Henry's Lake is known for big trout. Period. Moreover, Henry's Lake is known for nasty, unpredictable weather, which happens year round. Snow can literally fall any day of the year as this lake is located about 20 miles west of West Yellowstone, Montana near Yellowstone National Park. I have been fishing here for a number of years and have yet to unlock even a small fraction of its secrets. And while most anglers prefer catching large fish on a warm(ish) summer day, I prefer catching them through the ice. I have had days where I have landed over 20 fish in two hours, but have also been skunked more often than I care to admit. Regardless of the catch rate, the one constant I seek out is solitude.
I like to set up my ice tent where I am far enough away from others so that I can't hear what they are talking about. I have noticed that many ice anglers make ice fishing a social event, and there is nothing wrong with that. I prefer to sit and watch my rods quiver in the blowing, icy wind. I love observing the way snow and clouds roll over the mountains and spread out over the lake, eventually engulfing me and gear. I enjoy the rare moments of warmth as the sun breaks through the clouds, only to fade into obscurity as it is overcome by the relentless freezing fog.
Over the years, as my kids have matured, I have begun bringing them with me. The trips are shorter as they usually do not tolerate the cold the way I do. My Clam shelter and Mr. Heater have made such trips more palatable for them. Watching them get excited as their rod dips and then eventually land the fish is enough for me. I even have to laugh as my oldest son yells in frustration as a big trout cuts the line on the edge of the ice hole. I know where he gets it from. My hope is that they enjoy freezing on the ice when they are my age as much as I do.