This float trip begins and ends with a giant frosty mug of rootbeer! And after a long day of setting up and breaking down a fishing vessel, rowing and rowing, hauling heavy anchors out of the depths and fighting monster fish is heavy current, a frosty mug is a perfect beverage before the long three and a half hour drive home.
So what led me to drive up and down the main drag of this town in search of a giant mug of rootbeer? On the surface it would be the landmark the guy at the Orvis shop told me to turn right at to get to the put-in on the river.
"Turn right at the giant root beer sign. You can't miss it."
Only I did miss it. Twice. Which is insane, once you see it because it's so big. But I'm used to giant signs of sodas or bowling pins hoisted four stories or more in the sky and this one is about a single story tall.
But the real reason I'm here is because of my "thing".
I have this "thing" where I need to get maximum value from anything I own. It drives my wife crazy. For example, I bought my Honda Pilot for $30,000 in 2002 and it has 289,000 miles on the odometer. That works out to 10.4 cents per mile. That's a great value!
To get into 10 cent territory for my Soyokaze tenkara rod would mean catching about 1,000 fish. I bet I'm close. It's just so much fun to fish with, I use it whenever I can. But to eek out that kind of value out of my Orvis Helios 2 5wt outfit I'll need to catch 12,190 fish. I don't think I will do that in my lifetime.
As you know this is the year we are gonna step it up into new territory and fish bigger rivers from a boat. Lance, Kelly and I went thirdsies on a cheap raft with a nice high end NRS fishing frame. My share of that was $1300. That's about 2 and 1/2 guided float trips. So far I've done Little Dell, Lower Provo, Grey Reef x 2 days, Green River, Pelican Lake, Henry's Fork x 2. So I'm good.
This last trip to the Henry's Fork was the best fishing I've had all season.
The morning started out sunny, hot, and slow. Mainly because I was rigging everything solo. So it took me about 25-30 minutes before I was on the water. Which turns out to be fine since this section is one of the few Western rivers that is fishing well and not in high run off (just 1475 cfs). (The Green was bumped up to 8,000cfs this week, it was only 800cfs when Lance and I floated it in March).
Drift boats were everywhere. Bugs were everywhere. Stoneflies kept colliding into my face, little caddis fluttered, mayflies and midges hatched.
Things I learned on this trip:
1 - I need a net man. I caught a ton of fish but couldn't get any photos because I couldn't get them in a net while fighting them in heavy current. Bringing them to the side of the boat and releasing them was the best I could manage.
2 - I need a camera man. There's no way to get a pretty pic of a fish and keep them wet.
3 - Bounce this river. While the Grey Reef requires queuing up for each run to take turns doing a merry go round for each hole, the Henry's Fork needs to be bounced. You pull up to a good run and drop anchor. Fish. Then lift anchor just enough to slide farther down the run and drop the anchor again.
4 - Guides walk their boats down shallow riffles, to better fine tune and position the anglers. Many mid-river sections are only knee deep. So you can jump out and hang on to the the boat and put it in prime casting zone to a rising trout.
5 - I need a heavier rod, my 5 weight could not turn or raise some of the deeper fish. My 7 wt nearly folded in half on a few fish. The white fish pictured above was about 20 inches and weighed 3.5 lbs. There were plenty of smaller fish too in the 12-14 inch range. Mostly the smaller fish were taking dries, while the big fish were deeper and taking size 10 pheasant tails because the green drakes were getting active.