowstone Cutthroat trout, advance the Henrys Lake fishery, improve riparian habitat or otherwise protect the unique environment of Henrys Lake please contact the foundation at with your ideas.”

Friday July 1 HLF Dinner Dance

May 2011

The annual Henrys Lake Foundation Dinner/Dance is going to be held Friday, July 1, at the historic Union Pacific Dining Hall in West Yellowstone from 5-8:30 PM. The cost is $50 for HLF members and $60 for non-HLF members. The event will again be catered by Julia Steinbach and High Altitude Catering with a choice of either a meat or fish entrée. For a change of pace, a two man group from Bozeman and a caller will help us all square dance. They are accustomed to working with groups like ours who may not know how to square dance, they will take it slow and teach us the moves. It should be a really fun time. In lieu of live and silent auctions, there will be raffle and door prizes that include some great California wines, custom tied flies, custom made fly boxes, the HLF signature fly rod, and Christina Armand jewelry. It is a great opportunity for everyone to learn about the fishery habitat improvement projects of the foundation along with the new fishing regulations that Idaho Fish and Game implemented January 1st. We will have fish and game officers present; have a video to highlight the major projects the foundation funded in conjunction with our major partners, Idaho Fish and Game and the US Forest Service. It is a great opportunity to mingle with other guests and find out how you can get involved in helping to preserve and enhance the fishery of Henrys Lake.

New Year's Day Ice Fishing Report by Bob Bartsch

January 2011

Our family has for many years come to Island Park for the holidays and this season was no exception. Considering the amount of concern and discussion over the ice fishing season changes I felt that it might be helpful and important to have a past HLF Director as a first-hand observer. I have done a small amount of ice fishing in Colorado in the past but really had no pre-conceived ideas of what I might see on Henrys that day. Some of my family had difficulty with car batteries, so I reached the Lake somewhat late, about 10:30 and met Damon at his house just after he did a 9AM angler count at and some interviews at Staley’s. We followed a protocol that the F&G established that called for an angler count at noon and then 4PM. We interviewed anglers before lunch and then from about 2PM until 4PM. Carolyn and Damon provided a great lunch for the two enforcement men, Bill Schiess, a friend, and myself which allowed everyone to compare morning notes and observations. 1. How many fisherman were there? My estimate: somewhat over 300, maybe 325 maximum. Generally, they were in groups of 2-5, mostly men, but some women. I saw 3 families on the ice with children-most of the kids were playing, building snow forts and such. I suspect that the weather forecast discouraged the numbers of fishermen down from the larger crowd expected. The forecast for New Year’s morn was -26 degrees. At 6 PM on the 31st the temperature at my house was -6 already, but the skies clouded over and by 8PM the temperature had risen to +6 degrees. Most of Jan. 1 on the lake was clear with little wind until about 3PM. The temperature hovered from maybe -3 to +6 on the lake. When the wind started people left in droves. I was really surprised that folks were actually having fun and not freezing-as I was with my desert thermo-regulatory system. Then, again, Damon was perfectly comfortable at these temps also. 2. Where were they fishing? Maybe 3 groups could be seen through binoculars across the lake at the State campground and another 3 near the cliffs. These people must have gotten in via snowmobile as there was little road access available. The snow was up to 2 feet deep. The greatest congregation of fishermen was near the hatchery, followed by the County dock area, Wild Rose and finally Staleys. There were four groups fishing near Pin-tail point where the road to Staley’s is closest to the lake. I think these guys only caught and kept one fish; a 20” brookie. 3. Where did they park their cars? Mostly they tried to get off the main roads into the hatchery lot or the County. We saw a few Sheriff citation stickers on windshields of cars parked on the main road at Staley’s and near the Hatchery but were not sure if they were only warnings. We spoke to a number of fishermen parked by Staley’s where there was a well-worn path over private property to the lake. Some of the men Damon warned about trespass moved on to the County. Parking and trespass may be an issue, but falls in the domain of the Sheriff. 4. Did I see any infractions of the fishing rules? Damon and I came upon three men who had four fish. When Damon asked who caught what, one man came forth and said something to the effect, “Oh, I caught two and I need to stop fishing don’t I?” He pulled his lines from the holes he had in the ice. Damon explained the infraction as a warning. This was the single infraction that we saw. Most fishermen had no fish and most groups only had one or two fish. The catch rate was very small. Everyone we talked with was friendly and cooperative. One or two mentioned that the enforcement was out ‘in force’ that day. Several showed their licenses to Damon even though he had not asked to see them. 5. What were my impressions on the fish I saw harvested? A. The YCT I saw were nearly all 18 inches or larger. The average according to the measurements made was 19.2 inches and 20% were slightly larger than 20”. It was interesting that there were virtually no YCT caught or kept under 16”. I believe this was no anomaly of keeping larger fish and replacing smaller-earlier caught fish. People caught too few fish for this slight of hand to work. Most fishermen even in the summer do not catch many smaller fish for some reason. The important point here is that YCT generally do not live past their fourth year and, most that do live to four, die before the next summer. In the population of YCT there are only rare 5 year olds. Therefore, nearly all of the 172 harvested YCT would have died over the remainder of this winter and would not be available for fishermen to catch next season anyway. B. Few hybrids were in the creel-I was surprised how few we measured. C. There seemed to be a bias for brook trout in the creel-several mentioned that they felt they were better tasting. I saw no male brookies; only the females that represent the stocked sterile fish that the F&G plant. The largest I saw was a hair over 20”. 5. Could I characterize the fishermen? A. Most were very well equipped and pulled sleds out on the ice with their equipment. My impression was that these were confirmed ice fishers who enjoy a specialized fishing nitch. Maybe about 45-50% of the groups had tents on the ice. Many had heaters. Nearly everyone used those really short rods and most fishermen were using small meal worms or grubs that were on a hook just below a jig of some sort. They stood over the hole moving the rod up and down to impart action. Those with tents could see really well into the water and were able to see the take and set the hook in the upper lip of the fish. Only a handful were on snowmobiles or ATVs. The ice was very rough, wash boarded with drifts and even difficult to walk over. A snowmobile would have been a kidney-buster. How the two young men that were doing the enforcement survived their day on their snowmobiles, I do not know-had to be age related. B. It seemed that a few very knowledgeable ice fishers caught the lion’s share of the fish and most of these people released most or all of their catch. C. We saw very little abuse of alcohol and I saw no rubbish on the ice or in the parking areas. The exception was a man so drunk that when he emerged from his tent, he nearly fell on Damon to catch his balance. Summary of the day on Henrys. First, I believe this is a form of fishing that is exactly equal to the various other niche-types in the Yellowstone area seen in the summer: dry fly fishing on rivers or lakes, nymph fishingin rivers or lakes, spin casting, bait fishing, fishing from boats, tubes or rafts or wade fishing. The people we saw were well equipped by and large and really enjoyed their time on the ice. Killing fish was minor issue of those we saw on January 1; the release rate was 77.6%. People were having fun out on the lake that day. These are not folks from Arizona, California or other warm climes. They are mostly residents of Eastern Idaho who probably do a lot of ice fishing every winter-just like some people do across the upper mid-west. Henrys will come to represent for them a very special lake for ice fishing just as it has for many fishermen in the summer months. Most of the fish, the YCT, that were kept were at the end of their lives and would not be available to be caught next season. This fact negates any impact on the population of YCT in the lake. Is it better to have ice fishermen harvest these fish or to allow them to die and decompose on the lake bottom? I asked a number of groups about their knowledge of HLF. Hardly anyone I talked to even knew there was a Henrys Lake Foundation. They were impressed that we work with the F&G for the improvement of the watershed. These 300 some odd fishermen represent a population of possible HLF members. We need to have volunteers with membership forms out on the ice this coming fall and try to recruit these potential members.

