Readers Cast


Tom Deschaine - Oct 21, 2013

Ashton, Idaho is a quaint little town located at Henry's Fork of the Snake River.  It's one of many small towns located on the upper river.  I could have chosen any one of the small towns to talk about but selected Ashton because it's located mid-way between the Island Park Reservoir and the area known as the lower river, which places it 'smack dab' in the middle of all the action.  In addition to the Snake River, opportunist can also take advantage of fishing on the nearby Buffalo and Fall Rivers.  Less then an hour away, in the state of Montana, is the famed Yellowstone River.  The river contains rainbows with some brown trout starting just south of Ashton.  Occasional cutthroat are taken in the upper Henry's Fork area.

The Henry's Fork is a freestone river providing a variety of fishing situations.  I found easy wading situations at most access points.  Throughout the river system 20+ inch rainbows are common.  Portions of the river are considered 'highly technical' requiring long, light leaders and delicate presentations.  Non resident licenses are reasonable.  The river is open to fishing all year long but be sure to check out the regulations for each area that you fish.  Idaho is good about posting special regulations at most access sites.  The lower river runs south of St. Anthony for about 20 miles.


Fall River south of Ashton : This stretch of river is often ignored because of limited access and the difficulty of floating.  The fishing however can be excellent during spring and early summer.                                                             

You're welcome to search out the guide books when planning a trip but the best and simplest source of information I found is a brochure called, 'Henry's Fork of the Snake River, River Guide and Access Map.'  The brochure is available at no charge and is published by The Henry's Fork Foundation.  Their office is on Main Street in downtown Ashton or they can reached through their web site at  Negotiating the Henry's Fork and the surrounding community is relatively simple.  As you are approaching the area from the north you will be coming in on highway 20.  It's a north-south highway running the full length of the river as far south as St. Anthony, which is considered the southern most part of the upper river.

McKenzie River Boats are common

Every few miles, while traveling down highway 20 you'll find a fly shop among them is the famed 'Henry's Fork

Anglers,' an excellent place to stop and buy your souvenir t-shirt, get some local fly patterns and some excellent river advice.  Restaurants, bars, motels and lodges are plentiful along the highway.  Good lodging may require some research.  Many of the adequate to really good places are located off of the main road.  During peak fishing season, accommodations may not be available, so reservations would be in order for this trip.  I don't impress easily when it comes to food.  Most every place I ate was adequate, with one exception, if you're in the Ashton area stop by and try the 'Trails End Restaurant.'  Their prices are great and their portions are huge.  Their country fried steak was truly a memorable experience.


See you on the water…..
Tom Deschaine
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