To state that the Henry’s Fork supports an extensive menu of trout foods might be an understatement. Aquatic invertebrates that annually cycle through a full year on what has been described by some as the most prolific insect factory on the planet represent an ever-changing display of insect life. For the most part, hatches on this amazing fishery seldom exceed size fourteen as individual organisms and the majority are considerably smaller.
Much of the difficulty associated with this iconic river relates to the precision required in overcoming exceptionally wary trout that grow large by resisting any weakness in physical skill or intellectual qualification. Fortunately, there is an exception to the small flies, long leaders, and delicate presentation that generally describe the Henry’s Fork dry fly experience. This thirty-day reprieve from eye squinting intensity occurs at the beginning of the summer season when the days finally warm and winter becomes just a memory in the high country.
Known as the month of big flies, it is understandable why June is the most attractive time to visit the Henry’s Fork. This is the period when fishing can be a comparatively relaxed exercise as cautious trout succumb to the irresistible attraction of flies size twelve and larger.
The feast begins with giant Salmon flies that can reach two inches in length followed by Golden Stones, only slightly smaller than their orange colored cousins.
For decades, Green Drakes have been the headline hatch for much of the length of the Henry’s Fork. At a solid size ten, they are actually slightly smaller than the Brown Drakes which inhabit slower stretches of the upper river. At size twelve, Gray Drakes carry enough bulk to entice the same enthusiastic response as the larger mayflies, and they exist from the source to the confluence with the main Snake River more than fifty miles downstream.
Understandably, the opportunity of fishing to big rising rainbows and browns on imitations as large as size four comes with the condition of patience. But while June is assured to be busy on the Henry’s Fork, there is no better time to witness its magnificence while sampling its treasures.