HLF Board Suspends Future IDFG Project Funds

December 2010

In the quarterly IDFG commissioner’s meeting in Jerome, Idaho, on November 17-18, the commissioners voted unanimously to approve the extension of the fishing season at Henrys Lake thru January 1. Along with the other IDFG proposals presented and approved all regulation changes will go into affect starting January 1, 2011 so the first extended ice fishing season will be December 2011 through January 1, 2012. Two other approved regulation changes that will directly affect us are 1) The brook trout bag limit on Henrys Lake tributaries was changed to 25 with only 2 brook trout over 16”, and 2) The season on the Henrys Lake tributaries was extended from July 1 through March 31 with catch-and-release for cutthroat trout throughout the entire season. As many of you know, we have actively lobbied to stop the season extension ever since we first heard about it in July 2009. Almost all of you voted unanimously in the fall 2009 newsletter survey to not extend the season and instead shorten it to the end of October as it was up until 2007. Our argument was that as the premier trophy fishing lake in the Western U.S. and as the last bastion of the Yellowstone Cutthroat trout, Henrys Lake was deserving of special regulations to preserve that status. While the Foundation has never lobbied against any type of fishing, it is our view that Henrys Lake is a unique and fragile fishery and was due special treatment and that a season extension exposed the lake to inordinate trophy harvest and mortality by ice fishermen, particularly when nearby Island Park Reservoir provides ample ice fishing opportunity. In other words, we have a philosophical objection to the IDFG increasingly treating Henrys Lake as a put-and-take fishery and more fully utilizing the resource while we envision it as a trophy summer sports fishery that needs to be protected. HLF Director Steve Snipper and I were both in attendance at the meeting to offer our testimony. In addition, many Henrys Lake anglers in attendance also spoke out against the season extension for the same reasons. Everyone advocated that the resource should be protected and that further liberalization of the regulations puts the fishery at even greater risk. In opposition, the IDFG justified the season extension based upon fish population statistics claiming that additional harvest by ice fishermen will not adversely affect the fishery. In addition, they presented survey results that showed the majority of randomly surveyed anglers favored an extended season. Interestingly, our survey opinions were largely dismissed as being biased. Although the commissioners appreciated all the impassioned comments, they valued the biologic facts over our social and philosophical concerns. To say the least we are disappointed. Our mission to protect and enhance the fishery at Henrys Lake remains unchanged but we face a significant challenge with the IDFG continuing to liberalize the regulations in support of increased angler opportunity and simplification of the regulations - two of their stated strategic goals. Just as the IDFG extended the season in 2007 and then again this year, they may do it again in future years. We have no reassurance that they won’t and even told us so at the November meeting. So where do we go from here. The HLF directors have voted unanimously to suspend funding of all future IDFG projects until further notice. The Board first suspended funding in October once we confirmed that the IDFG had finalized their proposal and was awaiting the vote of the commissioners. Although we have maintained a strong partnership with the IDFG for the last 29 years, it was too optimistic to think that our social and philosophical arguments would cause them to not extend the season. I know they considered the consequences of losing our support when the season extension was first proposed but it was still not enough to stop them. Somewhat ironically they actually considered this a compromise since one of their proposals was to extend the season through the end of January. Given the IDFG’s liberalization of the regulations on Henrys Lake both now and probably again in the future, the foundation needs to rethink its almost exclusive partnership with them. Despite an excellent historic working relationship with IDFG Regional Biologist Damon Keen, the foundation will now focus on projects and funding opportunities that are not solely reliant upon the IDFG but still maintain our mission to protect and enhance the Henrys Lake fishery.

