A Hardcore Run to the Henry’s Fork Ranch

by | Sep 30, 2020 | fly fishing the Henrys Fork

Idaho-landmarkSeptember 29

One of my favorite things is speeding up the Route 32 in Eastern Idaho on the way to fish for a couple days on the Harriman Ranch of the Henry’s Fork.  The road has little to no traffic and winds through some of Idaho’s most beautiful country.  Sometimes you need to dodge a potato truck but for the most part you only hold the wheel and take in the amazing scenery.


There are a few landmarks along the way that mean a lot to me.  Places I’ve driven past now for over 35 years.  There’s the old beer store building so old I never saw it open.  Unless you’ve been on this road for 20 years or more you wouldn’t recognize it as once being a store.  Then there’s the old closed down Village Bar (I went many times).  A few silos.  Grain sheds.  But hands down, my favorite is the Pillsbury Mills Grain Elevator.


Derek-MitchellYesterday morning, not only was I headed for the Ranch section of the Fork up the 32, I was meeting one of my best friends, Derek Mitchell.  Derek owns Marin Outdoor Trading Co. in California but was once my working sidekick at the fly shop in Jackson Hole, WY.  In fact, we worked together for about 15 years.  We’ve been friends for over 30.


Henrys-ForkIts hard to explain what a fine fall day we had for fishing.  When I left Victor at 8 AM it was a frosty 31°.  When I arrived at the Last Chance Parking lot at 9:30 it was already mid 50°’s.  And by the time we started fishing it was easily in the 60°’s and I believe we hit 70° around 2 PM.


Currier-Henrys-ForkThere were plenty of Mahogany Duns Hatching when we got on the river and the big rainbows of the Henry’s Fork were on them.  I waded out for the first riser I saw.  I was using my 4-weight Pure and funny thing, I had a Parachute Adams on from Granny’s and my float a few weeks ago.  Instead of changing to a Mahogany I went for it.  That big rainbow absolutely crushed my Parachute Adams on the first cast!


Jeff-CurrierLanding fish on the Ranch of the Henry’s Fork in late September is a chore and usually they get free.  The famous spring creek is choked with weeds at this time of year.  Almost every rainbow buries down into the weeds and knocks loose the barbless fly.  But not this one.  For some reason this fish jumped about six times then stayed above the weeds long enough for me to land him.


Currier-Derek-MitchellThe Mahogany Dun hatch lasted until around 2 PM.  I landed one more nice rainbow on my Parachute Adams and missed a few other takes.  This goes to show that presentation is more important than the fly itself.  It also backs up the fact that the Parachute Adams is my favorite dry fly for a reason.  Derek was a little rusty and didn’t land a fish during the hatch.  We kicked back and had a beer during the midafternoon doldrums.


big-fishAt about 5 PM a few Baetis started to trickle downstream.  There weren’t many but enough that Derek found a rising fish.  We were near the first set of islands in the Ranch.  There’re always a few extra-large fish here and this one met that standard.  Derek hooked up.


Derek-Mitchell-fishingAll it takes is one fish on the Ranch to make the trip and this was the fish.  The only problem is that Derek’s rainbow didn’t jump and I feared he was going to lose it to the weeds.   He got tangled up a few times but Derek managed to hoist him out.  In the end, Derek prevailed and landed our biggest fish of the day.


trout-bumSeptember 30 

We had a great dinner and a few beers at the TroutHunter after fishing yesterday.  Then we camped behind the old A-Bar.  I slept in the back of my Explorer as always.  It was bitter cold.  I’m smart enough to pack my warmest sleeping bag and an extra blanket so sleeping isn’t a problem.  But it was extremely brisk waking up and getting dressed this morning.


Henrys-ForkToday we fished downstream of the Osborne Bridge.  We hiked all the way down to the Wood Road then fished our way back up to the cars – takes all day.  I went on a fish missing spree that got a little frustrating by midday.  I missed at least four big honking rainbows.


Harriman-RanchI ended up kicking back for almost three hours and listened to the Cubs and Marlins playoff game on my phone.  That game was just as frustrating as missing fish!


rainbow-troutDerek and I fished until sunset again.  We ended up catching a few little rainbows but neither of us could bring a big one to hand.  At the end I was too tired to drive home so we hit the TroutHunter again for dinner and beers then crashed behind the A-bar again.  I’m not sure how many nights I have in the back of my truck this year but it’s a lot.  I love sleeping out.


Next in line I’m meeting Derek on the Yellowstone River in the Park on Friday.


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing


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I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!