By: Chris Lawson
After a long winter of shoveling snow, putting on multiple layers of clothes, and sitting by the fire, the first signs of spring are just as appealing as a trip to Mac Donald’s after a three day fast. The days start to be a little longer, the birds start to chirp, the snow starts melting, and the leaves start to bud on the cottonwood trees. With all these welcome appearances, the fishing becomes delightful.
During the winter months, a few die hard anglers endure some brutal weather, fueling an appetite for another bent rod. That fisherman is not me. I would rather stay indoors in the warmth, rather than chipping ice from my guides, and risk having to put my hands in the cold water to release a trout in well below freezing temperatures. Usually by late February it starts to get above freezing in the mid afternoons. When this starts to happen, I come out of hibernation, and I think ALL anglers should do the same!
As the days get longer and the temperatures rise, the fish become very active. The rainbows begin to move towards their spawning areas, and the browns follow them. The aquatic insects start to hatch, and the fish are ready to feed. We have prolific hatches of Baetis in mid March through May depending on weather conditions.
We also have the infamous Mothers Day Caddis hatch in late April and early May. This hatch will literally bring every fish to the surface. It can bring some of the best fishing of the entire year! The nymph and streamer fishing is just as amazing. Check out our streamer film we put together this past March. Check it out, it is a great example of some of the exciting streamer fishing available in the spring. Spring without question is one of my, if not my very favorite time of year to fish.
One thing to keep in mind with the early spring, is winter has a free pass to show up any day or anytime. You will need to prepare yourself with plenty of warm clothing, and a few extra days to give yourself plenty of time if you have a day or two of bad weather. If the weather is good, you will have that many more days to fish! You may hear that most of the Henry’s Fork is closed to fishing until the infamous opening weekend prior to Memorial Day. If you have heard this rumor, you are mistaken. Most of the Henry’s Fork is open year round. The only sections closed are the river running through Harriman State Park to Riverside Campground and the section from the Ashton Dam to the Vernon Bridge. Everything else is open along with the South Fork of the Snake, sections of the Madison River, and much more! One of the biggest benefits to fishing the early spring, is you will not be competing with many other anglers. Just we locals are about the only competition!
If you decide to fish this time of year, we offer a discounted guide rate. I can’t think of a better way of spending some vacation time than a few days slamming fish during our early spring season. On behalf of Henry’s Fork Anglers, we hope to see you then! Please feel free to contact us with questions (208)558-7525.