When options for fishing opportunity become the topic of interest, October could easily rank near the top for planning time on the water in Henry’s Fork country.
With no seasonal closure as an obstacle and most rivers and lakes in excellent condition, anglers are generally free to enjoy a wide variety of water types and fishing methods. With this in mind, choosing which location to fish can often be the most difficult decision on days when so many options lie close at hand.
For most, the Henry’s Fork can offer all that might be required from a trout stream that flows productively for a distance of more than fifty miles.
Those favoring the dry fly can easily be charmed by fall hatches of Mahogany Duns and Baetis mayflies on the caldera section, which includes the famed Harriman Ranch.
Nymphing the enticing runs of a more hospitable Box Canyon can yield satisfying numbers of trout for the wading angler with only a fraction of the risk and discomfort found during times of higher flows.
Less than an hour downstream, a larger Henry’s Fork, has become reduced to a more manageable river for the wading angler while retaining the attributes for a productive float. Gone with summer are swollen flows prompted by peak demand for irrigation and power generation and in their place are conditions that could not be more favorable to the fly fisher.
With brown trout joining rainbows as available objectives, dry flies, nymphs, and streamers lend stimulating diversity to a recently reawakened fishery.
Other rivers in nearby Montana and Yellowstone each offer a distinctive and welcome contrast to the summer season and the crowds it attracts.
Cooler temperatures and stable water conditions exert a very positive influence on still water trout in terms of feeding activity and availability to those who pursue them.
I am particularly fond of Henry’s Lake in October when fishing from a boat or wading the shoreline can be equally productive, although Sheridan and Hebgen can be tempting as well.
Although weather in October can be unpredictable and rather harsh at times, most storms are fast moving events that usually create only minor disruption. However, some of the best Baetis action can occur with a layer of fresh snow on the banks and more arriving from the sky.
Mostly, October consists of days to be cherished when winter looms near and time on the water becomes progressively more limited. But even November is not too bad in Henry’s Fork country.