In many ways, it is difficult to celebrate the passing of summer in a place where it is the shortest season of the year. However, for residents of Henry’s Fork country, the arrival of fall can bring a notable sense of relief. This applies in particular to those who serve the needs of fly fishers flowing almost constantly through the Last Chance community from May through September.
It is only in fall that the TroutHunter parking lot is no longer loaded to capacity on every evening of the week or the fly shop jammed with impatient customers eager for the prospects of the day’s fishing. Though far from deserted, the local community enters a period when visitors no longer hold dominance over their personal time.
October is the month when seeing a river guide fishing for his own pleasure is not an unknown sight, and the timing for this newfound freedom could not be more ideal. Along with a sizable reduction in the number of competing anglers is the return of clear, stable flows to the river along with hatches considerably more reliable than during the period when the quality of the experience is disrupted by water conditions more conducive for irrigation needs than those of an angler.
While the upper reaches of the Henry’s Fork undergo positive transformation, it is the resurrection of the lower river that is most profound. Largely dormant through the months of July, August, and much of September, early October will find the water below Ashton again providing the kind of opportunity that exists prior to that time.
Responding as well to cooler weather and water temperatures is Henry’s Lake. Moody and unpredictable in the warmer months, this magnificent still water fishery rarely yields more stimulating action than during those days when fall colors light up the landscape and the surrounding peaks are dusted with the first snow. With trout of compelling size as a constant possibility, the lake stands as nearly irresistible distraction for even the most dedicated river addict.
With diverse opportunity in abundance, the gifts of October could not be more valued in a place where winter can arrive at any time once that month has passed. And it is perhaps fitting that they are largely reserved for those who call this place home.