The land I call home is a fly fishing paradise. With diversity nearly beyond description, the lakes, rivers, and smaller waters of Yellowstone country provide a wide variety of options capable of satisfying any trout angler, and I enjoy them all.
But like all who pursue trout with a fly fishing rod, one personal preference rises above all else to dominate my attention.
It is not because I am now old that the slower portions of the Henry’s Fork have become so attractive – it has always been this way. This is not to imply that a current that gently tugs at my waders is not more suitable to aging legs than the forceful flow of fast moving water over a coarse stream bottom, nor is it because the fishing is easier.
While far from being physically taxing, there is a mental intensity that comes with selecting exactly the right fly pattern and executing the perfect cast that is needed when engaging big, wild rainbows that reject any semblance of imperfection.
I fish these clear, slow moving currents knowing that my best is sometimes not good enough and that my mistakes will often outnumber those of my opponents. It is because of this that any success comes with a sense of accomplishment and validation unique to this type of fishing.
All expectation must be tempered with a sense of humility when one plays by rules that do not permit disrespect for the rarity of great trout that survive mainly on small aquatic organisms.
I do not need a trout badly enough from these special waters to resort to a streamer, large attractor, or any other means intended to short circuit its resistance to flawed presentation or incorrect fly selection during a hatch.
There are plenty of other situations where such methods are perfectly acceptable, but they do not include the Harriman Ranch or waters of similar characteristics of the Henry’s Fork.
The Harriman or Railroad Ranch is one of only a few stretches of the Henry’s Fork that is subject to a seasonal closure. June is the time when I will again wade the slow currents of this historic and pristine section that I have loved since early youth. And there is no other place like it on earth.