Thursday, April 23, 2015

Weathering the Storm on Henry's Lake

arial view of Henry's Lake in Idaho
Henry's Lake, Idaho
When you are fishing a lake from a floating device, it’s important to pay attention to the possibility of a freak storm in order to avoid a potential calamity. Such a situation occurred to my buddy Rob and me at Henry's Lake in Idaho some years ago. It is a shallow, natural alpine lake that harbors large Brook trout, Yellowstone cutthroat and rainbow/cutthroat hybrids. Fish from 5 to 7 pounds were available, so we were eager to try out our luck.

The proprietor of the lodge urged us to rent a boat because the fishing had been excellent. However, we had some concern about the storm clouds that were building up in the west. He said not to worry about sudden squalls because they usually blew themselves out. We were somewhat suspect of his advice, but because of his assurance we rented a boat. As we headed to a hotspot called the Springs, we noticed numerous boats heading back to the lodge. Since it was close to noon, we assumed they were returning for lunch. This was a careless assumption.

We anchored up and began to catch some nice fish using olive marabou streamers. Then, after 20 minutes, dark ominous clouds started to darken the sky and we began to get nervous. Panic took hold of us as the wind began to pick up and the choppy water turned into four foot swells. We pulled anchor, fired up the motor and headed for the boat ramp. Luckily, Rob was able to quarter the big waves even as water was filling up the boat. As we neared the shore, we could see the proprietor and numerous people observing us with binoculars.

Finally, after 20 harrowing minutes, Rob maneuvered the boat to the dock. We stormed up to the proprietor and asked him why he had allowed us to venture out with a storm approaching. “Boys,” he said with some concern, “sometimes the weather is a bit unpredictable around here, but you don’t have to worry too much. If you guys went down we were going to mark the spot!” We were stunned by that remark and considered a stern response. However, we realized that arguing might have escalated the confrontation, so we left feeling lucky to be alive.

In hindsight we learned a good lesson and understood that most people have good intentions, but when a fee is involved, they sometimes put financial gain over better judgment.

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