July 3rd HLF Fundraiser and Dinner

July 2010

The foundation celebrated its 29th anniversary this July 3rd with a fun evening of great food, wine and music in the Union Pacific Dining Hall in West Yellowstone. This is the first time that we have held the event indoors and it was a great success. Over 130 guests attended and participated in the celebration and fundraising. The dining hall was lively with the sound of laughter, conversation, and cowboy genre music of the Fall River Boys. Julia Steinbach and the High Altitude Catering team served a great dinner with a choice of steak and cod along with assorted appetizers. The tables were beautifully decorated with flower arrangements and festive red, white and blue table linens commemorating the 4th of July holiday weekend. Several wines from Spain and California were featured. Auctioneer, Red Ferris, lead the live auction of over 20 items, including guided fishing trips on Henrys Lake, Box Canyon, Madison River, Silver Creek, Yellowstone Park, and Sheridan Lake, vacations in Kona, Puerto Vallarta and Scottsdale, fish mounts by Mellissa Buehler and Mike Jones and western art by local artists. In addition over 90 items were sold in the silent auction. The raffle items and door prizes added to the night’s festivities. Some of the items unique to the HLF auction this year were the HLF signature fly rod, his and her HLF silver belt buckles, the Henrys Lake trio of fish painting by Mimi Matsuda, custom wood fly boxes created by David Reese and some very tasty Doris Woodall chocolates. As a completely volunteer organization 100% of the net proceeds raised at the event go directly to the funding of the foundation’s projects to enhance and protect the Henrys Lake fishery. Many thanks to the foundation members, local merchants and supporters who made the event so successful. Because of the unanimous positive feedback from guests, the foundation has already reserved the UP Dining Hall and the caterer for next year. Please mark your 2011 calendars for July 2, Saturday, when we will host the next dinner and fundraiser for the foundation.

Single Fundraising Event Planned for 2010

November 2009

On Saturday July 3rd, 2010 at 5:00 PM, the Henrys Lake Foundation will hold a fundraiser at the Yellowstone Historic Center in West Yellowstone, Montana. At the last board meeting, it was decided that the picnic and patron’s dinner fundraisers be combined into a single event and that the event should be held indoors to avoid the unfortunate weather issues that impacted both events this year. Current plans call for a steak or salmon entrée and a great selection of side dishes and dessert. There may also be a change in the live music but that decision is still pending. The event will feature a live auction as well as a silent auction. As with all the HLF fund raising events the monies raised will go directly to our sponsored projects to protect and enhance the Henrys Lake fishery.

HLF Patron's Dinner a Success

August 2009

Well the weather didn’t cooperate at all; it was rainy and windy all afternoon for the Henrys Lake Foundation Patron’s dinner on August 8th. The wind blew from the North over Raynold’s Pass directly down onto Pintail Point the site of the event at Henrys Lake. There were a couple of major rain downpours and even a short hailstorm that kept everyone huddled under the large tent. Nonetheless, the brave soles that endured the relentless adverse weather still had a lot of fun. There was some great authentic chuck wagon food with BBQ beef, country style pork ribs, chicken, roasted vegetables, home-style biscuits, peach cobbler and apple crisp. The Fall River Boys provided some excellent cowboy genre music and the wine was flowing freely. The Zinfandel and Chardonnay wines from Dutcher Crossing were quite the treat and made the weather just a bit more bearable. The live auction was very successful and included a first-ever Mimi Matsuda painting on wood of the three Henrys Lake game fishes, vacation getaways in Mexico and Hawaii, and a signature HLF Sage fly rod and Hatch fly reel. Everyone was very generous in bidding and the monies raised ensure that the foundation will be able to successfully conduct all of its project work for 2009. Last year we hit bad weather for the event in the later part of August, then after moving it to earlier in August this year the weather was bad yet again so the foundation is seeking an indoor venue for next year’s event. If anyone has any suggestions on a location that would be appropriate, please contact the foundation at or 208-558-9660.

July 4th Henrys Lake Foundation Day a Great Success!

