Seven Hours at Last Chance

Seven hours walking along the banks of the Henry’s Fork, standing in the current, looking at bugs and birds.  Almost nothing was going on in the water, until a explosion of action for 15 minutes or so nearing sunset.  Huge drakes popping off the water and fish gulping them down all around me, while rain poured down and the sky was so dark I could barely see. I missed my shot at a really good fish… pulled the fly right out of his mouth. Then my leader got tangled in a knot and I missed the remaining minutes of the hatch re-rigging. Dang.

Nobody told me, and I guess maybe I should have asked, but the Ranch section of the Henry’s Fork that actually has fishy habitat is short. I walked all the way from the fishing access at Last Chance downstream around the Big Bend, planning on making it to the stock bridge, perhaps 3 miles. When the little trail vanished into the tall grass, the character of the water changed as well.  Slow (really slow!), shallow and without feature, it looked like a lake more than a river. I cut straight across the oxbow back to the water that had people on it.

The flies I bought at Trouthunter were not the right bugs. When the big brown drakes started floating down the water, the fish were gulping down the adult duns, and with the low light and rain drops, I could not see the sparse patterns I’d bought. I dug out a hair wing dun I had tied and hung a elk hair caddis off the back, and the combo worked well enough to put two fish in the net in a half hour.

All in all, not a bad afternoon and a pretty good start to this leg of my wanderings.

A bluebird day in the early afternoon. And a lot of water to cover.
Every rock I picked up had at least one leech clinging to it, this one had four.


Looking for bugs
Seems like this is a brown drake nymph, they would be emerging from the surface around 8 pm. Caddis case on the right.
Little Henrys Fork Rainbow
The first fish I managed to get to eat my wulf-style green drake on the ranch section.
Little caddis making friends
I sat down to re-rig and this little caddis sat down with me. I counted at least 4 kinds of trout food flying about.
No, you can't take my picture
The second fish of the day, .286 fish per hour.

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