June is best not just because of the fishing but because it’s the month when the culture of theHenry’s Fork is strongest. The hardcore dry fly anglers from all over come in June and then migrate home after. We fish together. We camp together. We eat together and often drink too much together. Today I said goodbye to these friends both old and new. It seems strange that I won’t see most of them again until next June, but that’s the Fork.
I rolled solo into the gravel pits last night and camped. Granny took a week off from camping and fishing. Many of the regulars whom you’ve met in earlier blogs were there, but most stayed tight to their campers because the mosquitoes were so bad. Even though it was hot I made a campfire and smoked up my clothes to help keep the mosies at bay.
Sleep didn’t come easy for me. There was a family ofgreat horned owls around my truck. I think the owlets were learning to fly. I saw them just before I snuffed out my fire and then they hung in the trees yakking it up all night. I was glad to see the sunrise so their noise could be replaced by the singing of other birds.
Kelly Oikawa whom you met last week joined me this morning to do a long hike from the gravel pits down towards a place called Pine Haven. It’s a distance of about 5 miles round trip. We left my camp at about 8 AM. The sky was cloudless and there wasn’t an ounce of wind. We saw nothing but the random rise the first hour but then I found a nice fish rising aggressively. I moved into place and tossed the same fly I had on during the Marathon last week. Fishing was so spectacular last week I just assumed this fish would munch down my fly but instead he refused it and backed off at the last second leaving nothing but a big boil. I cast the fly his way a few more times but he ignored it and kept feeding on natural foods.Pale Morning Duns. It’s not an easy fly to imitate and when a fish is really focused on them, they can be very hard to fool. I tested my eyes for an hour switching and rotating through about 8 flies.
Kelly was watching and offered me one of his specialrusty spinners that he tied. They are absolutely gorgeous and as I tied the size 16 on the trout continuing to feed just 20 feet away. I was confident that it was only a matter of seconds before Kelly’s fly would be in his mouth. Well, I was right about that. I made three casts and then the rainbow ate. But, I missed him. It was one of those deals where I watched the massive mouth close down on the spinner and I lifted my rod and there was nothing. *******!
That fish was gone. He didn’t hang around. There was no second chance. It was over. Fish 1 Currier 0. Kelly and I thought we’d just walk down stream a little further and find another but that was not the case. Despite plenty of food on the water, rising fish were scarce. Then the wind started. Then the wind got stronger. And one hour after I flossed my fish, theHenry’s Fork turned to a frothy-white-capped-sea and our chances at finding a feeding trout on top were next to nothing.
The next 7 hours went slow. Kelly fished his way back to camp and I went for a walk, a long walk all the way to Pine Haven and back to camp. The wind was deafening and I never made another cast. The only entertainment I had was getting attacked by red-winged black birds, willets and phalaropes. Great fun I tell ya! At 7 PM I was at camp drinking a beer and planning my next move.
I decided to head up the road and park behind theTroutHunter. A good friend Eddie Pinkston was in town and it would be fun to visit with him over a beer. I got parked up there along the river and started cooking up a dog. In the process I spotted a riser on the far bank of the river. I was totally out of my waders and it was 8:30 PM. I wasn’t feeling like wadering up again. But then the trout rose consistently. I put out my grill and said heck with the dog and wadered up. This move proved to be my best of the day. I caught that fish on the first cast and he was at least 19 inches. While I was fighting him I spotted another and I went on to catch him. Then when the sun set we had a caddis hatch to remember and I caught a total of 5 hefty rainbows before 10:30 when I couldn’t see anything anymore. TroutHunter. Most the regulars of the Fork were out like it was meant to be. I had a great visit with Eddie and final beers with the rest of the characters of June. It was a great night, a great day and it has been an absolutely fantastic June on the Fork!
Sorry for no fish pics. After 12 hours of no fish I really didn’t expect to catch 5 pigs after 8:30! Sometimes leaving the camera in the car helps.