Fishing Calendar

Fishing Calendar

When should you visit Henry’s Fork Lodge? If you have a strong preference for a particular river or want to hit a specific hatch, then time of year is important when making reservations.

Any time you’re able to join us Memorial Day through October is a good time to visit the Henry’s Fork and surrounding waters in Idaho. With our huge variety of waters, you’ll find good dry fly fishing throughout the season.

The Henry’s Fork and Yellowstone area offers an abundance and assortment of waters
everything from large rivers or small creeks, spring-fed or freestone streams, lakes or ponds. Because of this diversity, some waters will be fishing well regardless of the month you choose to come.

A General Guide to the Season

The Henry’s Fork runs clear all season and offers excellent dry fly fishing from right behind the Lodge.

Memorial Day through July 15 is prime time for the Henry’s Fork, Firehole and Madison in the Park and is the season of the famous hatches—green drake, brown drake, gray drake and salmonfly—and the most anglers.

July 15 to September 15 is prime time for the lower Madison, South Fork of the Snake, the Yellowstone, Lamar and Slough Creek in the Park and most of the lakes.

September 15 to the end of October is the time all the waters become good, the crowds go home, the wildlife gathers, but the weather is cooler.

Month-by-Month Description of Fishing

Late May and early June is a sleeper. You will find the Henry’s Fork already in its prime, but without many anglers. Due to its volcanic geology and spring sources, the Henry’s Fork doesn’t suffer the runoff and high, murky water of other rivers in the Rockies.

The salmonfly hatch will progress up the river from Ashton toward the Box Canyon for several weeks, followed by a month of the golden stones, providing a great opportunity for a really large fish on a dry fly.

The Harriman Park section opens on June 15, but the rest of the river is open the entire month and the “undiscovered” lower river can provide outstanding dry fly fishing. Good caddis hatches will bring large fish to the surface throughout the month.

Somewhere around the 20th of the month begins the famous green drake hatch on the Harriman Park waters, followed closely by the brown drakes. Early in the month the Madison may be affected by runoff but by the third week the salmonfly hatch begins its move up the river from Ennis to Quake Lake. The Firehole and Madison in Yellowstone Park are at their prime, with good hatches of pale morning duns.

Most of the freestone streams will be affected by runoff during part of this month.

The green drake hatch will be winding down, but the brown drake hatch in the evening will continue to bring the big fish to the surface on the Henry’s Fork. Smaller mayflies such as the pale morning dun and a smaller version of the green drake in the afternoons will also sustain excellent dry fly activity in the Harriman Park section for most of the month. The Box Canyon fishing, including dry fly fishing, remains good.

The salmonfly hatches on the Madison and South Fork of the Snake will continue up the river during the early part of the month and fish will continue to take salmonfly imitations for a good week after the flies have stopped hatching. The caddis and mayfly hatches, along with the terrestrials like hoppers, beetles and ants, will begin sustaining the fishing in the South Fork and Madison for the rest of the summer.

The Madison and Firehole in the Park will become too warm for good fishing after the first week in July, but the Yellowstone, which opens on the 15th, Slough Creek and the Lamar and are good for large native cutthroats. Henry’s Lake will hit its peak during the damselfly hatch of early July and the famous gulper fishing on Hebgen Lake will begin near the end of the month.

This is ant, beetle and hopper time on the flatwater sections of the Henry’s? Fork and patient anglers will be rewarded with good numbers of rising fish and few other anglers. Box Canyon remains good, primarily on nymphs.

This is the prime time for the lower Madison (Quake Lake to Ennis), with a variety of mayflies, caddis, grasshoppers and other terrestrials providing good dry fly fishing. The fishing on the Yellowstone, Lamar and Slough Creek in the Park is in its prime. Lake fishing, particularly for the “gulpers” of Hebgen Lake and on Island Park Reservoir also remains at a peak, with good hatches of stillwater mayflies.

The first part of the month is usually a continuation of the August conditions on all the waters. Sometime around mid-month, weather conditions turn to fall, with cooler daytime temperatures, nighttime freezes and less wind in the afternoons.

The students are all back in school, the tourists have gone home, so this is the time for the serious angler and the lover of wildlife. The aspens will be turning to gold, the bull elk will be bugling and the waterfowl will be in full flight.

What’s more, the cooler weather signals renewed hatches and increased fish activity, so virtually all of the rivers become good during the fall.

The Henry’s Fork offers good rise activity to a variety of small mayflies on the Harriman Park section and the big fish in the Box Canyon will begin to become active too. The upper river above Island Park Reservoir will see runs of big rainbows. The lower river below Ashton will come alive with rising fish. Spawning runs of big fish out of Hebgen Lake make the Madison in the Park an excellent choice for streamer fishing.

Fall mayfly activity and cooler water also reactivate the dry fly fishing in the Madison and the Firehole in the park. Other Park streams will remain good. Snow flurries are always a possibility, but don’t interfere with fishing for more than a day.

The weather grows steadily cooler and the chances of snow increase as the month passes, but October is still a prime month for the serious lover of the outdoors. The scenery and the wildlife are especially striking in the fall light.

The excellent fall fishing conditions that began in mid-September will continue through October, but fewer anglers will be around to take advantage of them. Many local residents turn their attention to hunting, and the opportunity to fish in the morning and then hunt grouse, partridge, ducks or geese on the same day is making October a more popular time with visitors as well.

This is one of the best times to use a streamer or big nymph to catch a trophy fish from one of the rivers like the Henry’s Fork or South Fork of the Snake or a really big brookie from Henry’s Lake.

Dry fly fishing continues to be good to hatches of small mayflies. We usually have a period of Indian summer with weather back in the 70′s during the early part of the month, but by the end of the month the weather has usually turned cold.

The important thing is just to come, because you’ll enjoy yourself whenever you’re in the Henry’s Fork/Yellowstone country.