July 2009

Like any outdoor event, you never know what Mother Nature is going to do. Just after the big tent was setup late Friday it blew and rained hard and then again on Saturday just as everyone was packing up to leave it blew and rained even harder. So we got lucky, it was nice and sunny for the event! Over 200 people turned out. The volunteer staff did an incredible job getting all the auction items displayed, cataloged and checked-out. Tumbleweed Camp Grub had their authentic chuck wagon set up and started cooking early in the morning. Along with the cowboy coffee there were fresh cinnamon rolls and breads generously donated by Steve from the Henry’s Fork Landing at Mack’s. Presentations included Damon Keen, the resident IDFG fisheries biologist, speaking about all the efforts to preserve and enhance the fishery. Lee Mabey from the US Forest Service spoke about the big project to replace the culverts for Duck Creek on Red Rock Road, four in all. Bryce Fowler from Fremont County Weed Control spoke about the boat washes and efforts to prevent the introduction of invasion species into the lake. The 2009 Louis Trager memorial award for outstanding contribution was presented to Damon Keen. A large wooden board highlighting all the current project efforts of the foundation was displayed so that all the attendees could see the direct benefits of the monies being raised. Each of the projects was discussed and questions answered. Over $35,000 has been committed by the foundation to projects this year. There were a number of great items donated by the membership, many boxes of flies and even an old Hardy Perfect reel donated by Doug Cornett in memory of his father Milan who passed away last year. One interesting late donation was an aluminum row boat and oars won by Rene Harrop. Lucky raffle winners took home an Outcast pontoon boat, Weber Gas BBQ and RIO Fly lines. Thanks to all our sponsors for their donations, and to the attendees for their generosity in supporting our cause. Special thanks go out to Idaho Parks and Recreation for the use of the Henrys Lake Park and facilities for our event. I look forward to seeing everyone again next year.

Remembering the Big One

June 2009

Only two years ago I was immersed in the hustle and bustle of Silicon Valley in northern California, working as a software company executive traveling the world building large scale computer applications. With the corporate life now behind me, I can enjoy the beauty and grandeur of Henrys Lake and the surrounding area each and every day. The view of the lake and the centennials every morning gives me quite a different perspective, one that is built upon history, people, and appreciation for this beautiful environment. Certainly not something I would have otherwise anticipated years ago in the corporate world. As I think about the history of the Henrys Lake Foundation and the yeoman’s efforts of this entirely volunteer organization and what it has accomplished over its 27 year history, I am drawn by a feeling of compassion, respect, and motivation. The goals set out by our founders were broad and comprehensive. They understood the importance of what needed to be protected so that future generations could enjoy the fishery. Not surprisingly the organization’s membership is passionate about these same goals. The Henrys Lake Foundation is guided by a board of directors with incredibly diverse backgrounds. They each bring their own unique perspective of priorities, benefits and ultimately stewardship of this incredible fishery. It is their collective input and wisdom that guides our project prioritization and funding. It is very much a team effort with a balanced focus on natural production, hatchery production, water quality and fishery management. Much of what is accomplished each year by the HLF goes un-noticed by the majority of people who enjoy the fishery. Many folks have never even heard about us but as we continue to drive awareness it is important that our fund raising efforts adequately support our project endeavors. The Henrys Lake Foundation Day on the 4th of July at the Henrys Lake State Park is one such event that is critical to our fund raising efforts. It is the generosity and support of the local merchants who make this event possible. I invite everyone to come out and meet the team and learn about what they can do to contribute to this great organization. One of the greatest things about the Henrys Lake Foundation is our partnerships with the related local, state and federal agencies. These partnerships make it possible for the foundation to leverage our monies raised with co-funding by these agencies. Central to driving these agreements is the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. It is with the incredible efforts of individuals like Damon Keen, our resident fisheries biologist, that make our stewardship goals achievable. We are forever indebted to Damon and his team at the IDFG. When you are out on the lake trying to catch the big one, think about us. Realize that the big one is a possibility because of the efforts of the foundation. Hybrids are properly sterilized, protecting the native Yellowstone Cutthroat, because of the foundation. Brook trout stocking was successfully re-introduced in 2003 based upon the efforts of the foundation. The cutthroat egg take at the fish trap, over 4 million eggs annually, was made more efficient through the efforts of the foundation. Adfluvial fish migration during spawning season is enhanced through the riparian habitat improvement efforts of the foundation. All of these efforts combine to provide an incredible fishery and place of recreation to be enjoyed by all. I wish everyone a tremendous summer with great fishing days and time to enjoy the beauty of this wonderful place, a place many of us can now enjoy for the rest of lives. If you want to get involved in the foundation, please visit our website at or call 208-558-9660. I look forward to meeting everyone at the picnic on the 4th of July at the Henrys Lake State Park. Tight lines!

Henrys Lake Winter 2008 Update by Damon Keen IDFG

January 2009

As we head downhill towards spring, it is a good time to update the fishery at Henrys. With less than a month before the gates on the fish ladder are opened, all is well. I anticipate taking our hybrid spawn the last week of February - that is if the fish cooperate. Beginning the first week of March, the cutthroat spawn will commence and we will be working towards meeting our quotas. March through May we will be busy spawning, picking eggs, and shipping eyed eggs. If you are interested in seeing lots of fish, the best month is usually March. We are here 7 days a week during that timeframe and you are always welcome. If you would like to volunteer, give me a call or shoot me an email. So far, the winter, moisture and water carryover bode quite well for the summer. We will be watching the moisture gauges the next couple of months, but so far, we are in good shape. The winter dissolved oxygen levels are holding up as well and we have not needed to deploy aeration. That is always good. I have also been corresponding with a biologist in Colorado with reference to critical winter dissolved oxygen levels. It is a great resource to compare notes and I think both of us are gaining a good deal of knowledge. Ice out will see our annual gill net effort to determine our population trends of trout and non-game species. It is an all out effort, normally consisting of 8-10 nights of setting nets. We normally set a total 50 nets during that period and the data we gather is of upmost importance to the management of Henrys Lake. With the number of nets we set, our data is statistically sound and gives us the best perspective of what is going on with the fish population at Henrys. It does not end during the spring however. The winter is filled with examination and more data collection of the fish we have collected during our spring gill net sets. Age class breakdown, annual growth, condition factor (weight relative to length), species composition, and diet are just some of the data we collect. In the end, our intensive effort provides tremendous insight into the fish population at Henrys. We have a busy schedule of work plans for this summer. Several habitat projects will be completed and we will be conducting a major creel survey on Henrys. Additionally, 2009 is the end of the two year regulation cycle and we will be conducting public meetings, scoping, and taking public input for the 2010-2011 regulation packet. I also hope to personally sample the fishery this summer. I have been reading the web pages for Henrys tips and maybe I will be able to land that 10 pounder this summer. One to one correspondence is always appreciated and encouraged. If you have a question or would like to volunteer, feel free to call us at (208)558-7202 or email me at

