Sure, the Henry’s Fork is infamous as the place where fly anglers from all over the world descend from June to September to drift #22 emerging PMD cripple patterns to 20” rainbows…only to get the high-nose snub. But what about working big trout on Henry’s Fork all by your lonesome?
Just pack away the notion of the river being a highbrow, purist, summer dry fly pilgrimage and dig out your down coat, neoprene waders and a good pair of gloves and the river, and its trout, are all yours.
Winter fishing on the Henry’s Fork can be flat out stellar with the baddest fish of summer not getting pressured at all after the snow falls. Only a few years ago regulations shut down most of the river from November to May. What only a few people seem to be aware of is that there are new fishing regulations that now have the river open year-round (excluding Harriman State Park) and virtually nobody dragging tail to the river’s edge. I get it. Numb fingers, iced guides, and wading in snow isn’t like Bahamas bonefishing in board shorts and a hoody. But if your willing to push the seasonal envelope, you get a serious shot at bruisers and the chance to drop into some of the most stunning trout turf on planet earth.
Sections of the river like Box Canyon, Riverside, Warm River to Ashton all the way down to the confluence with the South Fork of the Snake all have accessible angling if you don’t mind putting in a little to a lot of work. I’ve pushed rafts over snow ledges, snowshoed into canyons, waded drifting ice, and even snowmobiled into remote sections with some of my best fish of the year waiting for me on the backside.
As with most winter fishing, the game is either going slow and tapping noses with nymphs and streamers or finding modest warm-spell days with midging trout in flat water and back eddies. It’s fishing, so it isn’t always game on. But what never disappoints on winter days, ever, even when I can’t move fish, is packing the Nikon and shooting the unique faces of the Henry’s Fork in the off-season. This river lives in my veins. So trust me, you don’t want to wait until the spring thaw to get your Henry’s Fork fix.
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