2022 eastern Idaho

Woodduck31

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We made our first trip to the Henry's Fork for the year on Tuesday. We were hoping to hit the caddis hatch just right and I guess we did. The hatch we got to see wasn't huge, there were no mats of bugs floating as we have seen at times in the past, but sometimes that isn't helpful. It can be tough for the fish to pick out your fly when there are thousands on the water.

Our first trip over to Ashton is to get the drift boat over, next week will be pulling the fifth wheel and getting ready for Caleb's first day of guiding next Saturday. Caleb is cutting way back on his guiding this year to allow more time for me to fish. Last year I didn't get to go much because he was booked every day, not to mention I was covering for his ETSY business back home. This year we will be free to fish most of the time when things are going good and I'm looking forward to it. The guides are responsible for their own fuel and that is taking a lot of the profit out of guiding, so this year is going to be more about Caleb and I getting to fish.

It's about a 4 hour drive from my house, just about far enough, but not terrible. We left early and got on the water right after about 4 guides had put in. We've got good records of the optimal time of day over the past few years and knew we still had a few hours before the caddis would start to go. We've got the guides pretty well figured out and all the guides we saw were part of the outfitter Caleb works for and knew they would likely be bobber fishing down the middle and making sure to be off the water by 5pm. A few of them were throwing dry flies, but none of them seemed to be working fish. We hung back and let them clear out and only saw a single unguided boat a couple of times and only saw them catch one fish.

Usually given the right weather the caddis would start coming up at about 3pm. It was about 2:45 when things stared to happen. We picked off a few fish as we drifted down, head hunting. Caleb's eyes are a lot better than mine and he can spot feeding fish in some of the most hidden places. We were trading the 4wt fly rod back and forth all day with a three strike rule or caught fish. It was my turn when Caleb spotted a nice brown feeding right against a rock wall under a 15 foot overhang. He was picking off a steady stream of caddis that were drifting down the edge of the rock wall. I figured casting under that ledge was way above my pay grade since I've only been fly fishing about 5 years now so I handed the rod to Caleb. It took him about three casts to get the fly to drift right against the wall and the fish took the first time the fly was in the zone. You basically had to land the fly on his head before you would have enough time in the zone with the wind and current giving us fits. As Caleb would say, the 19.5 inch brown was angry and gave him all the fight he wanted on the 4wt.

As soon as the brown was out of the little spot against the rocks, a 17 inch rainbow filled it and started feeding. i decided to see what I could do and figured out a little side arm approach from the back end of the boat and was able to get him to eat after only a few casts.

By the end of the day we had boated 40 fish, a dozen browns and the rest rainbows ranging from 7 inches to the big brown. This section of river is know for volumes of fish, but not big fish, so the nice browns were a welcome treat.

It was about 7pm when we found our last pod of fish feeding near some more overhanging rocks. Everyone else was long gone, we had the river to ourselves. We had fought through some pretty cruddy weather and wind, but we were going to try to pull a few more fish out of the river before heading to the ramp. We had just got anchored up and getting ready to pick on a few more fish when Caleb said, "oh my gosh, did you see that". Another big brown was feeding in a two foot section under a ledge. I would have never noticed it as apparently no one else had who drifted before us. It was a bit bigger than Caleb's 19.5, and my confidence wasn't real high, but he gave me the rod and told me to give it a go. I'll tell you straight up, I didn't catch the fish, but had a ball trying. The fish would appear to take my fly anytime I got it in the zone, but when I set the hook, nothing was there. We'd change flies and the same thing, her big old mouth looked like it was sucking the fly right in and nothing. We changed flies 5 times and on the last cast, I pricked her, just barely, but enough to put her off the rock. We ended up pulling a few more 16 inch rainbows off that spot before heading out.

Caleb had been videoing the whole thing and we watched it later at the motel and several times the fly was pushed out of her mouth or she just plain missed it.

