Henrys Fork Advice needed - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-04-2015, 11:49 PM Thread Starter
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Henrys Fork Advice needed

My wife and I are planning a trip to MT to fish with a favorite guide for a few days (not sure where - we'll decide when we get there). We would like to give the legendary Henrys Fork a go for a few days in mid-July, but our guide does not have Idaho permits, (and does not really have Idaho guide contacts). I am looking for some advice as to a lodge / guide service or an independent (licensed) guide that you can recommend. Lots of guide services in West that guide the Fork, but seems to us that a more local service would be better, if for no other reason than the probability of more water time versus commuting time for the guide. We are also uncertain as to the wisdom of staying in West Yellowstone and making the 45 minute drive twice a day versus staying in Island Park. Lots of choices in West versus not so many in Island park. One of the big factors is that I assume that the "last Light" fishing is probably not to be missed, which is pointing me toward staying in Island Park.

Any advice is appreciated!

Jim

I can't understand why some folks think a drink can is harder to carry out when it is empty than it was to carry in when it was full.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-05-2015, 12:07 AM
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Henry's Fork Anglers and Trouthunter are the people i'd contact..

"Never be afraid to show love" Frank Moore
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-05-2015, 12:13 AM
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Henry's Fork Guide

The Henry's Fork fishes really well in mid July! The guiding thing works a little different in Idaho than Montana. In Idaho there is no such thing as an Independent Guide. To guide in the State of Idaho you have to be licensed through an Outfitter. Any guide that doesn't book you through an Outfitter is an illegal guide. The reason I inform you of this, is because if you are hire an illegal guide and are stopped by the authorities you can be held liable.

I recommend Pat from Trout Hunter. He is an outstanding fishing guide. I have recommended many of my personal clients to fish with him on the Henry's Fork. None of them have come back disappointed. His days book up quick in June and July so I would call sooner than later to book your float! if you have any questions please feel free to PM me.

Tim
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-05-2015, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by roballen View Post
Henry's Fork Anglers and Trouthunter are the people i'd contact..
Ditto that, but since Mike sold the HFA I prefer Trouthunter but both are quality shops with quality guides.

West is a cluster....... in July. You will have a much more relaxing experience if you stay in Last Chance (where the fly shops are) and you can fish the evening hatch after dinner. Just so you know, the town of Island Park is 30 miles long, so if you make reservations in Island Park you can still be a long way from The Ranch (Harriman State Park-The classic flatwater section of the HF.) The two places that are close that I can recommend are:

The Henry's Fork Lodge. First cabin all the way. Good restaurant and decent wine list. Spendy.

Angler's Lodge. A nice hotel on the banks of the river with a decent restaurant and a full bar.

Hatch timing can vary by a couple of weeks year to year, but in general the Brown Drakes are done by mid-July and your main morning-mid day hatch are Flavs (Drunella flavilinea) with some PMD's, BWO's and maybe some Yellow Sally's, with caddis in the evenings.

Have fun.

They minded their own business, did their jobs, and hunted close.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-06-2015, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark Vegwert View Post
The Henry's Fork Lodge. First cabin all the way. Good restaurant and decent wine list. Spendy.

Angler's Lodge. A nice hotel on the banks of the river with a decent restaurant and a full bar.
Great advice! You can also book a room at Trout Hunter. They are right on the river as well.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-06-2015, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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Many thanks for all the advice.

TimW, booked Pat for 3 days at TH, John McDaniel for 1 day (recommended by Rich Paini at TH).

Jim

I can't understand why some folks think a drink can is harder to carry out when it is empty than it was to carry in when it was full.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-06-2015, 06:54 PM
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+1 on the guide and lodge suggestions. Personally I would prefer a little earlier than mid July but I have had some amazing hatches up there in July. One time the caddis hatch at the Ranch was so thick that I couldn't walk anywhere because I would breathe them in and choke!! I had to cover my face and walk. I wish I still had the video because it really was a sight to see. The HF up there can be crazy fun/frustrating. Really tests you as an angler. It's an entirely different ball game up there!
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-05-2015, 02:08 PM
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Jim, since you are going to be in IP I highly suggest a day on Sheridan Reservoir. Likely that your guide could take you there as well as the Henry's Fork. You will catch a lot of rainbows at Sheridan and you should be right in the middle of the damsel fly hatch.

Good luck and have fun!
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-05-2015, 09:24 PM
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too bad all the older guys i used to really look up to and respect are getting out of the business.

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-13-2015, 02:33 PM
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Mike Lawson is still the general manager of the Henry Fork Anglers, which he co-founded in the 70s. I have sent multitudes of clients and friends to HFA and will continue to do so. First class guide list which includes Bob Lamm , who was l think the second Guide of the Year ever selected by Rod and Reel magazine. Never have l received any negative feedback from anybody l sent there, and many acquaintances have returned to fish with them annually since the 80s.. fwiw
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-13-2015, 07:05 PM
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Some quixotic postal official must have designated a thirty mile section of western highway as a town called Island Park. Last Chance, the "urban" area, is a mile or so long, depending on how you classify downtown, on both sides of the highway. It's compact enough to walk from most fly shops to restaurants to the oh-so accessible banks of the Henry's Fork, including the upper part of the Harriman Ranch parkland.

In the current (Feb.-March) issue of Fly Fisherman, local legend Rene Harrop observes that the Green Drake hatch has become such an event that the trout, which could be caught on a Yellow Humpy a few decades ago, now demand exacting imitations.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-15-2015, 01:21 PM
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HF was my go to destination for many years and Lawson's shop was first rate.
Then the Fork kind of crashed and I started going to Silver Creek and have been doing so for last 25 years but since I am pulling the plug and retiring at end of the year and following the fish, I will have a lot more time to look at options in the summer and plan to reacquaint myself with the Fork!!!
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-16-2015, 01:04 AM
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You have received excellent advice in booking John McDaniel for the Ranch section of the HF. He is extremely knowledgeable, super energetic and has fished the Henry's Fork for over 25 years. Wading the Ranch is the only guiding he does, so specializing has made him one of the best if not THE best guide on that section of the river. He's also a wonderful guy to spend a day with and a terrific teacher, having been an anthropology professor before he retired. You will learn more in a day on the Ranch with John than multiple days with anyone else, in my opinion. You were fortunate to get him.

You should have good evening fishing to caddis and PMD spinners and maybe flavs as well. The water right across from the fly shops in Last Chance and down into the upper Ranch section is excellent, so it's easy to finish dinner and hop right into the river to fish until past 9 PM in July.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-16-2015, 09:52 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the advice. We are really looking forward to July and fishing the ranch. John McDaniel happens to have taught just up the road from us, so aside from all the good things we have heard about him, it should be fun.

Jim

I can't understand why some folks think a drink can is harder to carry out when it is empty than it was to carry in when it was full.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-16-2015, 11:50 AM
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Im just gonna throw this out there. the ranch is neat and all, have to see it, but if you want to have a good day catching fish without people bugging you all day, go slightly down river toward where the Warm River runs into the Henrys Fork. there are some farm roads that you can use to access the river. There are 2 big bends below a bridge and above a big check damn. I have caught more fish at these 2 bends in a day than any person has a right to. I'm serious, so many fish when you get a couple you sit down and have a snack and wait for someone to move into the prime run and do it again.

You will get broken, smashed, run, and otherwise worked on the Henrys Fork. its amazing.
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