Written by: Ted Fauceglia
The feminine dun is lighter and bigger than the male, and the trout will typically key on one or the opposite.
All pictures by Ted Fauceglia
For the ardent dry-fly angler, the appearance of the spring trout-fishing season stirs emotions of anticipation like nothing else. Positive, dredging weighted stonefly nymphs and Woolly Buggers via winter’s swollen streams and swift riffles is enjoyable and supplies some aid from cabin fever, however the spring hatches and the anticipation of casting a fastidiously tied parachute to rising trout are ever-present. April can’t get right here quick sufficient.
By mid-April, the quiescent, seemingly lifeless waters of late fall and winter are within the midst of a dramatic transformation. The streams and their environment now boast an array of sensible colours and intense exercise–each plant and animal life have awoken. Grey skies have turned blue. Scarlet male cardinals set up their territories by singing from the best branches, whereas black-capped chickadees cheerfully search the decrease elevations for the suitable tree during which to carve out a nesting cavity.
At floor degree, an array of perennial wildflowers is in full bloom–wealthy yellow marsh marigolds, stately inexperienced jack-in-the pulpits, and pure white trilliums. Beside the stream, chances are you’ll discover delicate dog-toothed violets, higher often called trout lilies as a result of their leaf markings match the markings of each brook and brown trout.
Within the midst of this reawakening and to the fly fisherman’s delight, the annual cycle of spring mayfly hatches, together with blue-winged olives, blue quills, quill Gordons, and Hendricksons can also be in progess. Identified collectively as blue duns, these aquatic bugs are, nevertheless, distinctly totally different species, which belong to totally different households. And even though all of them have opaque blue wings, the person species can simply be recognized by measurement and coloration.
The male Hendrickson dun is known as the “Darkish Hendrickson” for good purpose.
In line with most printed hatching schedules, the person spring hatches happen sequentially. Olives are on the water first, adopted by quill Gordons, blue quills, and Hendricksons. And whereas I’ve discovered that nature typically coincides with the hatch charts, as a rule, I’ve confronted situations the place the hatches overlap. In some instances, female and male duns of two or extra species had been on the water concurrently. On a number of events, all 4 species hatched concurrently.
Relying on the climate and the area, these spring hatches can happen any time from the start of April to the primary of June. In our southernmost streams, reminiscent of these in Georgia and North Carolina, emergences begin in early to mid-April, whereas the hatches in northern areas (Michigan, for instance) happen in mid- to late Might. In Pennsylvania, the Hendricksons are typically on the water from mid- to late April.
There are two stipulations for efficiently coping with a number of hatches, in any season: You need to decide which bug the trout are consuming, and you could have the suitable sample. Sounds simple, proper? It’s not. However the truth that there may be an abundance of duns on the water, early-season trout might be extraordinarily selective. After struggling via the winter with solely a meager provide of readily accessible meals, it’s affordable to imagine that they’d gobble up each insect in sight. However they don’t. They’re typically terribly cautious and selective.
In my expertise with the spring hatches, trout have invariably keyed on one species. And it’s not all the time the most important or most ample species. Casting a blue-quill sample to rising trout which can be feeding on olive duns received’t work–even though there are blue quill duns on the water. You may get one fast, cursory have a look at blue-quill imitation the primary time it passes over a fish, however that’s normally the tip of it. If the fish received’t take a pure blue quill, they absolutely received’t take an imitation of it.
Feminine Hendrickson Dun
Hook: TMC 100sp BL, sizes 10 to 14.
Thread: Cahill eight/zero or 70-denier.
Wing: Medium-dun Para Submit.
Tails: Mild dun microfibetts.
Stomach: Cream/olive rabbit dubbing.
Hackle: Sandy dun.
Thorax: Cream/olive rabbit dubbing.
Head: Tying thread.
From a distance, it’s not normally doable to find out what bug the trout are taking. Dialing in on the suitable sample, due to this fact, is commonly a technique of elimination. Constantly casting the improper sample throughout a a number of hatch will rapidly flip anticipation and pleasure into frustration and despair, so utilizing a two dry-fly rig will assist you to determine the proper sample extra rapidly.
Twice the Enjoyable
The presence of Hendrickson duns in a number of hatches exacerbates the multiple-hatch drawback. In most mayfly species, the bodily variations between the female and male duns are insignificant. There are slight variations in measurement and coloration between the sexes, however the variations are vital solely to the entomologists. To the trout, the variations are imperceptible–one dun sample representing every hatch will work for each the women and men. Not so with Hendricksons, as a result of the variation within the coloration of women and men are apparent. Expertise has taught me that the trout know and acknowledge variations, so I exploit two distinctly totally different patterns to match them.
Though most anglers seek advice from the annual occasion emergence of Ephemerella subvaria because the “Hendrickson hatch,” the variations in colours between the women and men are so evident that the sexes have been individually named. The cream-colored females are acknowledged as Hendricksons or Mild Hendricksons, whereas the reddish brown males are recognized as Pink Quills or Darkish Hendricksons. As a rule, you’ll be able to match the hatches in most areas with patterns tied in sizes 12 and 14. As a result of the dimensions of the naturals can differ from stream to stream, nevertheless, I carry patterns for each women and men in sizes 14 via 10. Additionally, there are variations in colours from area to area, so chances are you’ll have to experiment with patterns which can be barely lighter or darker.
Male Hendrickson Dun
Hook: TMC 100sp BL, sizes 12 to 16.
Thread: Camel eight/zero or 70-denier.
Wing: Darkish grey Para Submit.
Tails: Darkish grey hackle fibers.
Stomach: Pink/brown rabbit dubbing.
Hackle: Darkish dun.
Thorax: Pink/brown rabbit dubbing.
Head: Tying thread.
To fish a Hendrickson hatch correctly, then, you could deal with it as two hatches. If Hendrickson duns are the one bugs on the water, it’s a must to select between two patterns–a Mild Hendrickson or Pink Quill sample. Nevertheless, if there are two or extra hatches on the water concurrently, issues get extra sophisticated. To take care of this drawback, I deal with all of the spring hatches as a single occasion. I tie and carry a number of patterns, in a number of sizes and colours, to mimic blue-winged olives, blue quills, quill Gordons, and each sexes of Hendricksons.
As a result of all these bugs emerge in riffles or the sooner sections of a stream, a lot of the feeding exercise happens in quick water. Particular person trout transfer to a holding place within the middle of the stream and take the bugs as they move by. A standard imitative sample will normally take trout within the riffles as a result of the fish merely don’t have a lot time to check it earlier than they should decide. Nevertheless, some trout transfer to the calmer water and aspect eddies, the place they leisurely sip the bugs which have drifted into the slower water.
Parachute patterns have proved to be my most efficient flies for the spring mayfly hatches, particularly for fish in flat water. And if they’re tied with high-quality hackle and are totally saturated with floatant, parachute flies float equally properly within the sooner sections of a stream. I believe that the success of parachute flies might be attributed to the best way that they sit on the water like a pure, presenting a sensible profile to the trout.
Ted Fauceglia is the nation’s foremost photographer of aquatic bugs, and he writes the “Pure Reflections” column in every concern of American Angler. Ted can also be an FFI Licensed Casting Teacher, the creator of Mayflies (2004), and he has offered the bug and fly-pattern images for dozens of books.