"You can’t get too much winter in winter”, Robert Frost said that, and oh how right he was. And although our winter type weather is far from over, the arrival of spring has been cause for celebration. Spring is a welcome turn in both climate & attitude here in Henry’s Fork country. The snow begins to peel back, little by little, revealing fertile ground we haven’t seen since October. Baetis and midge hatches intensify, the trout are more lively and our daylight hours begin to outnumber the darker ones. Yes indeed folks, spring is here and the fishing and weather will only get better as we march along toward the summer season. Here’s a run-down on current fishing conditions.
ATTENTION: The Rainbow Trout are currently spawning, so tread lightly and avoid stomping their redds. It’s unethical to fish over actively spawning fish. Let them do their deal to ensure a healthy future trout population.
UPPER RIVER: Migrating Rainbow trout from the reservoir up to ideal spawning territory makes this a definite viable option for early spring fishing. Access is tough, but with a pair of snowshoes, cross country skies or better yet, a snow machine, one can reach some the most beautifully secluded winter fishing grounds on the Henry’s Fork. Come equipped with midge and baetis lifecycle patterns, leeches, stonefly nymphs and an assortment of streamers to effectively fish this area.
BOX CANYON: Flows from IP Reservoir have been fluctuating between 190-215cfs the past few weeks. The ramps are still snowed in, but with a little gumption, you can still get a boat or raft in the water. It’s most definitely a boney float, so a raft is optimal. Productive flies to have are #8-10 Rubber-leg nymphs in black and brown, #14-20 tungsten Zebra midges in red, olive and brown - #16-20 flash back Pheasant Tail nymphs, #8-12 leech patterns in black, brown and olive and streamer patterns to mimic juvenile Rainbow trout, whitefish and sculpin. On the lower end of the canyon, keep your eyes peeled for trout rising to midges and BWO’s.
LAST CHANCE: The midge hatch has really turned on over the past few weeks. There is outstanding dry fly fishing to be had right now, particularly from mid afternoon to dark. Have midge singles and emergers in sizes 18-22 and mating or cluster imitations in sizes 14-20. For best results you still need to employ long leaders, light tippets and an accurate drag free drift. We’re also seeing a few baetis, and on certain days and it can be productive to prospect with #18-20 baetis emerger and crippled patterns. In deeper water, you can increase your hook-ups by dropping a small Pheasant Tail or Zebra Midge. The Trout are also responding well to small olive, brown and black leech patterns.
WARM RIVER - ASHTON: The boat ramps on this stretch are free of snow and functional. The fish will respond well to the same flies mentioned above in the Box canyon section of this report. We’re seeing strong numbers of baetis on certain days and the midge dry fly fishing can be fantastic at times. We should start to see Skwalla stoneflies beginning to emerge within the next few weeks, so keep your eyes open for these trout enticing morsels.
LOWER RIVER: Flows have been bouncing between 850-950cfs. The boat ramps are free of snow and functional. The midge and baetis fishing is really heating up on the Vernon to Chester float. Walk wade fishing the water around Vernon can also prove fruitful. If the fish aren’t up on dries, prospect with black, brown and olive Rubber-leg nymphs with Zebra midge or Pheasant tail droppers. Or, present streamer patterns with a deep-slow retrieve. We should see some Skwalla’s down on the Lower River soon as well.
Stop by the TroutHunter fly shop for up to the minute conditions, best flies and for all your gear & tackle needs.