The Hendrickson mayfly is an important part of fly fishing in America. This is the first major hatch throughout the midwest and eastern states. It kicks off the fly fishing season with a bang and has fly fishers giddy with excitement. Why, because not only does it start moving the trout to feed, it has the chance to drive the larger trout out for a chance at a fine meal.
In the book, Trout Fishing in the Catskills, author, Ed Van Put, writes an interesting paragraph about the creation of the Hendrickson fly pattern as told by its creator, Roy Steenrod.
“One day in 1916, while we were fishing the Beaverkill below the Junction Pool at Roscoe, a hatch of flies came on. I caught one of the flies and put it in my box, and after lunch that day at Ferdon’s Eddy I tied some patterns of the fly as nearly as I could. Two years after I tied the first pattern, the matter was brought up as to what I would call or name the fly. Looking at A.E. [Hendrickson], the best friend a person could ever wish to have, I said, ‘the fly is the Hendrickson.’ I saw at once that A.E. was pleased.”
The female Hendrickson is recognized by small dark colored eyes and more of a pale yellow or dull tan highlighted with olive or even pinkish coloring on its body. The male Hendrickson is more brightly colored with a reddish type of body, but has large red eyes.
You might have noticed the availability of Light Hendrickson and Dark Hendrickson fly patterns in fly shops. Rainy's offers these two types of Hendricksons as part of their lineup too. The Light is a closer imitation to a female, while the Dark is closer to the male. On a side note, the widely known, Red Quill, is the standard Catskill fly tied to imitate the male.
The Hendricksons begin to hatch in early April in the South East region of the United States. This is also true for the Eastern states. They usually begin a little later in April for the Midwest. The peak times for the Hendricksons would be mid to late May in the Midwest and Catskills regions. You may even be able to see a hatch into early June in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and other northern areas. If you live east of the Mississippi, this is a hatch you should be following each year.
Hendrickson spinner falls in Michigan are said to be some of the finest trout fishing available in the state. A spinner is the last stage of a mayfly. After mating the mayfly falls to the water's surface with its wings spread.
Be sure to check out McMillan's Snowshoe Spinner. A female Hendrickson imitation available from Rainy's.
The best part about all of this is that the Hendrickson hatch will be coming soon. So gear up and get ready to fish this wonderful hatch and find out for yourself how good this hatch can be!
(Male and Female Hendrickson photos courtesy of Troutnut.com)
McMillan's Snowshoe Spinner
Paul J. Beel is owner and fly tier of the website and fly tying business, FrankenFly at http://www.frankenfly.com.
He pursued his passion of fishing after watching his grandfather create homemade lures as a kid. He felt he could continue in his grandfather's footsteps as a fly tier. Paul specializes in modern streamers and classic Michigan dry flies for bass and trout.
He is an Orvis Fly Designer and ties for many fly shops in the Midwest. His flies have appeared in Fly Fusion Magazine, Tail Magazine and North 40 Fly Shop Emag. He is also the creator of his own line of fly tying dubbing called FrankenDub.