A Busy Week for the Henrys Lake Foundation

September 2008

This past year the Henrys Lake Foundation (HLF) embarked on an aggressive plan to fund five fishery improvement projects for $30,000. All of our projects are conducted in partnership with the Idaho Department of Fish Game (IDFG) and other related agencies. The projects span natural reproduction, hatchery reproduction, fishery management and water quality. The first project of 2008 was in February when the HLF purchased a $7000 egg separator for the fish trap. The new separator has two wheels and is significantly faster than the old separator and dramatically reduces the overall person hours needed to separate live and dead eggs. The tributaries of Henrys Lake continue to receive a lot of attention ever since the inception of HLF 26 years ago. During the week of September 22nd we completed the screening of the last lateral diversions on Targhee and Howard Creeks. These were key milestones given the importance of these two tributaries. Now we can be secure in knowing that the fry and spawning fish are safe from being accidentally diverted into the grazing pastures of the ranches bordering those key tributaries. Our heartfelt thanks go out to the respective landowners, Ray Clements and partners and Tom Cole. Our project work didn’t end there. Also during the week of September 22nd, we completed stream restoration efforts on the Empey property on middle Duck Creek and Kelly Creek. The project work consisted of 4 different parts: the first was to fence the creeks running through the property so that grazing cattle do not erode the stream banks, the second was to raise the creek level below the head gate spillway on Duck Creek to improve fish passage and the third was to provide cattle watering areas by hardening a portion of each stream bottom. The Kelly Creek project work also included the installation of a culvert so ranch vehicles and cattle can cross the stream in the pasture. In conjunction with the foundation’s stream restoration efforts on lower Duck Creek and Kelly Creek completed in prior years, the entire section of Duck Creek from the lake to Red Rock road and Kelly Creek from the lake to Henrys Lake road is now protected from grazing cattle. Over the next couple years the stream banks will be naturally restored with the growth of tall grazes and willows sheltering the waters edge. The reduction in silt will expose the natural pebbles and stones in the stream bottom, providing an ideal habitat for adfluvial fish. Our heartfelt thanks go out to the landowner, Debbie Empey, for supporting our efforts. The week of September 22nd was also special in that the fencing work on Duck Creek and Kelly Creek was completed by inmates from the Idaho Department of Corrections in St. Anthony. Under the direction of IDFG personnel, Kim Ragotzkie, Barry Phillips, Nancy Olson, and Paul Franco, the inmates worked hard digging post holes and stringing fence wire. The weather cooperated nicely and although the mornings started out a little chilly the afternoons were sunny and warm. The work sites could not have been more picturesque with creeks running through golden pastures to the lake, the yellow and oranges of the aspens turning and the majestic mountains in the background. Throughout the week, the inmates were treated to lunches served by the directors of the HLF foundation. Each director took a turn preparing the lunches and serving them at the job sites. Double cheeseburgers, chili dogs, fried chicken, club sandwiches and pizza were all on the menu. To say the least, the inmates loved the lunches and looked forward the next day’s menu items. The directors took it as an opportunity to express their heartfelt thanks to the inmates for helping to improve the Henrys Lake fishery. HLF extends special thanks to the IDFG screen shop personnel from Salmon, Idaho. The team led by Jim Jones and Jim Hardy are the go-to source for the design, construction and installation of our self-cleaning screens. In addition to the installation of the 2 new screens on Duck and Howard Creeks they also performed maintenance on our 7 older screens while here during the week of September 22nd. Following the completion of their work efforts, Damon Keen from IDFG, commented that the tributaries, from a fisheries management perspective, are now in the best shape they have ever been over the last 15 years! Next year will be another big year for the foundation from a projects perspective. Four projects totaling $30,000 have already been approved by the HLF board for funding. The first project involves replacing the 20-year old self-cleaning screen on lower Duck Creek on the Taft property. The old wooden structure is beyond repair. Although small, the diversion is one of the most important on this tributary since it is the one closest to the lake. The second project is very similar and involves the replacement of the self-cleaning screen on Targhee Creek. Again the old wooden structure is beyond repair. The new structure will be a double wheel design to support the larger seasonal stream flows. Note – all the new screens are all steel and should last more than 20 years. The third project is to replace the four culverts on Red Rock road where Duck Creek and Rock Creek pass underneath. This project to improve fish passage is being lead by Lee Mabey from the US Forest Service and Marla Vicks from Fremont County. The old galvanized culvert pipes are in dire need of replacement especially those that are barriers to adfluvial fish migrating from the lake during the spawning season. The fourth project is to install automated water temperature and flow sensors in Targhee, Howard and Duck Creeks so that a historical database can be compiled to monitor the flows of these tributaries in conjunction with natural spawn production. By tracking these key tributary attributes, we will better understand the potential benefits of restocking the tributaries in conjunction with the stocking of the lake. The Henrys Lake Foundation would like to gratefully acknowledge the participation of our partners that help make all our projects possible. They include: Idaho Fish & Game (IDFG) US Fish and Wildlife US Forest Service (USFS) Idaho Department of Agriculture Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Idaho Department of Water Resources Idaho Department of Lands Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation Idaho Department of Transportation Bureau of Reclamation Corp of Engineers (COE) Fremont County Fremont County Weed Control National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) You can visit the foundation website for further information on how to become involved in these projects and associated fund raising efforts.

