Big news Henrys Lake anglers! The new Idaho catch-and-release state record hybrid trout (Rainbow Trout X Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout) was caught out of Henrys Lake this fall, and it’s a whopper. Hailey Thomas of Rigby caught this 36-inch hybrid, which easily beats the prior catch-and-release state record by 6 inches. Based on length and girth measurements, we estimate that this fish weighed somewhere between 17-20 lbs! The best part is that this fish is still swimming around out there and growing, so we may have another record catch on our hands in the near future.
Congratulations to Hailey Thomas of Rigby on landing a new catch-and-release state record from Henrys Lake. Hailey hooked the 36-inch long monster rainbow/cutthroat hybrid on Oct. 4 while fishing with her family on the renowned east Idaho lake. Hailey’s fish comfortably cruises past the prior record – an already impressive 30-inch rainbow/cutthroat hybrid set by Ryan Ivy from the Snake River in 2018.
The Nature Conservancy in Idaho announces the purchase of a 634-acre property located 15 miles west of Yellowstone National Park. Located in one of the most ecologically significant regions of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, this project secures the protection of critical habitat and advances efforts to ensure the survival and resiliency of iconic wildlife in this area.
Much of the property and surrounding lands are situated within Henrys Lake Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) and provide crucial connectivity to areas that support a diversity of wildlife in the Madison River Valley and Yellowstone National Park in Montana and Wyoming. The ranch had been platted for subdivision and fragmentation that would have been devastating for wildlife habitat and migration corridors.
Each year, IDFG conducts a gillnet survey on Henrys Lake to assess the current state of the fishery. We begin the survey immediately after ice-out, which didn’t take place until mid-May this year! We set nets at six sites throughout the lake every night until we reach our goal of at least 50 net-nights of effort. IDFG manages Henrys Lake for a target population size that results in a gillnet capture rate of 11 trout per net.
Henrys Lake is a renowned trophy trout fishery that is managed for rainbow trout and Yellowstone cutthroat trout hybrids, Yellowstone cutthroat trout, and brook trout. Yellowstone cutthroat trout is a popular sport fish and is native to Henrys Lake and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Unfortunately, Yellowstone cutthroat trout have experienced substantial population declines caused by nonnative species and reduced habitat quality and quantity. As a result, conserving native Yellowstone cutthroat trout in Henrys Lake is a high priority for resource managers. Read more.
We’re keeping an extra-close eye on the fishery after the regulation change by conducting a year-long creel survey. Every week, we will be interviewing anglers asking about species-specific catch rates, fish sizes, angler demographic information, and much more. These data will help us better understand how angler effort, angler harvest, and user-group types have changed with the expanded opportunity. It will also provide insight into how angler catch rates relate to the current fish population and species composition. Click here for the entire newsletter.
Island Park, Idaho, May 28, 2022 — Volunteers from Henrys Fork Wildlife Alliance, Henrys Lake Foundation, and Idaho Master Naturalists worked a total of 70 hours over three days in May alongside staff from the Bureau of Land Management-Upper Snake Field Office. The project, supported by volunteer labor, was conducted by BLM to restore a badly eroded section of the west shore of Henrys Lake.
Continuing an ambitious multi-year project that started last year, they planted more than 1,000 dormant willow stakes, collected from nearby vigorous willow stands along the lake. The stakes are expected to leaf out and take root this summer and eventually help restore the natural willow growth along the shore, improve shoreline stability, and benefit water quality.
Mary Van Fleet of Island Park, who helped recruit many of the local volunteers, says “Planting dormant willow sticks right at the edge of an eroding bank and into the shoreline helps protect the shoreline from erosion that occurs during wave action in wind events. It also protects the shoreline from ice surge during the winter which deteriorates the bank.”
She says stabilization of the banks is extremely important to reduce siltation in the lake and contribute to water quality for fish and anglers. It also provides excellent habitat for moose which utilize the willows as a food source, along with various birds and other wildlife species.
Van Fleet says, “in addition to benefiting elk, moose, and other wildlife, willow bottoms around the Lake are important habitat for many species of birds, both songbirds and waterfowl, as a food source, protection, and nesting areas.”
Ryan Beatty, Fisheries Biologist with BLM, was the lead for planning the shoreline restoration project and expressed his appreciation for all the volunteers who conducted the work. “Many hands make light work, and this effort would not have been possible without the contributions of volunteers.” He says, “Patience and a little luck should lead to substantial increases in shoreline willow density, shoreline stability and reduced shoreline erosion in the future.”
Beatty also encourages landowners to retain natural vegetation during property development and maintenance of their land. He says planting inexpensive native vegetation-based enhancements to lakeshore properties can preserve the lakeshore and attract wildlife.
For more information contact Mary Van Fleet at 208-558-9127