With the Madison in the rearview and perfectly good pavement leading south, our early season journey continues onward towards West Yellowstone and eventually the Henry’s Fork of the Snake in Idaho. Sharing the same stretch of river with us on the Madison, Dan Delekta, old school outfitter and longtime friend of mine, invited Chris and I to his almighty flyshop on our way south, Beartooth Flyfishing. Until you witness it, you’ve never seen so much fly fishing gear arranged per square foot of space. Fourteen thousand items without counting a single fly! We’re talking the whole frigging enchilada fly fishing extravaganza: lines, leaders, reels, flies out the wazoo, tying materials, every bead and hook known to man, rods, custom rods, custom bamboo rods (I held a $4000 bamboo), waders, etc…. Definitely check this place out if you find yourself in Cameron, Montana.
Next stop Island Park, Idaho, home of the world renound flyshops Mike Lawson’s Henry’s Fork Anglers and TroutHunter. We stopped into TH to get the scoop on the box canyon, and we must tip our hats to the precise report we received from these boys. Hooked up right off the bat, Rockhold and I sought redemption from last years ass whoopin we received from the wiley old box. Dropping all sense of pride and ethics, we bobbered up and nymphed the bottom out of that baby from the dam below Island Park reservoir all the way to the takeout near town. What a difference a year and a little closer look at a piece of water can make. We crept our way down the canyon, fishing anything and everything that had any depth or hold. First the fish were eating Missouri style midgey stuff for us near the dam, but we soon discovered they would absolutely inhale Chris’s West Fork stonefly patterns on 3x. Simple choice there.
Ledges and mid river boulders played the best for us, with sturdy rainbows hanging in all the choice water. Jumping and running like mad, these fish could straight get after it in the heavy currents of the box. Most everything was around fifteen or sixteen inches and fought like a fish much bigger than their stature. Solid takes and predictible lies, the box treated us kindly with a hell of a days catch of colored up bows. Wrapping up the day in Island Park, we cruised a few miles down the road to our final destination of this road trip, Harriman State Park and the lower Henry’s Fork.