It may be Idaho, but if your looking for an example what “big sky” means, check out the Henry’s Fork, Island Park, Idaho. Its just a few miles down the road from West Yellowstone. After casting streamers in Montana and “normal size” dries….we now found ourselves upon the Henrys. It was kind of like a baseball pitch….a change up.
Let me best describe fly fishing the Harriman Ranch on the Henry’s. It is a place where the most challenging, delicate presentations, casting the smallest flies on the edge of human visual recognition, exist on mother Earth. No joke.
First, the good news; there’s plenty of room for your back cast. The water is shallow. Easy wading. The river bottom is flat. There is a ton of space to land a fish. The water is slow moving. The water is very clear. Prolific hatches coat the river. It’s easy to see the fish. A sight fly anglers dream. A place of scenic beauty.
Hey, what could possibly be the bad news? Here we go; Size 20 or 22 flies are the norm. You must have 6x or 7x tippet. Due to low water in the fall, moss or long weeds create pockets where fish hang out. Your casts have to be “money” over rising fish. If you hook a fish, the first place it seeks…the moss!
If you have become “more mature” in your life, and require visual assistance (i.e. glasses or “magnification devices”) you will be cursing your eye doctor for a stronger prescription on your next visit. When the hatch goes off, it not just a few places, it coats the entire river. Fish are in pods gulping away.
Oh, the fish, they are simply, huge. “Mongo” is seen among many other good size fish, rising within casting range. After a cannonball slurp to a size 20 mahogany dun and a simple hook set, one fish headed to the moss and broke off. The fish’s run was only about 4 feet but enough for me to see a good side view. Yep, it was him.
So, there are no pictures of large fish from the Henry’s Fork. However, Ken did catch nice fish using a hopper dropper combination of a 14 dry with a size 20 dropper. In all, it was a great experience and we learned more about “the ranch”. Vowing to return next year, we headed out to Sun Valley.