The temperature when I arose this morning was nearly twenty degrees below zero. From my second floor studio window I look out at a world buried in snow with the knowledge that it will likely remain this way for at least the next two months.
For many who have not experienced life in this kind of climate it is reasonable to question the judgment if not the sanity of a man whose life largely revolves around fly fishing.
While it is doubtful that any explanation will fully satisfy those skeptics, I believe there are some who can appreciate at least five of the reasons that I make my home in Henry’s Fork country.
Rainbow trout that reside in the Henry’s Fork grow large on a diet consisting mainly of aquatic insects, and I know of no other river where a twenty six incher will take a size 16 or even smaller dry fly.
About half the length of the Henry’s Fork holds a healthy population of brown trout. Though I am acquainted with others from similar origin, this European immigrant commands the highest respect and appreciation.
Fishing for smallish brook trout in tributary streams takes me fondly back to my youth, but the brookies of Henry’s Lake can exceed eight pounds. And though I am a nostalgic man at this point in life, I am far more likely to be found on the lake than some tiny creek.
The native trout of this region, Yellowstone Cutthroat have been reduced to a small percentage of their original habitat. The headwaters of the Henry’s Fork host a minor population of these natives but they thrive in Henry’s Lake where they grow especially large.
Cut-bows are a mixture of cutthroat and rainbow trout. These hard fighting hybrids are quite common in the Henry’s Fork but it is Henry’s Lake where they have become most prominent. The largest known cut-bow from that amazing still water fishery exceeded seventeen pounds.
Yes, winter can be long in Henry’s Fork country but it will eventually pass. And while a significant separation from fly fishing must be endured as a result, the harshest of seasons provides the source of my happiness.
Snow that piles deep in the high country becomes the water that assures continued existence for the five big reasons for living here.