With the zest of variety as a basis, June could quite easily be declared the most magical of months in Henry’s Fork country.
With snowfall and freezing temperatures left largely in the background, the halfway point in the year opens the door to summer and all that it represents to a fly fisher. This is the time when water conditions have stabilized following spring snowmelt and nearly every river and lake is open to fishing. This includes the most anticipated day of the year at mid-month, which is when the fly only water of Harriman Ranch again becomes available.
No other event can exceed the June 15 Ranch opener in terms of the number of visitors attracted and the level of excitement they bring to the fishing community of Last Chance, Idaho. However, this-eight mile stretch of water represents only a fraction of prime opportunity to enjoy mayfly hatches like PMDs, Flavs, and the celebratory hatches of Green and Brown Drakes. Added to the mix are several varieties of caddis along with Golden Stones, and perhaps a few remnants of the Giant Salmon flies.
From Island Park Dam to Riverside, alternating stretches of fast and slow-moving currents provide the diversity needed to satisfy both wading and drifting anglers directly above and below Harriman in what is generally known as the Caldera Section.
Twenty miles downstream, the lower Henry’s Fork is also in prime fishing condition, and the water from the mouth of Warm River to the town of St. Anthony also provides roughly the same June hatches as the upper reaches of the river.
For stillwater fans, Henry’s Lake, Island Park Reservoir, and Hebgen Lake just across the Montana border have lost their ice bound status by early June, and the trout seem to respond in a most angler friendly way.
The Madison and Fire Hole Rivers in Yellowstone end seasonal closures on Memorial Day Weekend, thereby opening even greater opportunity only a short drive from the Henry’s Fork.
Perhaps equally stimulating as June fishing is the social end of this busy month. Mornings in the TroutHunter Fly Shop buzz with excited anglers preparing for the day’s adventure as guides pack lunches and load gear into the boats. Evenings in the Bar & Grill are filled with fishing reports over cocktails, and the energy of new and renewed friendships permeates the lively gathering.
With the longest days of the year now at hand, there is more than adequate time to savor the feeling of contentment and good will as a late sunset draws a shade over the Henry’s Fork. But most comforting of all is the knowledge that at least three good months of near equal magic lie directly ahead.