Henry's Fork Report - October 19, 2023

Henry's Fork Report - October 19, 2023

Henry’s Fork Streamflows

Island Park Dam:  181 cfs

Ashton Dam:  836 cfs

St. Anthony:  1170 cfs

Fall River:  484 cfs

The Henry’s Fork continues to be a day to day experience, with some great fishing days had when there are clouds in the sky and tougher conditions prevailing when the sun is high in the sky.  Anglers can find quality fishing in fair weather, but they’ll do well to move towards faster flowing waters, probing the canyons and the section just above Ashton Reservoir.  Flows are generally low at the moment, but clarity is in good shape in most sections.  Weather is fair in the short term, but next week looks to bring some great fall conditions and a favorable fishing forecast.

Box Canyon

For those willing to put their boat through a beating, some great fishing is to be found in the Box Canyon.  At these flows, it’s virtually impossible to descend the canyon without leaving some gel coat behind.  Ditching the oars and walking the boat through some of the more shallow sections will help prevent a few bone-jarring moments.  Fishing has been good lately, and at these low flows the trout are more concentrated into the primary holding water.  Structure is easily read and relatively easy to fish with minimal weight.  Indicator rigs are the usual and definitely the most productive, but good dry/dropper fishing can be found as well as some streamer opportunity when the sun isn’t high in the sky.  Nymph selections should reflect midge and baetis activity, and generally in the #16-20 range outside of stonefly or leech imitations.  We like a box well stocked with PTs, R/L Tactical Pts, Rednecks, and Cocktail Nymphs 16-20, red, brown and black Zebra Midges 14-20, Rubberlegs stonefly nymphs 10-12, and a good variety of perdigons (Olive Hot Spot, Frenchies, Jig Napoleons, Jake’s SH, and Bullet Quills 16-20 are a good start) will get the job done out there.

Railroad Ranch

The Ranch has been fishing very day to day this past week and we expect conditions to improve in the coming week with the forecasted cloud cover.  Baetis and Pseudos are a daily occurrence, Mahoganies have been spotty but present as well.  Anglers should hope for spinners in the morning hours, steady Baetis hatches in the late morning and early afternoon, and spotty mahoganies throughout the State Park.  At these flows, trout will be more concentrated, so if you have bugs on the water and aren’t seeing noses, take your fly rod for a walk in search of a target, proactive anglers typically find targets.  Our fly boxes are sure to include plenty of Copenhaver and Harrop spinners in rusty and cream 18-22, Sparkle Flag duns, Olive comparaduns, MFC Hi vis spinners, and Bucky’s Upright Baetis 18-22, as well as a selection of mahoganies:  Thorax, CDC Biot Dun, Captive Dun, Tilt Wing Duns and the occastional grease-lined Pheasant Tail nymph in 16-18.  Sunny days will make for more sparse activity so anglers should be prepared to cover some ground, while cloudy days will delay the timing of the hatches but have an increased number of targets. 

Canyon Country

At these flows and at this time of year, few are the folks heading into the canyon sections of the Henry’s Fork.  Good fishing can be found in the middle hours of the day, but low flows make this an all day affair, so lots of layers and a committed mindset are what it takes for a successful outing.  Rubber rafts are mandatory and solid oarsmanship a must.

Warm River to Ashton

This section of the Henry’s Fork continues to provide anglers with some quality fishing, either with good action on smaller fish or decent action on medium to large-sized trout.  Anglers can freely choose their rigs of choice; indicators, dry/droppers and streamers will all produce, the river here is diverse enough and the section long enough to commit half of the float to one technique or the other.  Generally, we like the same nymph selection down here as we use in the Box Canyon, but throwing in a few larger, fast-sinking bead heads is a good idea. For streamer fishing, now is a great time to alternate between floating lines and sink tips, depending on the water you’re fishing.

Below Ashotn Reservoir

Reports down here are generally more favorable when the weather is cloudy, some fishing can be found on sunny days, but the opportunities are fewer and further between.  Anglers should expect to fish nymphs or streamers in the morning hours and hope for some dry fly fishing in the afternoons.  Pseudos and Baetis are hatching on most days, but in much greater number when clouds are present.  Larger trout will come to the surface more readily with clouds in the sky.  On sunny days, look to dry/dropper rigs during emergence hours and don’t rely on finding regularly rising targets. 

Get out there and have fun!

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.

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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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