Barring limitations of weather, I will fish in any season. I do not always seek easy fishing, big trout, or comfortable temperatures but late June and early July can provide all three. This is because it is summer and the time for the big mayflies known as Drakes.
At a minimum of size 12, Green, Brown, and Gray Drakes grace the first fifty miles of the Henry’s Fork, and nearly any angler who happens to be there during this period will generally find uncommon success.
With few exceptions, most aquatic insects that inhabit this legendary river are at least three sizes smaller, and this limits a trout’s enthusiasm for a single floating target.
There is no mistaking the assertive and sometimes violent rise of a heavy trout to any one of the drake species. And it is probably for this reason that I share the excitement exhibited by anyone else who is fortunate enough to be on the water when they are hatching.
With differing habitat requirements and preferred activity periods, drake action will take place in various types of water, from fast current to slow moving glides. While Green Drakes will generally emerge in late morning, Brown Drakes are mostly an evening hatch that can extend into darkness. Gray Drakes are not quite as predictable and can be found emerging at nearly any point in the day.
The spinners from all three drakes prefer the calm of the morning or evening for returning to the water to deposit eggs. Trout response to both duns and spinners is roughly equal.
It should come as no surprise that the Henry’s Fork is never busier than during Drake time. But the charitable treatment instantly disappears when these special hatches come to an end and the trout return to their more typical insolence. But it is wonderful while it lasts.