"I frankly don't make much of a living, but I make a hell of a life" ~ Jack Gartside
And what a life it is, and what a wonderful place to spend it. From 120 million gallons a day bubbling up through the ground at Big Springs, to the awesome 115’ drop as it plunges over Mesa Falls, the Henry’s Fork is as magnificent and diverse as they come. The fishing remains strong, but the unseasonably hot temperatures have made things a tad tricky, and timing is everything. There’s also a lot of river in the river right now making things even more interesting. The brown drakes are all but wrapped up, but we’re still seeing strong green drakes in the morning hours, particularly on the upper ranch and into Last Chance. There’s also caddis, PMD’s, flavs and a good lineup of spinners on a daily basis. Here’s what you’ll see if you find yourself walking the Fork.
BOX CANYON: The flows from IP res. are cranking at around 1,700cfs. This makes for a super quick float and wade fishing can be down right dangerous, use caution and watch your footing out there folks. The golden stones are still out and bringing good fish to the surface. Watch for these robust bugs to be hitting the water during the warmest part of the day and focus your presentations toward the middle river. In addition, there are still good numbers of caddis, PMD’s, green drakes and flavs. Fishing tandem nymph rigs with a rubber-leg and smaller bead head is always a safe bet. Don’t forget the streamer arsenal.
LAST CHANCE - HARRIMAN RANCH: The brown drake hatch is all but finished up, but the PMD’s, flavs, green drakes and spinner falls are filling the void. Spinners and green drakes early, then PMD’s through early afternoon, then flavs late afternoon in to evening and then spinners again till dark. What more could an avid dry fly nut ask for? Tote along the terrestrial box to turn the trick on those tricky mid-day bank sippers.
WARM RIVER TO ASHTON: PMD’s, caddis, flavs, golden stones, terrestrials and spinner falls. This is the friendliest most consistent stretch on the Henry’s Fork. Fishing a double bead head set up under the surface is a sure fire way to fill the net and a dry dropper rig can be deadly here. Look for terrestrials, particularly hoppers, to start playing a bigger role on this stretch in the next few weeks. Pull streamers early, late or when skies turn grey to trigger angry strikes from alpha trout.
THE LOWER RIVER: 2,380cfs, that’s movin’! It’s an early then late game down here folks. We’re still seeing some golden stones and the fish are responding well to properly placed presentations. PMD’s, caddis, spinners and flavs will round out the dry fly opportunities. Dropping a bead head on actively feeding fish has proven effective and the morning and evening spinner falls have been great! Don’t forget the streamer box, it can be a day saver. Get this stretch while you still can, because it’s just about to wrap up for the season.
THE LAKES: The fishing on IP and Henry’s isn't dynamite yet, but can be explosive at times. Focus your efforts around springs, creek mouths and in deeper water. Present standard still water nymphs, bugger, leeches and chironomid patterns. Hebgen is starting to warm up with some callibaetis activity and caddis action in the evenings.
THE MADISON: The Madison is still experiencing outstanding fishing. The salmon fly hatch is in the upper reaches all the way through the walk/wade water. PMD’s, golden stones and caddis are offering additional opportunities throughout the day. Dropping a bead head or rubber-leg will only increase your odds and by all means, please don’t hesitate to pull streamers early and late in the day.