I’ve been fortunate to have had so many fantastic days fishing the Hendrickson hatch on the Farmington River. So naturally, I’m licking my chops in anticipation of this year’s complex action and (hopefully) grand style. Here are some of the things going though my mind on this lovely March morning (which, if it were three weeks from now, would have Hendrickson written all over it).
I hope the water comes down. I’ve had many days where the river was way up — with legions of bugs dotting the surface — and nothing was snapping at them. Oh, sure, the trout gorged below, but is there anything more discouraging than seeing the water littered with Hendrickson duns and nothing is trying to eat them?
So, tailor your presentation to to the water level. Most anglers associate the Hendrickson hatch with dry fly action. But I’ve had some crazy days nymphing when it seemed like it was a fish on every cast. You can use specific Hendrickson nymphs, pheasant tails or something like this.
Don’t neglect wet flies. The earliest stages of this hatch are tailor made for wet flies like the Dark Hendrickson winged wet. You’ll know when to switch to dries because you’re not taking a trout — or multiples if you’re fishing three flies — on every cast.
I’m going to try some new things this year. Here’s a post from years past where I riffed on the Dark Hendrickson theme. I’m curious about soft hackles this year, particularly glass beads vs brass beads. More on that as I get out for some field testing next month.
I do really well with The Usual. Of course, I have Comparaduns and classic Catskills-style dries. But I embrace simplicity, and trout almost always display a wanton eagerness to attack Fran Betters’ classic.
Be aware of other hatches. Little BWOs, Mahogany Duns, and especially caddis can come off at the same time. Woe be to the angler who is unprepared for the trout taking something other than H-bombs. I always have a Squirrel and Ginger as the top dropper on my team of three.
Do you use hendrickson nymphs. If so can you share the pattern.
Hi Mark, and thanks for the question. The short answer is: I don’t. I’ve managed quite well over the years with BHPHPTs https://currentseams.com/2015/10/26/soft-hackled-bead-head-pheasant-tail/ , Frenchie variants, and the BHSH Dark Hendrickson I link to in the article. My experience with this hatch is that if you feed the fish with a fly that’s in the current life stage they’re eating (nymph-wet-dry) and you match size-color-profile, you’ll do very well.