Idaho fisheries biologist, Dan Garren, likes to explain the unique water chemistry and clarity of Henrys Lake, near his state's northeast edge, by telling how, just last year, and angler on a particularly bright and windless day, spotted the skull of a horned buffalo in eight feet of water and after a multi-hour struggle managed to bring it to the surface, massive and intact.
The thing about this submerged find is that there hasn't been a buffalo in the Henrys Lake area since the mid-1800s.
The mineralized skull had been lying at the bottom, likely all that time, preserved by the lake's phosphorous rich waters, Garren
hopes the reduction will result in bigger fish, though this trip's regularly hooking of 18-22 inch trout was nothing to sneeze at - while the sage and high altitude does make one sneeze at times.
The average depth of the spring-feed high-country lake (some 6,500 feet above sea level) is just 12 feet.
A spider web of exposed rivulets flow into the north end of the lake, the volume varying by snowpack and season.
After fishing with Garren
, I check the scope of these springs.
Most are only a yard or so wide, but running heavily, a foot deep, with a clear, cold flow.
There's even a small paddlewheel in one spring, most likely, according to Garren
, running a fish screen (rotary drum) to keep young fish out of irrigation ditches that might run dry.
Yet the best fish-holding water on Henrys Lake seems a lot shallower than 12 feet, at least in early fall.
says the structure suits all types of anglers: bait, hardware and fly fisher.