While easy fishing is seldom associated with the Henry’s Fork, a month long period beginning in mid June produced something that came pretty close.
Green, Brown, and Gray Drakes are all size twelve or larger and the effect they have on trout is quite different than the usual insect fare on the Henry’s Fork. The appearance of any one of the three is an event to be savored but when they are hatching simultaneously, it can be almost more than one can bear.
Green Drakes are mostly a morning affair while Brown Drakes usually appear at around dusk. When combined with the Gray variety that can be found from late morning until dark, this impressive trio represents as much as a twelve hour window of what can seem almost suicidal behavior on the part of the trout.
For angler and river guide alike, the days become a frantic scramble from one location to another, and the distance between hot spots vary as much as forty miles. Deserving or otherwise, everyone seems to be catching trout of a size that normally would be considered an impressive accomplishment by even the most experienced veteran. Forgotten are the days when anything short of perfection in tackle or talent is met with utter distain by the snooty rainbows and browns of the upper and lower Henry’s Fork. Reality has a way of coming around, however, and that is where we are right now.
It is amazing how small a size 14 Flav or Callibaetis can seem when you have become accustomed to fishing flies that are several sizes larger. PMDs in size 18 and the even smaller Tricos become almost invisible while abrupt adjustments are forced upon Drake spoiled anglers. But the river is much quieter now, and the big trout are still there.
Most of those whom only a few days ago, were celebrating the bounty of the Henry’s Fork are now off chasing Golden Stones and Salmon Flies on the Madison or Yellowstone. And while fishing here has resumed its normal demanding ways, it is still a fine time to be on the river. Hunting big trout along the open banks is now less likely to be disturbed by human competition, and the quiet is undoubtedly enjoyed equally by both angler and trout. Maybe I don’t miss the Drakes so much after all.