Jan 2009: Henrys Lake Winter 2008 Update by Damon Keen IDFG

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 time-frame 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 dkeen@idfg.idaho.gov.

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