The weather this fall has been unusually warm. That has mostly been a good thing for fishing around here. The Henry’s Fork has been fishing well since mid September, and doesn’t show any signs of falling off. From here on out it’s not going get any warmer, so we don’t have to worry about fishing bathtub water until next summer. Dry fly activity continues to be great, with blue wings hatching on the typical overcast and drizzly (or snowy) days, and midge hatches exploding on the sunny days.
The best dry fly fishing has been from the Ashton Dam downstream to Vernon Bridge. The main flats have has fish up on either blue wings or midges ever since the water cooled down enough to get things going again. The flows are super low, so the bottom of your boat might meet the bottom of the river a few times. The backwater sections (Chester and Fun Farm) have had great dry fly fishing. There is much speculation on what microscopic nonsense these fish could be eating, but a small (size 18 or 20) spinner has always been a consistent producer.
The subsurface fishing is, as always, really good. Split back BWO nymphs (size 18 or so) dropped off of a big Hare’s Ear, Rubberleg, or Prince Nymph (size 8-12) is a good way to go if the bug and bobber method is your thing.
One of the best things about fall on the Henry’s Fork is the streamer fishing. The yank of a fish eating a streamer brings us all back to being 10 years old and casting Panther Martin’s with grandpa’s Ugly Stik (okay, maybe not all of us, but a good number of us.) Chester to Fun Farm is great streamer territory with a lot of big fish. The past couple of years I’ve almost exclusively fished the Sparkle Minnow in either the sculpin or smoke color. Other good patterns are the Boogeyman, Clousers (black or baby rainbow color), or small Bellyache Minnows. The flows are high enough in Chester to Fun Farm that the fish are spread throughout. Fishing the middle structure in here can pay off big time. Our shop is open 9-5, Tuesday through Saturday in the winter, so stop on by for the latest from the river.
By Daniel J. Lane in our Ashton Fly Shop