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The Henry's Fork Fishing Report

April - May
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 days.

Coinciding 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 20 Baetis.

Recommended Patterns . . .
PMD's: 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

HFork Etiquette:
Most 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.

Play your 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?





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