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Spring Fishing on the Henry’s Fork

Feb 7, 2012 | Mike Lawson

A prolific caddis hatch fills the sky on the Henry's Fork.


By HFA guide John Hudgens

It’s never too early to start thinking about going fishing! Late March through mid May is one of the best times to fish any western trout stream, especially the Henry's Fork. Pre-runoff on the Henrys Fork offers under utilized, world class dry fly fishing with abundant hatches of midges, caddis, and mayflies. These are some of the first hatches of the season, and after a long dormant winter, the fish are eager to feed. Between ice out and runoff, and before the summer crowds arrive, there is a six week window during which I look forward to fishing for large, rising trout without seeing another angler. This spring, I will be guiding some of the best kept secrets of the lower Henry's Fork.

The spring brings on unique angling situations made especially interesting by changing weather conditions on a tail water river. One day you may find yourself fishing a prolific Baetis or March Brown hatch through a snow shower, only to find yourself sight fishing to large brown trout in the warm sunshine the following day. Cool, cloudy days produce prolific mayfly hatches and large pods of rising fish. On warmer days, Mother's Day Caddis may appear in hordes, and one may spot numerous fish rising along the banks. During this time, an early start is not necessary. The water temperature is cool enough that the insects begin to hatch late in the morning and carry on through the afternoon. However, one may use a nymph or streamer early in the day with the possibility of catching some exceptionally large trout.

The Henry's Fork offers seven diverse sections of water which are open to fishing and floating during the spring months. Feature ranges from riffle water to slow, beautiful dry fly flats, as well as unique, spring creek like channels packed with fish. As well, the South Fork of the Snake has over 60 miles of productive water. Here you can expect to fish to native cutthroats, browns, and rainbows using a drift boat to access various gravel bars and other choice wade-fishing spots. In addition to fishing the Henry's Fork and the South Fork of the Snake, you also have the option to fish Montana’s legendary Madison River. We all appreciate casting to rising fish without dealing with crowds.

So call our fly shop and talk with Chris or Jake to set up a spring fishing trip and experience what many other anglers are missing out on!


About the author...

This year marks John Hudgens' 11th season with Henry's Fork Anglers and he is one of our most requested guides. John lives year-round in the Greater Yellowstone Area which is evidence to his dedication as a fly fishing guide and contributes to his extensive knowledge of our area fisheries on a year-round basis.