Streams Outside of Yellowstone National Park
.............................Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park


Henry's Fork of the Snake River - Part Six

The very first time I fished the Ranch section of Henry's Fork, approximately ten years
ago, I attempted to fish in an upstream direction. I spooked every trout that I saw
feeding until I began to make longer cast. When I started making the long cast, I began
to spook some of them with my line and leader landing too close to the trout, or picking
up the line to cast again when it was too close to the fish. I made a number of other
errors. It is just a fact that when you start making long cast from thirty to sixty feet, your
accuracy decreases. In order to catch trout consistently on the smooth flowing, spring
creek sections of the Snake River, you must cast accurately. Notice I said consistently.
That is because every once in a while you may get lucky and the fly land in exactly the
right place to fool the trout, when it had nothing to do with your casting skill. I will say
this. If you are going to depend on pure luck to catch trout on this river, you better go
somewhere else to fish.

It didn't take but a few minutes and a few spooked trout to realize fishing upstream was
the wrong approach. I waded to a different location and began to watch the water for
feeding trout again. Within a very few minutes, I found one feeding downstream from
my position and I proceeded to try to catch it. I again, began to try to cast too far. I
spooked the fish letting my line go over it. The trout didn't leave but for a minute or two.
It came back and continued to eat on the surface. It paid my fly no attention for the next
several cast I made. I soon realized what was happening. The trout are used to dumb

The first day I fished the Ranch section I managed to catch one nice rainbow trout by
pure luck. In other words, I caught one trout. Most all of them are nice. In fact most all
of them are very nice trout. I got excited, rushed, upset and everything else that can
happen  watching big trout feed on the surface and trying to catch them. A gentleman
on the bank walked up and started talking to Angie who was running video off the
tripod of my poor attempts to catch trout. Instead of allowing him the opportunity of
watching my mistakes, I waded back to the bank and joined them. In a minute or two,
he pointed out that a large rainbow was feeding right below where I had been casting. I
reply that was just my luck - for the fish to start feeding when I left.
We talked for a while and he asked why I didn't go back and catch the trout. I told him I
was tired and asked him why he didn't try. He waded out to about where I was casting
from and then begin to ease downstream closer and closer to the trout. He got to about
twenty-five feet from it and began to cast downstream using what appeared to be a
curve or a reach cast. He tried for thirty minutes to catch the same trout I had cast over
several times but was, of course, unable too. The poor man had no idea I had spooked
the trout before he attempted to catch it and I didn't have the courtesy to tell him. I
wanted to see what he would do under the same conditions.

When he returned, he explained that you didn't always catch the trout even when they
were feeding heavily on the surface and staying in the same spot, which, by the way,
they don't always do. The gentleman was very nice and helpful. He is a member of the
Henry's Fork Foundation, has a home on the river and had fished the river for years.
He had no idea how much he taught me even though he didn't catch the trout he was
after - thanks to me.

Copyright 2008 James Marsh