Been a Great Year for Fishing

August 2008

Everyone is enjoying an incredible fishing season at Henrys Lake this year. In addition to excellent quantities of Yellowstone Cutthroats, Hybrids and Brookies being caught, there have been a handful of very large Hybrids. Three were landed over 13 lbs and one over 14 lbs! Once again good-ole Henrys has proven to be an incredible fishery. The proportionate number of Brookies has also been a welcome surprise. Several over 5 lbs have also been caught. Water quality remains good. The lake is currently at 94% of capacity. The weeds are now growing quite rapidly with fish moving into many of the pockets and channels. It should be a great fall fishing season as well.

Picnic was a great success!

July 2008

For the first time, we held the annual fund raising picnic at the Henrys Lake State Park. It was one of the busiest weekends at the park which helped drive our strongest attendance ever. Attendee feedback was very positive including our orientation to more and lower priced silent auction items. A big hit were the baked goods. This is something that the foundation had done historically but not recently. Given the success, we plan on doing the same thing next year.

Aeration at Henrys Lake Winter 2007/08

January 2008

From Damon Keen – IDFG. I’ve had several questions regarding aeration at Henrys this winter and namely, “Why isn’t the F&G running the aerators”? First off, identifying what the aeration system is supposed to do is necessary. The aerators on Henrys were installed in the early 1990’s, shortly after a winterkill event that was caused by low dissolved oxygen levels in the lake. The system consists of 12-2” PVC lines that fan out in front of the hatchery ladder and are located in staggered positions as far out as 400 yards from shoreline. At the end of the PVC lines aeration heads are attached. The system pushes air through these lines with the means of a 20hp electric motor attached to a large blower. When the system is running, the result is that air is forced through the lines, out the aeration heads, and a fountain of air bubbles to the surface above the heads. The bubbling action brings warmer water from the lake bottom to the surface, where ice is melted. The newly formed open water can then be recharged with oxygen from the environment. The system cannot recharge the entire lake with dissolved oxygen. Henrys is a large lake and the impacted area is relatively small. The system was designed to improve dissolved oxygen content in the immediate area of the hatchery. In the event of a major oxygen depletion event, the goal is to improve dissolved oxygen content enough so springtime spawning can be successful. In the event of a major winterkill, the objective is to at least have sufficient eggs to restock the lake the following fall. Along with improving egg quality, our radio telemetry study in 2007 showed adult trout move along the shoreline during the winter making them more likely to encounter our aerators, which may help survival in stressful times. Fortunately, with the data and research completed during the early 1990’s by Tom Herron, we have an excellent understanding of what to expect during the winter at Henrys Lake. Dissolved oxygen levels are monitored at several locations shortly after ice forms on the lake. Monitoring is repeated at intervals and an evaluation is then made to determine if aeration should be deployed. Basically, the data collection points enable us to predict if sufficient dissolved oxygen levels will prevail until ice leaves the lake and natural recharge begins. This method of evaluation allowed us to predict early during the winter of 2003/04 that dissolved oxygen levels could become critical prior to ice off. Therefore, aeration was deployed. Fortunately this winter (2007/08), current dissolved oxygen levels remain good. And although evaluation is ongoing, to date (1/10/2008) aeration is not necessary and the aerators remain idle. The Idaho Fish and Game deploys aeration on poor or marginal dissolved oxygen years. However, winters where sufficient dissolve oxygen levels are present, the aerators collect a little dust. And that’s good.

