Monday, May 3, 2010

The Hatch

No other insect hatch creates as much excitement along northeastern trout streams than the Hendrickson hatch.  Each spring, from mid-to-late April through early-to-mid May, these bugs gain the attention of trout and fly fishers alike.  Imitating each stage of the insect's life this time of year can put quality trout in your net.  This hatch usually brings the circus to town, but if you play your cards right, you can hit pay dirt and score the best fish of your season during this time span.  Saving sick days to sneak out during the work week is highly recommended if you want any degree of solitude, as weekends on the river can look like the shopping mall on Black Friday.  A friend and I did exactly that last Friday and connected with a few decent fish.

We arrived early in anticipation of a morning spinnerfall and the river would not disappoint.  The amount of spent Hendrickson spinners on the water was impressive, but for whatever the reason, not many trout keyed in on the easy meal and risers were few and far between.  We had two good targets; Derrick landed his, a beautiful, holdover rainbow trout.  Shortly after, I connected with a larger brown trout, only to have my 6x tippet broken off after a brief struggle - you win some, you lose some.

We eventually moved upstream to get some nymphing in before hatch time.  American pheasant tail variations in size #14 served as a dead-ringer for the Hendrickson nymphs found in our seine net.  We were throwing tandem nymph rigs with weighted Hendrickson nymphs as our anchor fly and unweighted Hendrickson patterns as the dropper.  Not much tungsten was needed as the river was quite low.  Once bugs began emerging, a soft-hackle Hendrickson was the fly of choice, which produced some violent strikes on the downstream swing.  A few holdover brown trout and one mutant rainbow were brought to the hand before we got into position at hatch-thirty.  

The Hendrickson duns came off like clock work, but the good fish still were keyed in on the emerging insects, not the sailboats floating downstream.  The hatch was not extremely thick, but we can't say we didn't have our chances.  We both botched good browns, but kept at it and landed a few nice specimens too, including this long, holdover female.

After the dun emergence tapered off, we made the decision to stick around for a chance at an evening spinnerfall.  Another friend joined us after work and we stopped at our local Orvis to kill time, and then to the liquor store to pick up some provisions.  A healthy spinnerfall did occur, and this time many more trout were cooperating.  Derrick caught and released the best fish of the night on a Rusty Spinner; a 2008 (left-yellow) Survivor brown.  When it became too dark to see our patterns on the water, we packed it in and had a night-cap of Bud heavies at the truck.  It was a good way to end a great day.  Until next time, tight lines...

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post and awesome fish. Thanks especially for the picture of the nymphs (real and fly). Looking forward to my Farmy trip on Saturday.