Henry's Fork Report - September 28, 2023

Henry's Fork Report - September 28, 2023

Henry’s Fork Streamflows

Island Park Dam:  430 cfs

Ashton Dam:  1150 cfs

St. Anthony:  1190 cfs

Fall River:  477 cfs

Sunny days as of late have been keeping the Henry’s Fork’s fall fishing at bay a bit, but another push of cloudy weather in the forecast brings with it the promise of greater angling opportunity.  These sunny days are among the most beautiful of the year, and anglers who adjust their plans and strategies have been chipping away at some successes.  Though some good fishing can be found on these bright days, overcast or partly cloudy conditions will bring the greatest opportunity.  Flows have been stable and water clarity fair throughout the system, with some turbidity present in the upper mile of the Box Canyon.  Flows are forecasted to drop to 300 cfs from Island Park Dam on Monday October 2nd.

Box Canyon

For a fun day’s fishing, regardless of sunny or cloudy weather, the Box is a solid choice.  Sunny days allow anglers to see and read the structure and cloudy weather will bring with it more hatch activity and increased feeding.  Both types of days have advantages and their successes.  Indicator rigs are the standard fare in here, but there’s plenty of room for creativity among these rigs at current low flows.  Indicator nymphing rigs, short leash nymphing rigs and dry/droppers will all work, and you’ll do best to focus your efforts in a depth of water that is appropriate to your rig of choice.  Generally we are fishing small nymphs at the moment, but there are some larger patterns that will bring some fish to the net as well:  copper Zonkers, BSA Bouface Leeches, San Juan Worms, and Rubberlegs stonefly nymphs will all work from time to time.  Smaller nymphs include:  PTs, Tactical R/L PTs, and Cocktail nymphs 16-20, red and brown Zebra midges 14-18, black Zebra midges 18-20, as well as your favorite perdigons (Frenchies, Olive Hot Spot, red or tan Jig Napoleons, Jakes SH, Bullet Quills and Spanish Bullets 14-18) will all work out there.  It’s a bumpy ride down there at these flows, so come prepared to put a few scratches on your hulls!

Railroad Ranch

Ranch anglers are among those who wake up to a cloudy sky in the mornings and rejoice, these are the days that will bring good hatches of baetis and mahoganies.  Sunny skies will limit anglers to a spinner fall in the morning of tiny spinners, sparse mahoganies, and some limited terrestrial activity in the midday hours.  At low flows, trout are more concentrated into more productive zones, if you have bugs on the water and aren’t seeing rising trout, take a walk and go on the hunt.  Ranch trout are wary creatures this time of year when they’re not rhythmically feeding, so a careful approach is a must.  Using weed beds that are exposed at the surface to break your wake is a good tactic.  Weed beds are a nuisance for landing trout and for getting good drifts, but they can also provide cover for anglers and allow you to get closer to a target than would otherwise be possible, use them to your advantage.  Flies in our Ranch boxes include:  Copenhaver spinners, Harrop’s paraspinners, Profile spinners 16-20 in cream and rusty, Sparkle Flag duns, Comparaduns, and MFCs hi-vis spinner are all good choices in baetis colors 16-20, Mahogany CDC Biot Duns, Thorax Duns, and Captive Duns 14-16 will get you started, a natural, non-beaded pheasant tail or turkey tail nymph that can be greaselined is a good ace in the sleeve on a picky trout as well.  A few terrestrial patterns that resemble hoppers and flying ants are still worth having in the quiver.

Canyon Country

As long as the weather remains fair, forays into the canyons of the Henry’s Fork are a worthy endeavor and can offer an active day’s fishing on a sunny day.  These are wilderness sections, remote and inaccessible outside of the boat ramps, so bring plenty of layers, food and water.  Dry/dropper rigs are the usual choice, but we love to throw heavy, quick-sinking streamers on floating lines in here as well in search of larger trout.  Olive, Black, Natural and something shiny are the color categories that are worth having represented in your selections.

Warm River to Ashton

This section is another good one on a sunny day or an overcast one.  Most anglers are nymphing down here these days with similar flies to the selection outlined for the Box Canyon, but streamer anglers can usually find a few nice trout with a little persistence.  Dry/dropper rigs can be useful as well, especially in the second half of the float.

Below Ashon Dam

Fishing has been day to day down here, with overcast days being much better than bright and sunny ones. Sunny days will have anglers focusing on nymphing, either under an indicator or under a dry fly, overcast days will lend themselves to streamer fishing and more dry fly fishing in the midday hours.  For nymphs, we are finding successes with small PTs 16-20, red Jig Napoleons 16-18, red Zebra midges 14-18, Jake’s SH Perdigon, and Cocktail nymphs 16-18.  For dry flies, we like the MFC hi-vis baetis, Sparkle Flag Duns, and Purple Craze 14-18.  A handful of Copenhaver and Paraspinners in 16-20 are a good add as well.

Get out there, enjoy these beautiful fall days, 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.

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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