Last evening as I was driving over the Osborne Bridge on my way to the late Jim Dean’s celebration of life gathering at the Ranch Hand’s Cabin in Harriman State Park I noticed a great number of insects in the air over the river. A close examination of the bugs revealed that they were brown drakes. From the front porch of the Ranch Hand’s cabin I had a good view of the river where I could see gulls and swallows feeding on the hatching brown drakes. I could also see quite a few fish rising to the hatching mayflies. Last night’s hatch was one of the best brown drake hatches I have ever witnessed. I was not able to go fishing myself last night but when I returned home I noticed that I had a message on my phone from a Japanese friend. He had come into the store earlier in the day where he asked me for advice on what to use and where to go. I recommended he grab a handful of brown drake patterns and head down to the Wood Road for the evening hatch. In his message he thanked me for the recommendation and included a picture of a beautiful 21” rainbow he had landed. I really need to start heeding my own advice since my personal best on the Ranch so far this season is an 18” rainbow I caught on opening day!
Box Canyon: The “Box” continues to produce decent fishing in spite of the constantly changing weather and water levels. Mostly a nymphing proposition with rubber legs and beadheads. We suggest using a black Rubber Leg with a beadhead Riffle, Duracell or red Two-Bit Hooker dropper.
Last Chance Area: Technically not part of the “Ranch” this section of the river is still considered “Ranch” water by most Henry’s Fork anglers. The water from the “Log Jam” upstream to the “Box Canyon” takeout has been the most consistently producing piece of water in the “Ranch” complex over the past week. The green drake hatch that has been occurring during the afternoons has been providing anglers with steady fishing opportunities. The presence of caddis in the evenings and the start of the flav hatch has also made for good fishing.
The “Ranch”/Harriman State Park: This world famous section of the Henry’s Fork has been a bit of an enigma ever since the opener on the 15th of June. For the most part the hatches that drive the fishing engine on this part of the river have been very weak to non-existent. The one exception has been the brown drake hatch which began about four days ago. It took a couple of days for the fish to get onto the bugs but the fish have been actively working the hatch over the past couple of evenings.
The Wood Road: Like the Last Chance section of the river upstream the water down here is not technically part of the “Ranch”. However, like the Last Chance area, most anglers consider this water to be part of what I would call the “Ranch” complex. Fishing has improved significantly over the past couple of days due to good hatches of brown drakes and PMD’s. The PMD hatch has been coming off a little later in the day compared to most years. I attribute this to the cooler rainy weather we have been experiencing over the past several weeks. Yesterday’s PMD hatch was what I would call a “Mega” hatch. The hatch was so thick that the river looked like it had a coat of hair. And, the fish responded by working the hatch vigorously.
Warm River to Ashton: This section of the river is still producing very good fishing with dry flies and nymphs. The presence of good consistent hatches of golden stones, yellow sallies, PMD’s and caddis have the fish on the move and feeding.
Ora to Chester and Chester to the Fun Farm: In spite of several days of temperatures getting up into the mid 80’s these two sections of the river are still producing excellent fishing. There are still good hatches of gray drakes, flav’s, golden stones, yellow sallies, PMD’s and caddis. As I reported in my last post the fish are getting a little more wary due to the heavy fishing pressure over the past month so come prepared to do a bit more technical fishing than you may have had to do a few weeks ago.