Fork Fishing Report is out each year from May to October with hatches
starting out on the lower river below Ashton and continuing on to the
upper river by Last Chance.
During April and May, the Henry's Fork begins the season with the spring
Baetis hatch below Ashton Dam. The fishing can be very good particularly
on overcast days but is highly dependent upon river flows from the Dam.
Look for flows around 1,600 to 1,800 cfs any higher and there may be
an exceptional Baetis hatch but the fish are reluctant to rise and will
prefer to feed on the active nymphs below the surface. During early
May, the Grannon Caddis or Mothers Day Hatch is very good and fish will
consistently feed on the surface. Blending in with the Baetis and Caddis,
you can find the Rhitrogena or March Browns inconsistently emerging.
If the fish do key on them, it is quite fun because their large and
you can make longer casts. Around late May, you should consider fishing
or floating the Warm river to Ashton stretch. At this time the Caddis
are reliable, the weather is tolerable and fisherman have to get out
and do something. Late May also triggers the first Salmonfly hatch of
the expansive Yellowstone area. Unlike most western rivers that Salmonflies
inhabit where the Salmonflies emerge upsteam a few miles per day, the
Henry's Fork can produce multilple hatch locations throughout the river.
This is due to altitude and temperature of the river at these different
locations. In General, the Warm River to Ashton stretch will be the
start of the Salmonfly season in late May.
Anglers can continua fishing the Henry's Fork Salmonfly hatch above
Last Chance in the Box Canyon at Island Park. Your best bet is to fish
just below the Buffalo river confluence and if it is over in that section
(look for shucks) then fish the rest of the Box. In the last chance
area. During early June fish PMD's on overcast days and Caddis on sunny
with the Harriman opener is the famous Green Drake hatch along with
the Franklin Gulls, I gotta admit it is fun to cast large dry flies
to large fish. Remember the glory days of the Hfork !! When fishing
the Green Drake hatch be sure to have an arsenal of fly patterns with
you. A good tip when fishing the Green Drakes, make sure you have plenty
of size 20 Glossosoma Caddis!! The day will usually start off with PMD
spinners then switch to Green Drakes and/or PMD's mixed with Caddis
and end the day with a good Caddis emergence. The PMD's will continue
for the next 5 weeks. Again overcast, calm days are ideal for this hatch.
Start your day using PMD spinner from 9:00 am until 11:00 am. If weather
allows, look and wait (and we mean wait) for the PMD emergence. If it's
your lucky day, you'll find fish sipping on PMD emergers. Be sure to
have plenty of Oecetis patterns (Long Horn Sedge) in sizes 12-14 and
also carry a good supply of dark and light winged size 20-22 patterns.
This will cover the Glossosama Caddis and Weedy Water Sedge that can
be prolific and drive you nuts in the early season. Also keep in mind,
in the warmer spring and summer seasons, some of the best dry fly fishing
takes place during early the morning when spinner falls of PMD's occur.
So carry plenty of foam or sparkle type spinners in your arsenal.
When fishing the Hfork caddis hatch, you need to carry an arsenal of
caddis imitations. During the day, if you find fish and can't tell what
they're feeding on and it looks like microcaddis..it is. Try putting
on a Glossosoma or Weedy Water Sedge size 20 and you'll have more success.
Around mid morning expect to find PMD and Callibaetis spinners throughout
the Last Chance and Ranch area. As the Green and Brown Drake are on
the downward swing, look forward to our favorite hatch, the Flavilinea's.
This small western Green Drake commonly referred to as Flavs, will begin
the first week in July and last all month. Why is it my favorite? A
few reasons. They are a medium sized mayfly, about a large 14, that
likes to emerge in late afternoon. This usually means when the wind
is up especially in the Ranch area. Most Hfork anglers despise the wind
and will leave. Now you have the perfect scenario, large mayflies emerging
and no crowds. If you can't cast when it's windy then arrive in the
evening because the Flav hatch always coincides with the evening caddis
hatch. If you plan to spend some time on the fork, you should do a little
research, buy Lawson's Fly Fishing the Henry's Fork and Fly
Fishing Yellowstone Hatches DVD and carry an arsenal of local favorites.
During July evenings, you can fishing caddis just about everyday. Curing
late July, begin to use ants and beetles for weary finicky heads
As the summer heat roles on continue on with terrestrial pattern's try
to be versatile in your fly selection, ants with wings, ants without
wings, beetles with legs, beetles without legs and throw in an occasional
hopper pattern. Fish are very weary from the summer crowds so stalking
and patience is more important than pattern selection.
Fall Baetis is gives anglers the last significant hatch of the year.
These Baetis are the last of the brood and are smaller so lighter tippets
with downstream slack mends is your best choice. Check out Kathryn's'
big fish in "Fly Fishing Yellowstone Hatches" taken on a size
Patterns . . .
Sparkle Dun, DOA Dun, Transitional Dun, PMD Emerger
Caddis: Iris Caddis, X Caddis, CDC Caddis
Green Drakes: Green Drake Emerger
* Any Harrop, Lawson or Mathews pattern.
local and experienced veterans of the Hfork do the "wait and stalk"
method. If you see anglers along the bank, there's a good chance they're
waiting for rise forms Give them their space. If you see an angler hookup,
allow them to play their fish and return to their spot, there could
be more fish. I always feel bad for one of my angling friends, Kathryn
Bartlett. She has fished this river as long as anyone and is an Hfork
expert. Whenever she hooks up and quickly lands her fish, it seems like
she immediately looses her spot to another angler. Instead of getting
upset, she just moves on and finds another fish or quits for the day.
fish quickly, avoid the 6X or 7X machismo. If it does take you longer
than 8 minutes to land the fish. You probably just killed that fish!!
I have seen plenty of anglers land a fish, after 8 minutes, just flop
the fish or spend 30 seconds to "revive" the fish and they
wonder why the fish population is so low. Could it be that they have
contributed to the fish reduction by their play and release methods?