Henry's Fork Report - June 8, 2023

Henry's Fork Report - June 8, 2023

Henry’s Fork Streamflows

Island Park Dam:  768 cfs

Ashton Dam:  2180 cfs

St. Anthony:  3520 cfs

Fall River:  2510 cfs

The Henry’s Fork is coming into prime shape this week, flows are dropping, visibility increasing, and the annual, much awaited “Parade of Bugs” is about to begin.  Keep in mind, the trout don’t necessarily start eating every mayfly that comes floating down the river at first glance.  This is a gradual progression and we are now in the week that the bugs of summer begin to show themselves.  The trout will begin to key in on these PMDs, caddis, and stoneflies, first as nymphs, then as emergers, and then as adults and spinners and spent wings.  Certain locales will have trout looking for surface food before others, but they will all look to the surface by the end of next week as some very important food sources begin to gather there.  Anglers should be prepared to fish below the surface for some of each day this next week, but also be prepared to tie on the correct floating imitation and present a dry fly to a selectively rising trout.  Weather will continue to be partly cloudy to cloudy with chances of thunderstorms every day, perfect mayfly and caddis weather!

Box Canyon

Flows are dropping, visibility increasing, salmonflies are flying, and some of the residents are hungry enough to have a quality day’s fishing in this stunning piece of water.  The salmonflies are likely just at or near their peak and will start to disappear this week.  Remember that salmonfly weather has a warm and summery feel to it, so if you are taking off your jacket because you’re heating up, it might be time to consider throwing the big dry.  Otherwise, indicator nymph fishing will remain your best bet, with trout keying in on smaller food primarily.  Be sure to bring your red and brown Zebra midges 14-18, tan caddis larva and pupa patterns 14-16, mayfly imitations 14-18 (we like a good old fashioned tungsten-beaded pheasant tail in a 14 and 16, Rednecks, and Tactical PTs), your favorite perdigons (olive hot spot, bullet quill, Firestarter, Red Hollow Point, red jig Napoleon and Jake’s soft hackle) in a 14-18.  For stoneflies, it’s hard to beat a rubberlegs nymph but a great variant is the 101 Stonefly from our friends in New Zealand at Category 3 Flies.  Remember to be prepared for salmonfly and golden stonefly activity on any given day.

Railroad Ranch

Closed until next report date, June 15th.

Canyon Country

The canyons of the Henry’s Fork have had some exciting fishing this last week and remain a great place to spend a day’s trout fishing.  Salmonflies have been in there for most of this last week and will continue to be around for the coming week in waning numbers.  Remember that these sections have some of the highest fish counts per mile in the entire river, but most of them are in the 6-8” category.  When targeting quality trout here, anglers must consider their intended quarry and throw flies that might attract them at the same time filtering out some of the smaller trout that are becoming increasingly hungry in these warming days of summer.  Though the “Chubberlegs” remains the rig of choice, don’t be shy about cutting off that dropper and fishing the dry fly closer to the structures, there will be trout laid up to eat larger flies this week. 

Streamers are a a great option as well, we wouldn’t dare come down these sections without an olive/black or black BFE 4-6 (Best.Fly.Ever, our newer versions have tungsten eyes!), or the terrific all-around Bouface Leech in a size 6.  Remember to bring your rain jacket and warm layers, these are textbook days that find folks in visors and flip flops in the morning but huddling up with puffy layers and gore-tex in the afternoon.  When in the canyons, you can’t see weather coming until it is on top of you, be prepared for everything!

Warm River to Ashton

This delightful piece of water will really start to experience some bug activity in the coming week, be especially aware of caddis hatches and the presence of stoneflies.  Larger mayfly hatches like march browns, PMDs and flavs are not out of the question either.  Dry/dropper rigs and indicator nymph rigs will produce the best success this week, but anglers keen on skillful angling will find some great trout with dry flies and streamers as well.  Be observant with the shifting weather patterns and let the flies you see or expect to see on the water at any given time dictate your fly selections.  Mayflies like PMDs, March Browns, Baetis, and Flavs should be represented in the fly box in both nymphs and adult imitations.  Caddis patterns in both forms should be represented in 14-16.  Salmonflies, Golden Stones, and Western Olive Stones can be on any given day’s menu. 

Below Ashton Dam

The lower Henry’s Fork is coming into shape nicely, with flows hovering around 2100 cfs at the moment,  which we can expect to drop into the prime dry fly fishing range of sub-2000 this week.  That said, expect trout to key on nymphs primarily these next days, with summer’s hatches just now beginning, outside of some areas.  Dry fly anglers will find targets if they are willing to hunt and cover some ground while doing so. 

Most trout will be taken on subsurface patterns this week, but expect a shift from the spring selection to that of summer:  PMDs, Caddis, Golden Stones and even a few remnant salmonflies will spark up the action.  Keep nymph and dry fly versions of these flies handy, we like to have a couple of rods rigged in the boat at this time of year per angler.  One with a nymphing or dry/dropper rig and another with a long leader and a dry fly at the end of it, ready for an opportunity at one of flyfishing’s greatest and arguably most satisfying realms:  casting dry flies to rising trout.  We have some great angling ahead, but the key to finding fish this week is to be adaptable to the constantly changing weather and the hatches that any given moment's weather produces. 

River conditions are now good through the length of the Henry’s Fork.  For those wishing to find adventure in the lower reaches, now is the time to consider taking a day to enjoy it.

Don’t forget your sunblock, polarized glasses, insect repellent, floatant and rain jacket, have fun out there!!

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THE Henry's Fork

The Henry's Fork Foundation is the only organization whose sole purpose is to conserve, protect, and restore the unique fisheries, wildlife, and aesthetic qualities of the Henry's Fork and its watershed.

ranch tactics

with jonathan heames

the Legendary

Railroad Ranch

A mere mention of the storied Railroad Ranch section of the Henry’s Fork conjures images of expansive flats with large rainbow trout sipping away on the surface.  It's technical waters, and sophisticated fish have earned the reputation of PHD level dry fly fishing. Countless innovations in flies, and techniques have been spawned here, and few places will test an anglers ability more absolutely. Simply put, it is one of the most iconic pieces of trout water on Earth. 

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