Copyright 2013 James Marsh
Hatches and Trout Flies for the Henry's Fork of the Snake River in
There are numerous hatches that takes place on the Henry's Fork. It water is very fertile,
with much of it coming from springs. There is also very diverse range of water, from fast,
pocket water in the canyon sections, to steady smooth flows in areas like the Railroad
Ranch. That too, makes a difference in the kinds of aquatic insects that inhabit the stream.
One of the most plentiful ones are the Blue-winged Olives. Now of course there are several
species of them which come in several sizes. If you lump them together as BWOs, you can
say they hatch from about the first of April all the way until the first of November. That will
vary from one area to another. That doesn't mean that on any given day, in any one given
spot, there will always be BWOs hatching.
From about the last week of April through the month of May, you will find some March
Browns hatching, mostly in the fast water areas of the stream.
In the lower section of the river, from about the middle of May until about the third week in
June, you will find the Green Drakes. This insect is the one that made the Henry's Fork
famous. People think of it when they think of Green Drakes. I have found other streams
with a larger population but, the Henry's Fork does have plenty of them.
Just as important, in my opinion, are the Little Green Drakes called Flavs. They hatch just
after the Green Drakes. That could be anywhere from the last week of May until the middle
From about the last week of May until the first week of July, again depending on where you
are talking about on the river, Gray Drakes will hatch. You will even find some Brown
Drakes that hatch in certain areas of the river during the month of June. Both of these
larger mayflies can produce some good catches if fished properly.
From about the middle of June until the middle of August, you will find two different species
of mayflies called Pale Morning Duns hatching. This is as good of a hatch as any on this
river, and probably accounts for more trout than any other mayfly.
From the middle of July through the month of September, in many areas of the river, you
will find hatches of Tricos. These little mayflies can be important because there are fewer
hatches occurring during this time period. From about the same starting time, or mid July
and all the way to the end of September, some areas of the river have hatches of
The other mayfly that can be important in the late season, is the Mahogany Dun. It can
hatch from mid August to the end of September. Just think - we have just now finished the
mayflies on the Henry's Fork.
From about the middle of May until the end of June, depending on the location, you will find
some big Salmonflies hatching. These will be found in the fast water, mostly in the canyons.
Just after they start hatching, the Golden Stoneflies will show up in good numbers. They
hatch until about the middle of July. The other important stonefly is the Little Yellow
Stoneflies, called Yellow Sallies by most anglers. They start hatching about the middle of
June and last through July.
There are a lot of different caddisflies that live in the Henry's Fork. We will list the most
plentiful ones for you. Different species of the Little Black Caddis, or Brachycentrus
species, can hatch from April through August. This first hatch is called the Mother's Day
The most plentiful and most important of them all are the Spotted Sedges. There is more
than one species of them that hatch from about the first of June through September. There
are also a few of their Little Sisters. They usually hatch from mid June through July,
depending on the location on the river.
You will find huge hatches of the Little Speckled Peter caddisflies the last two weeks of
June. Black Dancers, long-horn species, hatch from mid July to mid August.
Lets don't forget the midges. They hatch all year long but become important when nothing
else is hatching during the cold weather in the sections of the river that are open to fishing.
One of the best ways to catch trout in the otherwise (at times) difficult to fish river, is to use
imitations of the terrestrial insects. You can fish grasshopper, ants and beetles along the
grassy banks of the stream and catch trout from about the first of July through September.
Oh yes, I forgot to mention many areas of the river have good populations of scuds for the
trout to eat. In addition, there are sculpin, minnows and baitfish and plenty of leeches in
areas. Now you know why the trout are so big in the Henry's Fork of the Snake River. They
have a lot of food to eat.
Over the years, we have tested our "Perfect Fly" trout flies on this river. Some were
developed here. We have specific imitations of every insect and other trout food that lives
in the stream. If you haven't already done so, please give them a try. They not only are the
most realistic, they are the most productive flies you can use on this river.
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