We took a four day trip to Henry's Fork last weekend. The area is absolutly beautiful, lush and green compared to the front range of CO. We did well with soft hackles but did not kill them like we did last year. Got into a prolific PMD hatch that I thought would have brought every fish in the river to the surface but that was not the case, cannot figure that one out. Landed a few risers on a PMD cripple, if you do not have that fly in your box you should tie some. It consistantly fools more fish than any other PMD pattern that I have found. witnessed both the green and brown drake hatches this year. These bug are huge and hatched for only about an hour at a time. The fish got very selective and tough to catch. The fly of the trip was the good old flashback RS2. On sunday hooked about 10-12 fish in the faster water in 3 hours on that fly. Landed 3 over 18, if you read the other thread on fishing fast water I had to chase all of them down stream while applying as much side pressure as possible. Hooked a few more big fish that went airborn and threw the small barbless hook. Another fly that did well was a rusty spinner imitation. Renee Harrop has a great Trusty Rusty Spinner pattern. We seemed to catch alot of fish on unusual small patterns. I think those fish see so many size 14 PMD imitations and drake imitations this time of year that they turn off. By going down to 18 of 20 we were able to take many more fish. Fishing was good catching was slower this year. The fishing report for the Ranch section in one of the fly shops simply said Good Luck!
06-26-2002, 09:59 AM
Sounds like a great trip Brad.
06-26-2002, 11:53 PM
That is such a great river I fished it two years ago. I wonder if the slow down you saw was dure to the yearawful drought they have had for the last two years? Water got really really low last
Nathan, I love that place. The water was a bit lower this year than last but they said that the snowpack was good this year. They had an unusually cold spring so all of the hatches were delayed. I have heard that sometimes it takes a couple of good days of hatches to get the fish really keyed on a paticular bug. The drought is a huge problem here in CO. Mandatory water restrictions all over the place. Some rivers in the southwest may lose all their fish.
Is it not wonderful to fish for trout under the most difficult situations. For those who have never ventured to the fork it is not about a wild western freestone river where trout are opportunistic. But a wide gentle slow flowing river that is rarely over waist deep with fine gravel channels between the weed beds. Food is abundent and fish are selective because they have so much to eat that they have the resourses to key not only on one size of a certain aquatic insect but on one certain aspect of the hatch. When there is a blanket hatch we are talking about millions and millions of flies coming down river. Even if only 1 out of every 50 PMD's is a cripple then a mature rainbow has more than enough cripples passing by his feeding zone to feed on and substane life. Many of us who lived on the fork and fished in the late 70's and early 80's noticed a drastic change in feeding habits as the popularity of the ranch took place. Fishing duns to fish feeding on duns became less and less an opportunity as fish most likely due to being hooked so often started to change feeding habits. Over the next couple of years it seemed fish fed on emergers mostly. Many of inexperienced fishermaen were frustated and could not understand the difference between a fish rise for a dun and a rise for an emerger or a spinner. Frustation was everywhere but of course the local fly shops would turn the new folks on to emergers and before one knew it fish had moved on to cripples as a food. The difficulty of catching fish on the ranch has increased over the last twenty years and that's great, if you want to test your ability of your observation skill this is the place for the challenge. Here is the greatest place to understand that fly fishings greatest reward is the observation not only of the enviro you are in but how you as a person fits into that situation.
Glad you had a great time Brad let me know what the river was like up where I mentioned in the e-mail.
OC, I believe that you are 100% correct in your explanation of the feeding habits of those fish. I think that many of the fish on the ranch flats feed subsurface. As you well know with all the weeds and clear shallow water it is all but impossible to nymph effectively. At least we could not figure out how to do it. That is why we did well subsurface in the huge riffle above osborn bridge, no weeds and faster water enables a closer approach and drag free drift. We scouted your spot one afternoon and fished it another morning from 5 to 7. The closest gravel bar is about 100 yards from the deep water is that the one you told me about. We also fished from the large boulders along the left bank. I lost 10 flies and caught no fish. My friend took one nice fish but no pigs. He started fishing a soft hackle in the riffle and took 2 fish on one drift, pretty cool. We did not meet your pal but did hit the A-Bar. Does that bring back fond memories?
I'm not sure about the gravel bar but it used to be directly below the dam on the far side.
Nymph fishing is an attempt at futility down on the flats though in the canyon where there is far less food and the river is more like most western rivers it's done often.
Did you notice how hundreds of swallows come from nowhere seconds before a blanket hatch starts? Often have wondered how they know as the swallows are more than a hunded yards away from the river and then they are skiming the water exactly as the first duns wings begin to dry. The bats in the evening caddis hatch are a sight to see too. Hope that there are still many left as they are a great indicator of the health of the watershed.
The A-bar used to be bad burgers, pool games and good clean healthy fist fights, boy was that a nice way to relax after a long day of intense fishing.
The swallows and bats are still there. We fished the brown drake hatch well into the night in the first pool above the huge riffle above osborn bridge. Is that millionaire pool? The crazy thing was that the bats would echo locate on the fly line and tap it now and again. It was pretty creepy. There also is a huge flock of seagulls that would appear out of nowhere for the green drake hatch. As soon as the hatch was over they would dissappear. Unfortunately I think your gravel bar is gone.