The next day was horrible, heavy rain, thunderstorms and we were soaked and cold. We only caught about half the fish from the day before and many more small fish. Our best was a 17 inch brown that had what must have been 10 caddis in the back of his throat, apparently his little tummy had no more room. When we reached the rock where I had tried for that big brown, sure enough she was there again, feeding the same way. I tried something different than the evening before, trying to get a better angle for a hook up that dealing with her facing me when she took. I came in with a side arm across my left shoulder and was able to get a better drift and likely would get the hook to her side instead of head on. It worked, but spit it again, so we switched flies. The next fly change was the only one out of eight she wouldn't take and we switched after a couple of refusals to another caddis imitation. That would be the one, sort of, she seemed to engulf the fly, but just a bit of resistance at the hook set and nothing on the line but a cleanly cut end of my 4x leader. We were using new leader and tippet and reglulary check for frays and flaws, but the end of the line was as clean as if you had cut it with a pair of clippers. within 5 minutes she was back to eating, but wouldn't even look at our flies. She will be there next time and maybe we can try it again on the next hatch.

The photo of the rock shows where Caleb caught his nice brown, it was pretty much dead center in the photo. Most people never see the fish that are tucked up under the rocks and most guides are bobber fishing nymphs down the middle for little rainbows and whitefish. Most of the fish were running with heavy bellies full of caddis like this little rainbow. We also had two fish and were a bit concerning, both about 12 inches, one brown, one rainbow. Their skin was literally rolling like waves along their sides. It kind of spooked Caleb a bit to have them in his hand, he said it was like they had a snake moving inside of them.

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Woodduck31

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We brought the fifth wheel over this week for the summer. After getting it set up we headed out on the river. Lots of people out on a pretty good caddis hatch. We did well the first day. We picked up a friend yesterday and had a great day with dry flies. He caught several browns and rainbows. We have been dealing with high wind which complicates the fly fishing some but also thins the crowd.

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Woodduck31

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We are four floats in so far this year and the weather has been brutal. A quality fly rod makes a huge difference casting in high winds, we have only been fishing dry flies so far and managing line, mending and getting a good drift is a one out of ten tries at best. Caleb and I usually are using 4wt rods, but a friend was using a 6wt and really struggled. Barely lifting the rod to mend would often send the line and fly up in the air and back behind the boat. I checked the wind speeds yesterday while Caleb was guiding and they had gusts up to 47 mph. Caleb is very good on the oars and getting us in position was a workout but he put us where we needed to be. Caddis were still going good when we left one of the best and longest hatches in the last 4 years and of course very few people were on the river with us with the wind. You can't catch a fish unless you put a fly on the water. We are still struggling with the low quality hooks that we buy in the fly shop, lots of hooks were bent out over the few trips so far and with three young kids, Caleb has no time to tie his own.
 

Soggy Socks

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Jealous man...glad you have had such a great time. Thanks for sharing those pic's .
 

Woodduck31

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this summer should be a lot of fun. Caleb is cutting way back on guiding this year, there's just no money in it with the increase in fuel and the guides are responsible for that expense. That being said, I won't be not fishing all the time because he is guiding. He's only been guiding a couple of years and is on the bottom of the pecking order and never gets to fish the hot spots since the senior guides always pick first. When he's off the clock, we can go anywhere we want. We still dodge the big crowds, but one thing you can count on, not many people dry fly fish anymore and even fewer have a clue when they do. I've been in Idaho for over 30 years and feel like I've wasted the first 26 years not fishing eastern Idaho. I'm making up for it now and having a lot more days available this summer. Caleb makes his living with his ETSY business, so he really doesn't need the guiding money. So much of the time last year my story was always how good it was the day before and the day after I was there. We are going to change that this year.
 

Woodduck31

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Caleb is an accomplished artist and does a lot of pencil drawing. He did this drawing from a photograph he took of a client a week and a half ago as a gift. No one ever keeps any fish on these trips and about the only "trophy" they get is a photograph or as in this case, a piece of artwork.



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mpkowal

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I live 10 miles from one of the best trout lakes in Nevada but up until yesterday the water has been to cold for bass and we only go out for trout to kill an hour after my Son gets off work. Not trout people .
 

Mort

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Nice write-up. One of these days I will have to make a trip to Henry's Fork for a little fishing.
 

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