We left the Madison River last Thursday because of poor hatches and headed to Last Chance, ID because of a report of Green Drakes hatching on the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River. This week’s post will be about our first impressions fly fishing the Henry’s Fork Brown and Green Drake hatches. It is shorter than usual because I’ve been fishing too much. We are still on the Henry’s Fork so will add more info next week.

Henry's Fork Rainbow - Karen | www.johnkreft.com

Our arrival to the river was late afternoon and we decided to camp at a place we found last year. It was on a dirt road below Osborne Bridge. It’s a VERY rough rutted road with deep holes that I wouldn’t recommend. We crawled along in certain sections to prevent bottoming out with the van.

We found a flat spot to park and decided to walk down the road to see if we could spot flying insects. Another fly fisher was preparing to fish and a conversation stuck up.

I asked, “what hatches are you expecting?”

He answered, “I’m about 2 hours early for the Brown Drake hatch.”

We looked at each other and grinned…Brown Drakes?

Perhaps we might have found a spot to fish!

A little later, we noticed some spinners flying around and landing on the water. They were HUGE. I’m guessing the males have longer tails and they were at least 2 inches long.

Brown Drake Spinner - Henry's Fork Snake River | www.johnkreft.com

We donned our waders and hit the water after seeing a few rises.

Camping and Fishing on Henry's Fork | www.johnkreft.com

Later that evening, at around 9 pm, the duns began hatching and floating down the river. It doesn’t get dark this time of year until almost 10 pm.

Brown Drake | www.johnkreft.com

And a close-up.

Brown Drake Closeup | www.johnkreft.com

I had a magical night, hooking 8 and landing at least half. My fishing partner caught some as well.

These fish ranged from 14 to 20 plus inches. Most were 19 – 21. And the shoulders on these fish were incredible! They are so thick; these images don’t really do them justice.

I measured this one on my net and promptly got out my tape after safely releasing the fish. It was between 23 and 24 inches!

Henry's Fork Rainbow - John | www.johnkreft.com

The next morning, we headed up to Last Chance to see if we could find Green Drakes hatching.

Henry's Fork at Last Chance | www.johnkreft.com

We watched several fly fishers hooking and landing fish. While standing on the bank, we noticed two fish very close to shore actively feeding. I couldn’t stand it any longer and got my rod, tied on a RiverKeeper Soft Hackle Cripple PMD and cast to the closest fish.

After a few casts, I hooked up on a nice trout. I played him in the strong current and pop, he was gone. I reeled in and found the hook had broken! The point of the hook was gone.

I tied on a different fly and began casting to the other fish.

The fish gods were smiling and I hooked him as well. I played it and landed him, an 18” Rainbow.

Henry's Fork Rainbow with Beta Fly | www.johnkreft.com

We got our waders on to begin seriously fishing and several other fly fishers beat us to the spot we hoped to try. OK, how about the next run upstream?

Fly Fishing at Last Chance | www.johnkreft.com

Turns out it had fish in it as well. Some very nice fish!

Rainbow at Last Chance | www.johnkreft.com

We found Green Drakes!

Henry's Fork Green Drake | www.johnkreft.com

And spinners

Green Drake Spinner - Henry's Fork | www.johnkreft.com

Back to our camping spot downstream for more Brown Drake fly fishing that evening.

Henry's Fork Rainbow Trout with Beta Fly | www.johnkreft.com
Herny's Fork Rainbow | www.johnkreft.com
Holding Henry's Fork Rainbow | www.johnkreft.com
Henry's Fork Rainbow | www.johnkreft.com

The sunsets on the river were magical too.

Henry's Fork Sunset | www.johnkreft.com

Check back next week for more about the Henry’s Fork!

Enjoy…go fish, stay safe!

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  1. Hi John and Karen,
    Great fish and fabulous flicks. Your photography has gotten a lot better over the years.
    Scott W. Nelson

  2. You have found out why I have loved fishing the Henry’s Fork — you have also founds so of the old road access.

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