Understanding the Blue Green Algae Bloom

December 2007

From Damon Keen - IDFG. Although I’m not a water quality expert, here are a few observations about the bloom we saw this year. 1)Blue green algae are in fact not true algae at all. They are actually cyanobacteria that photosynthesize, produce oxygen and “feed” on the nutrients in the lake. 2)Blue green blooms can occur in many nutrient rich waters, namely waters high in phosphorous and nitrogen. Blooms can occur anytime, but are often seen in late summer and early fall. 3)As with other plant life, when the blue greens die, the decomposition process uses oxygen. Therefore, if conditions are right (or wrong), low oxygen conditions can occur as the bloom “dies” off. This is not common, but we probably saw a minor event like this at Henrys Lake around Labor day. 4)Henrys Lake is a nutrient rich body of water. Most of the phosphorous is delivered to the lake through runoff that occurs in the system naturally. Many other sources of nutrient delivery occur including: septic systems, lawn fertilizers, grazing practices (animal waste) and others. 5)Other factors can contribute to blue green blooms. Those factors include but are not limited to: High water temperatures, drought conditions, lack of flushing effect (although runoff contributes nutrients to the system, it can also dilute the nutrient load by the flushing effect), early ice out, long periods of sunshine, lack of precipitation and others. 6)Nutrient delivery can be reduced by “filtering” the water before it reaches the lake. Important filters or buffers around the lake include: Wetland areas, healthy riparian areas, and shoreline vegetation. 7)Blue green blooms can also be toxic, depending on the species present. Toxic blooms are not common and did not occur on Henrys Lake this year. When toxicity does occur, toxic impact to fish is usually not noted. When fish mortality is noted, it can be related to point #3. So What Can be Done? 1)Maintain/improve the shoreline buffers and riparian areas around the lake. In recent years, two important areas have been enhanced. The lower Duck creek/Kelly Springs area is no longer grazed and vegetation has been dramatically improved along a large area surrounding those two tributaries and a large shoreline area. Additionally, areas north and south of the county boat dock have been fenced and shoreline filtering improved there. However, maintaining/improving other shoreline buffers is important also. 2)Repair/upgrade and pump septic systems. 3)Monitor your own practices, especially if you’re close to the water body. Are you contributing nutrients to the lake by your unwise practices? Can you reduce personal impact?

The HLF Picnic was a Great Success

August 2007

The Henrys Lake Foundation gratefully acknowledges the gifts and donations for the foundation’s 25th Annual Auction and Picnic held July 8, 2007, from the following businesses and residents. All proceeds from the auction are devoted to the preservation and enhancement of Henrys Lake fishery. All Seasons Angler, Idaho Falls Madison River Outfitters, West Yellowstone Alliance Title & Escrow, Rexburg MarketPlace Foods, West Yellowstone Anglers, Boise McClain, Dan & Hugh Chatham, Ennis Arrick’s Fly Shop, West Yellowstone McDonalds, West Yellowstone Barker, Phil & Kate, Island Park Meadow Vue Ranch, Island Park Barksdale, Don & Louise, Island Park Meeks, Wayne & Madeline, Island Park Bartsch, Marge & Bob, Island Park Montana Gifts & Gallery, West Yellowstone Big Sky Rides, West Yellowstone Morning Glory Coffee & Tea, West Yellowstone Blue Ribbon Flies, West Yellowstone Mountain Market & Deli, Island Park Bud Lilly’s Trout Shop, West Yellowstone Playmill Theatre, West Yellowstone C-A-L Ranch Stores, Rexburg Ponds Lodge, Island Park Canyon Street Grill, West Yellowstone Radio Shack, West Yellowstone Corner Conoco, West Yellowstone Rickards, Denny, Ft. Klamath OR Diamond P Ranch, West Yellowstone Rio Products Intl, West Yellowstone Eason, Gail, Island Park Rohrbaugh, Dick, Cameron Elkhorn Rod & Reel, Loveland CO Running Bear Pancake House, West Yellowstone Fierick, Fred, Larkspur CO Rustic Candy Shop, West Yellowstone First American Title, Rexburg Shedhorn Sports, Ennis First Security Bank, West Yellowstone Skip the Winter, West Yellowstone Fishing Solutions, Norfolk MA Slide Inn, Cameron Food Roundup, West Yellowstone Slocum, Ron, Island Park Given, Ed, Island Park Smith Action Optics, Sun Valley ID Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Ctr, West Yellowstone Snipper, Lorraine & Steve, Island Park Hainstock, Gary, Island Park Sportsmans Warehouse, Idaho Falls Henry’s Fork Anglers, Island Park Sydney’s Mountain Bistro, West Yellowstone High Country Hair & Nail Salon, West Yellowstone Taft, Melody & John, Lima MT Hoehne, John, Boise The Trouthunter, Island Park Homeroom, West Yellowstone TJ’s Bettola, West Yellowstone Huber, Max, La Crescenta CA Wal-Mart, Idaho Falls Hyde Outfitters, Island Park W. Yellowstone Back & Neck Clinic, W.Yellowstone Idaho Irresistibles, Rexburg W. Yellowstone Conference Hotel, W. Yellowstone Island Park Adventures, Island Park Westmart Building Center, West Yellowstone Island Park Liquor & Sports, Island Park Weigand, Patti & Mike, Island Park Jacklin’s Fly Shop, West Yellowstone Wild Rose Resort, Island Park Lang, Roger & Sue, Island Park Woodall, Doris, Island Park Lodgepole Grill, Island Park Yellowstone Basin Bank, West Yellowstone Love, Diane & Steve, Cameron Yellowstone IMAX Theatre, West Yellowstone Madison Meadows Golf, Ennis Yellowstone T-Shirt Co, West Yellowstone Madison River Fishing Co, Ennis Zega, Ron & Penny, Island Park

Picnic and Auction: HLF Annual Meeting

July 2007

Mark the date! July 7, 2007. Saturday 11am to 2pm. On Henrys Lake Rd, between Hwy 87 and Staley Springs. Open to all those who love Henrys Lake. This is the 25th year for the foundation annual meeting which is a picnic and auction. You can look forward to good food (for a small fee), many silent auction items and a dozen premium live auction items. Held on the lawn of foundation president, Ron Slocum, the site is spectacular. Beautiful views of the Centennials, Henrys Lake Range and Henrys Lake. Lots of parking and restrooms provided. Please mark your calendars and invite your neighbors to join you for this festive and worthwhile event.

