We attended the International Fly Fishing Film Festival (IF4) on Tuesday night. If that didn’t get you amped up I don’t know what would. Couple this with a very favorable weather forecast and expect some great times on the water for the week ahead in Henry’s Fork country.
Upper Henry’s Fork
It’s tough to get to a lot of this water. If you have a snow machine or you want to get some good exercise on shoe shoes or cross country skis you can expect some fine fishing on the Henry’s Fork above Mack’s Inn and on upstream into the Henry’s Lake Outlet. Remember, this water is only open to catch and release fishing and there is a closed area from the confluence of the Henry’s Lake Outlet upstream. Use egg patterns, beadheads and leeches.
Tyler Treece took a guide trip through the Box Canyon this past weekend and reported very good fishing. His clients used a double nymph system with Pats Black Rubberlegs the top producer. They also caught some nice trout with egg imitations. Boating access is tough and the river is very low, almost too low to float unless you have a small skiff. You need to slide the boat down the road from the Island Park Dam and get it out with a snow machine at Last Chance. It is definitely worth all of the trouble if you can do it. You don’t need a boat. You can walk down from the dam or up from Last Chance. Use snow shoes or cross country skis to get to some of the best access. Remember, we rent skis and shoe shoes at our shop.
There have been lots of fish surface-feeding on midges at Last Chance. Most of these trout are in the 10 – 14 inch range but there are definitely some big boys if you keep your eyes open. You can also score fishing the runs with beadhead nymphs and egg patterns.
Closed to fish until June 15.
Middle Henry’s Fork – Pinehaven to Warm River
Much of this water will not be accessible until the snow is gone unless you’re lucky enough to own a home in Pinehaven or have a good friend who does. There have been some good days with midges in this section.
Warm River to Ashton
The boat launch at Stone Bridge still has plenty of snow and ice but you can slide your boat over it. The takeout is open. Fishing has been good on warmer days, especially below the confluence with Warm River. There are some good places to look for fishing feeding on midges in the slicks and back eddies but the most consistent fishing has been with nymphs. Devan Ence and his wife Jasmine fished just below the confluence with Warm River a few days ago and reported very good fishing. His fly called the French Tickler out produced everything else. It is basically a bead head soft hackle. I think he could use some help with a better name for this fly. You’re welcome to make suggestions on our Facebook page.
Lower Henry’s Fork – Ashton Dam to St. Anthony
The river is closed to fishing from the Ashton Dam to Vernon Bridge from December 1 until the Saturday prior to Memorial Day. (May 25) The reason for this closure is to protect spawning Rainbow Trout. Rainbow trout are starting to spawn throughout the river system. Anglers are advised to avoid wading through spawning redds. We also do not recommend fishing directly to spawning trout. You can expect plenty of action from amped up rainbows and greedy browns fishing egg patterns in the deeper holding water without harassing spawning trout.
The Henry’s Fork has been fishing very well with nymphs from the Vernon Bridge to St. Anthony. Midges are producing some good dry fly fishing for small to medium sized trout as well as whitefish. If you’re in search of larger fish you’ll likely need to get deep with nymphs or streamers.
Lower Henry’s Fork – St. Anthony to Confluence
The water is in good shape on the lower river. Access can also be a little tough as it normally is on this part of the river. I haven’t floated this stretch yet this season but the snow has melted down enough so that floating is possible. Zebra, Prince, and Pheasant Tail Nymphs have been productive as well as large black or brown Rubberlegs. Browns make up the highest percentage of the trout population in this water. Streamers are a good choice to try to connect with a big brown.
Henry’s Fork Tributaries
Fall River is a great option if you want to get away from the crowds. Fishing has been good to excellent with bead head pheasant tails, prince nymphs and zebra nymphs. Larger Rubberlegs have also been productive. Egg patterns have also been good.
There is good access to lower Warm River near the campground. There is a snow machine parking area near the campground. Warm River is a good option with nymphs and streamers. There are a few small hold over hatchery fish from the previous year and also some larger wild rainbows and browns up from the Henry’s Fork. Most of these larger trout move back downstream when the summer season arrives or end up in the cooler of a bait fisherman.
The stretch from Hebgen Dam to Quake Lake is open on a year round basis. Fishing has been good with nymphs and streamers. Look for improvement with milder weather. This section between the lakes can be very good in March and April. Remember, you’ll need a Montana fishing license to fish the Madison
All of the lakes are frozen. Henry’s Lake is now closed to all fishing until the Saturday prior to Memorial Day. Island Park Reservoir and Hebgen Lake are open year round and are popular for ice fishing. I don’t know much about ice fishing since I’ve never done it and have no intention of trying.
South Fork of the Snake
Currently the stream flow at Irwin is slightly over 900 cfs. This is at least half the normal flow for this time of the year. Fishing has really picked up. It is common to find pods of nice fish feeding in the slow pools on the surface. Trout are also concentrated in the deeper runs and fast pockets. Zebra nymphs, Rubberlegs and egg patterns have been the top producers. Streamers have also be productive for larger trout.
Yellowstone National Park
Closed to fishing. Will open on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.