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FLY FISHING HENRY'S FORK OF THE SNAKE RIVER IN IDAHO

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Henry's Fork of the Snake River, located in Eastern Idaho, is one of the most famous trout streams in all of the United States. It's prolific hatches and large wild rainbows make it a tremendous dry fly fishery. The river flows for approximately 150 miles and within its journey passes some of the more classic dry fly water in the United States. Gentle flowing ranch land, quality pocket water, and spring creek like sections make up much of this tremendous fishery. Check the Special Regulations area's before heading out.

From its source at Henry's Lake, the river flows for almost twenty miles before reaching Island Park Reservoir. This stretch of river is interrupted by the joining of Big Springs approximately 12 miles from Henry's Lake. The first half of this section, from Henry's Lake to where Big Springs flows into the river is a good stretch of water that is not as popular as much of the water below Island Park Reservoir. The water from the mouth of Big Springs to Island Park Reservoir is cold and also a productive stretch. This tight section of river is characteristic of beautiful pools, long runs, and riffles.

Below Island Park Reservoir begins the one of the most popular stretches of river. A mile below the tail-water outflow of the reservoir the Buffalo River joins Henry's Fork. The junction of these two rivers is the start of the Box Canyon which is famous for its huge rainbows that inhabit this section of tumbling pocket water. This section is approximately 3 miles long and offers excellent fishing especially with big buggy nymphs all season and Salmon Flies during the spring. The fishing here is especially good for anglers looking for an "easier" place to fish.

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After flowing through Box Canyon the river slows down and widens once it emerges from its narrow tumbling course. Flowing gently past abundant weed beds this area resembles a giant spring creek more then the definition of a river would depict. This seven mile stretch through Last Chance and Harriman State Park is not only home to an abundance of large wild rainbows but also a diversity of aquatic life. Blinding hatches of mayflies and caddis come off during the spring, summer, and fall. Delicate and accurate casts are necessary here in order to be consistently successful. Some days it may seem like you need a six weight to reach the fish but a four weight in order to not spook them. A nine foot five weight rod is generally an excellent choice here. Don't forget your light tippets especially when the flies get small.
Hatch Chart
Below the park the river flows for a few more miles before reaching Riverside Campground. After passing the campground it enters beautiful Cardiac Canyon. The canyon provides tremendous pocket water angling for nearly 8 miles before reaching Upper and Lower Mesa falls. These falls are from 65 to 115 feet in height.

After the river cascades over Mesa Falls it slows down in pace once again though not as slow as through the Harriman State Park area. The river flows for several miles before reaching the confluence of the Warm River. After joining the Warm River the Henry's Fork flows for several more miles before reaching Ashton Reservoir. This stretch of river is characteristic of long riffles, runs, and deep pools. Brown trout and a small population of Yellowstone Cutthroats join the population of rainbows below Mesa Falls.

Below Ashton Reservoir is another tail-water section very worthy of recognition. This seven mile area from Ashton Dam to Chester Reservoir is an excellent cold water fishery. The river here is exceptionally prolific as well. Many insects hatch here with good dependability. Some anglers choose to fish this area because it is less recognized and crowded then the famous stretch upriver through Box Canyon and Harriman State Park. The section of river below Chester Reservoir is a good section of river but a little more limited to access. Some quality fish are found throughout this stretch of river.

Hatches are excellent on Henry's Fork. It is one of the most prolific of all the first class rivers of the western states. Mayflies include Pale Morning Duns, Blue-winged Olives, Green Drakes, Gray Drakes, and Mahogany Duns as well as a few other less significant ones. Caddis are also extremely prolific along with stoneflies such as Golden Stones, Salmon Flies, and Yellow Sallies. These hatches, although not as diverse as the Delaware River in New York State, are extremely prolific. Blizzard hatches of these insects are possible on any given day during the season.

Access to Henry's fork can be found along Route 20, Route 47, and other side roads along the river. There are several areas to fish along the river which are clearly marked.

Henry's Fork of the Snake is a spectacular river and fishery. Many anglers come to this river every season to fish its diverse waters. The closest commercials flights are in Idaho Falls, Idaho and Jackson, Wyoming. If your looking for quality dry fly fishing or fishing for oversized trout, then Henry's Fork is a superb choice.