Membership Drive Extended

April 2007

In the Spring 2007 Newsletter the foundation announced a membership drive with rewards for existing members who bring in the most new members. The deadline has been extended to July 5, 2007 so that the winners can be announced at the Annual Meeting and Picnic and Auction on July 7, 2007. Sign up the most new members and win! LIFE Memberships: at least 3 new life members must be signed in order to qualify 1st Place: 5 wt Sage 586 SLT rod ($530 retail value) 2nd Place: Super 4 Abel reel ($440 retail value) 3rd Place: 5 wt Scientific Anglers Mastery Stillwater Taper Fly Line ($60 retail value) ANNUAL Memberships: at least 5 new annual members must be signed in order to qualify 1st Place: 5 wt Sage 586-4 VT2 rod ($385 retail value) 2nd Place: Abel Big Game Pt.5 reel ($330 retail value) 3rd Place: 5 wt Scientific Anglers Mastery Uniform Sink Fly Line ($60 retail value) Membership Catergories: $25 Annual Individual $50 Annual Family $300 Life Member

Telemetry Update - Reported by Damon Keen, Asst Henrys Lake Hatchery Specialist, Idaho Dept of Fish

March 2007

The radio telemetry project was started this winter, thanks to the partnership with the Henrys Lake Foundation and their financial contribution towards the purchase of radio tags. We currently have 43 fish tagged and have monitored those fish periodically throughout the winter, via snowmobile. Although it’s far too early to draw any conclusions from these movements, the early indicators are interesting. The best descriptor would be to say the fish are scattered, with some moving great distances quite often and others staying “home.” Stay tuned as we continue to monitor. Dan Garren, our regional biologist is heading up this interesting project. Dan will have the analysis at the conclusion of the project, forecast to end sometime in late fall or early winter (depending on tag life) 2007. For two short video segments on Henrys Lake, visit this website by Kris Millgate, a reporter for Tight Line Media: The first segment “Spawning Fish 04/18/07” shows the Henrys Lake spawning effort by Idaho Dept of Fish and Game and volunteers. The second segment “Wired Fish 04/25/07” covers the telemetry project.

Radio Telemetry Trout in Henrys Lake

October 2006

A one-year project to monitor the movement of trout in Henrys Lake was begun this month by implanting 30 fish with radio transmitters. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game in a joint effort with the Henrys Lake Foundation, radio tagged and released 30 trout into Henrys Lake. Each week the IDFG will monitor the location of each fish and over the course of the year will be able to learn more about how the trout use Henrys Lake and spawning streams through their movements. The final results of the study will be publicly available at the conclusion of the project in early 2008. If available, interim reports will be posted to the Henrys Lake Foundation website.

Completion of Henrys Lake Fish Planting

September 2006

Idaho Department of Fish and Game reported the completion of the fish plant for Henrys Lake this year. The actual counts are: 149,800 Hybrids (sterile cutthroat and rainbow hybrids), 1,124,685 Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout, 107,125 Brook Trout (sterile) and 1,381,610 Total. The plantings went well with little mortality. While the total number of fish was less than planned for the cutthroat and hybrids, the size of the fish was excellent and should result in good survival. The numbers of brook trout exceeded the objective and size again was excellent. It was also noted that statewide IDFG plants 20% of all trout fingerlings (put and grow) at Henrys Lake.

Fry Trap Results on Targhee and Howard Creeks

September 2006

The Idaho Dept of Fish and Game placed traps on the two creeks earlier in the summer to measure the number of fry that move downstream into Henrys Lake. This is one way to determine the success of the natural spawning effort upstream by the cutthroat trout. The department reported a good number of fry moving down Targhee in particular and marked an upswing in natural production. The results were better than anticipated and suggest that the new natural-bottom bridges over Targhee and Howard Creeks were having an immediate positive impact.

Restoration of Duck and Kelly Creeks

August 2006

Duck and Kelly Creeks are important tributaries on the southwest side of Henrys Lake. Over the years the creeks have become silted over and no longer provide meaningful spawning habitat. In order to restore the habitat on Duck and Kelly Creeks a cooperative agreement has been reached with the US Fish and Wildlife Agency, the Henrys Lake Foundation and the owner of the property through which the creeks run. This is a $20,000 project to “improve habitat values for fish and wildlife…through restoration, enhancement, creation and management activities.” The project will begin in the spring of 2007 and will include fencing along the stream banks, re-vegetation, grade and water flow improvements.

Targhee and Howard Creek Cutthroat Trout Spawning Access Restored

June 2006

To mark the completion of the new natural-bottom bridges over Targhee and Howard Creeks, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held on June 3rd at the Targhee Bridge with a reception following at the home of HLF President Ron Slocum. In attendance were Senator Mike Crapo and members of his staff as well as representatives from Idaho Dept of Transportation, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, US Forest Service, and other organizations that assisted in this collaborative effort to restore access to the historic spawning beds for Yellowstone Cutthroat trout in these two tributaries of Henrys Lake. The replacement of the obstructive culverts on these two creeks now allows unimpeded access to miles of historical spawning habitat that was blocked by the culverts. Many trees and boulders were placed in the streams to form pools and runs thereby returning the creeks to natural grades and flow rates. The stream banks were planted with willows and other native plants to provide shade and cover.