The best soft hackles and wet flies for fishing the Hendrickson hatch

“What are the best soft hackles (or wet flies) for fishing the Hendrickson hatch?” is one of those questions I get a lot this time of year. As always, the best flies are the ones in which you have the most confidence. I should also make this clarification: technically, with Hendricksons you’re fishing wet flies under the hatch. On the Farmington River, prime time for swinging Hendrickson wets is generally in the 11 am-to-3 pm window. Every day is different. Once you see duns on the water, and trout snapping at them, the wet fly game is all but over. But if you want to catch more trout, you should be swinging wets in this pre-hatch time frame. (Of course, you’re fishing a team of three wets. Here’s how to build a wet fly leader.) And so, in no particular order, these are some of my favorite Hendrickson wet fly and soft-hackled patterns.

Bead Head Soft-Hackled Dark Hendrickson
Dark Hendrickson winged wet
Hendrickson Spiders. Size 12, wet or dry fly hook, gray or rusty brown thread, tail material of your choice, a dusting of muskrat fur or dubbing, then brown partridge or dark dun hen hackle.
Bead Head Soft-Hackled Pheasant Tail
Old Blue Dun
Squirrel and Ginger. Yeah, I know. Not a Hendrickson pattern. But on the Farmington, we often get a strong caddis hatch around Hendrickson time. If you place this as your top dropper, you’ll be covered if the trout are selectively feeding on the caddis.

7 comments on “The best soft hackles and wet flies for fishing the Hendrickson hatch

  1. Gary says:

    Very nice selection Steve. You mentioned a Usual Hendrickson previously. I like to fish my traditional Usuals subsurface sometimes as a wet fly. Have you tried that with your Hendrickson usual and do you have a photo of one.

    • Steve Culton says:

      I have not (tried The Usual as a wet) but good on you for doing so. I don’t have a photo handy, but a Usual’s a Usual’s a Usual…I tie it with a darker dun rabbit foot. 🙂

  2. Steve says:

    Surprisingly I have had hits while stripping back a Usual for a recast in both Hendrickson and Sulfur hatch. A great technique is to pull the Usual under the surface and let it rise to the top before a rise form. Works best with a freshly dusted Usual.

  3. apurbano57 says:

    Fishing the Usual as a wet, do you tie it differently?
    Anthony

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