Growing up in NZ - we would hang out in the library ...waiting for "Flyfisherman" magazine and the exotic fly ties and tales of amazing destinations. Little did we realise that NZ itself was a bucket list destination for many anglers.... We just lived in paradise and it was our normal!
I always read the articles by Mike Lawson and Rene Harrop and I had watched all the old VHS tapes featuring Gary Borger. He was fishing the "Ranch" on the Henry's Fork- Homewater for Mike Lawson and Rene Harrop. Over the past weekend I finally made it to the Henry's Fork Harriman Ranch section. It didn't disappoint. Hallowed water and the gentle dimples of trout feeding on PMDs.
Trout hunting is what NZ fishing has to offer. Finding single fish and feeding them your fly. The HF ranch section is exactly that too. Find your rising fish, stalk into range and give your best presentation. Patience, a careful approach, light tippets and downstream presentations are essential. The fish are wary and anglers from all around the world come into this corner of Idaho to pit their skills.
Opening day was the 15th of June and it was a very cold and wet day. Saturday wasn't much better but as the day progressed so did the temperature and the rain soon dissipated. The PMDs came off beautifully in the morning and fish were up. As the wind got up - the hatch petered off but we found fish would take a big green drake if they were looking up.
It was a new style of fishing to me. Only waiting to find rising fish and sometimes staking out a wee corner to establish a rhythm riser or nice 'bow working an area. It was funny to hear locals talking about a couple of young guys who were stripping leeches - to great success - and their thoughts on pedigree. I'm sure nymphs worked quietly would have been deadly... but when in you've made the pilgrimage.. it's not about the fish..
We found some tricky bank feeders and I received my first lesson from the local piscatorial natives. My friend JY got a few beauties and I joined him on the walk downstream towards the "bonefish flats". Like all famous rivers the pools are named and stories are deep.
After getting my training stripes on a few willing wee rainbows I finally found a good fish sipping in some windy water. A green drake emerger landed me my first wonderful ranch rainbow and I created another memory.
What a place! Its so fishy - put it on your bucket list to go. Life is made of stories and at least one waits for you on the banks of the Henry's Fork.