Like a rude house guest that doesn’t seem to know when to leave, the departure of winter has yet to occur.
Stiff wind and precipitation often in the form of snow seem to characterize every overcast day. The result has been a weakness in the conditions needed for productive dry fly fishing on the Henry’s Fork.
With this lingering limitation, most of my days on the water have been spent casting subsurface offerings. However, this is not to say that finesse in all aspects of approach, presentation, and choice of tackle does not apply.
Flows in the Henry’s Fork thus far in 2016 have been far less than would be considered typical. Exceptionally clear and shallow water will always place a higher premium on precision, and this year the river is reminiscent of fishing found on a much smaller stream.
Longer casting with a lighter rod and line is made necessary by unusually thin water that cause elevated awareness on the part of trout. This also means that spotting fish at greater distance and a very cautious approach are as vital as any ingredient of a successful day.
The problem becomes compounded on a bright, clear day when the fish become even less tolerant of foreign activity within their habitat. However, these are conditions that have generally prevailed on most days that I have been on the water. And despite the absence of prohibitive wind or heavy precipitation, air temperature has often been capable of causing ice to form in the rod guides, which adds even more to the level of difficulty.
Compensating for heightened trout awareness has also meant the application of a longer and finer leader than would normally be utilized at this time of year when spring runoff begins to increase depth while reducing water clarity.
Smaller nymphs and streamers of lighter weight have also been helpful in overcoming a degree of selectivity generally reserved for later in the year when angler attention becomes more intense.
But despite the fact that an extension of winter and exceptionally low water have not made it easy, most of my time on the water has been enjoyable and reasonably productive.
The signs of an approaching spring are definitely here and the sense of anticipation for all that lies directly ahead cannot be suppressed. And life continues to be very good on the Henry’s Fork.