Fishing Henry's Fork on the Uintas North Slope

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All summer I dreamed about exploring the north slope of the Uintas. Stories of big fish, lonely streams and majestic mountain scenery – far from the beaten path – had captured my imagination, and I longed for a chance to see for myself.

But days fly by. Suddenly September was fading away, and it became apparent I would not be able to find time for the trip.

Then, out of the blue, I had to go to Rock Springs, Wyoming, on business. The north slope would almost be on my way home, if I stretched things a bit. I had hoped to spend three days camping and fishing, but suddenly an afternoon on Henry's Fork seemed quite attractive. I finished my business in the early afternoon, plunged down Wyoming Highway 530, and said hello to some new country.

As I crossed the border into Utah, it became apparent the Henry's Fork area is filled with contrasts. Just a few miles separate the sagebrush flats from a lush pine forest and rugged mountains. Wide, well-beaten gravel roads crisscross the area, carrying large logging trucks and oil crews. I saw antelope along the road just out of Lonetree, and deer feeding between oil wells on the edge of the forest.

I drove to the end of the Henrys Fork road, and then fished my way upstream for about a hour. I caught a fish in the first hole I tried, right next to a well-used campground. I used a Mepps spinner, and saw fish chasing it in almost every hole. Henry's is a medium-sized stream in that area, with very clear, cold water. The fish spooked easily.

Most of the holes upstream were small eddies behind rocks. And the fish I caught were also small. In the hour I fished, I caught five. The largest was about seven inches. I'm sure I could have caught small fish all day, had I wanted to.

There were deer and elk tracks along the stream. I hiked up the ridge to the east and saw tracks there also, though not as many. It was very dry up on the ridge.

Then I drove downstream, parked by the bridge, and fished between the oil wells for a few minutes. The terrain is flatter down there; the stream lazier. It has large, deep pools at almost every bend. Willows grow along the bank and overhang the water. It looked like a prime trout stream. I caught two fish within a few minutes but they were also only about seven inches long.

I saw five does walking quietly among the willows, not a block away from a noisy oil processing plant.

I've talked to several people who fish Henry's Fork, and they say they catch a lot of 10 and 12 inchers. And I'm sure there were bigger fish in the stream. The area below the bridge seems to offer the best fishing.

There is no sign along the highway pointing out the Henrys Fork road, but the stream is easy to find. Coming from Evanston, turn left onto the first gravel road and after the Lonetree sign. It T's after about a block. Go right, and just follow the widest most well traveled gravel road. It takes you right to the stream, and then parallels it for a few miles. Follow the Sun Oil Company signs. The road is very rocky and rough.

A couple of miles out of Lonetree, signs appear directing you to Henry's Fork Park, which is about 10 miles from the highway. It's a nice little carmpground with tables, fire pits and a forest toilet. There is no drinking water. The campground looks like it receives a fair amount of use, though nobody was there on the day I visited.