A fellow fly tyer generously sent me a few cards of wool he had dyed. The color he was looking for when he dyed the wool is … elusive. “Orange-yellow spun fur or wool applied loosely or picked out to make it fuzzy” is how Joe Bates, Jr. described the body color of a Warden’s Worry in his wonderful book: “Streamers and Bucktails.”
It turns out there are almost as many shades of “orange-yellow” out there as there are people who tie the Warden’s Worry. Happily the “orange-yellow” shade he ended up with is a close match to the shade I like.
Of course I had to sit down and tie a few just to see how they would look. Like many who tie flies I make subtle changes to patterns when I’m tying for myself. When tying the Warden’s Worry I make two in particular.
The first change is substituting marabou for the wound hackle collar “gathered downward” into a beard. The second change is substituting the brown hair from a yellow bucktail for the “light brown bucktail” used in the original pattern. Neither change is dramatic and both have a reason.
When held in the hand, the finished fly with a marabou beard simply “looks” better to me than the hackle collared finish fly and the marabou beard doesn’t require wrapping hackle. Looking better and being easier to tie seem like good reasons to me so that’s the way I tie them. As a bonus the fish don’t seem to mind the change. One good reason for tying flies is that you get to – tie them the way YOU like them.
Using the brown hair from a bucktail that has been dyed yellow for the wing isn’t a change so much as it’s simply the way I was taught. I guess the end result actually follows the original recipe. The wing is indeed “light brown” perhaps a little lighter than most having been dyed bright yellow. Fortunately the fish don’t seem to mind this small change either.
Whichever way it is tied the pattern has been around since Joe Stickney, of Saco, Maine dreamed it up in 1930 and it catches fish to this day. I’ve asked people to weigh in one way or the other on the subject of the beard. If you care to vote for the traditional or the marabou beard please visit the forum and cast a vote.
06/13/14 – The Hendrickson Hatch has come and gone for the Waterville area. At least as far as I can tell. Now it’s time to head North in search of an area where they are still hatching. As I hoped it might the hatch seemed to stop gradually as you moved up the river. When Shawmut died out, Madison still had some as did Solon. Shortly after that there were none to be found (two days) in Madison (at least not by me) but Solon had them but I haven’t been back since the 7th and they were weak.
With the rain we have high water again – over 3,000CFS at the East Outlet, 4,700CFS in Bingham 5,000CFS in Solon but that’s all subject to quick change since the Sandy and Carrabassett don’t have overly high flows. Be sure and call 1800-557-3569 to get the flow phone for tomorrow if you’re planning on fishing.
Buy the way if you call the flow phone the interface is different this year. At first I had to redial for each location I wanted flow information on. I found a work-around for the menu. If you call try this.
During the blah-blah they make you listen to initially just hit the # button. That jumps you to the place where you hit 5 for the Kennebec. Hit the 5 button and that will take you to the menu where you hit 1 for Harris, 2 for another location and so on. Well, I just couldn’t get back to select another location so I’d end up hanging up and calling again – until – I discovered by hitting the * button I could select another location without all the hassle.
Anyway, above is a picture of a Solon rainbow – not Bingham but Solon. Greg B and I had a Solon Grand Slam up there on the 7th a Rainbow, a Brown, a Brookie and a Landlock. Fun time.
Dropping down to Shawmut again here’s a picture of some junk hung up on the island. I managed to get a bunch of the styrofoam out from the decking but I have to go back with a hatchet or an axe to get rid of that rope. What a mess. One thing about it though the styrofoam sure didn’t weigh much – it didn’t make poling any harder
On the 9th I dropped down to Waterville (Shad and Stripers still there) and found we still have good temps there as well as some fish traffic moving up the river. Look below and you’ll see the temp I got for that day and the “count sign” they keep at the lift.
Fishing is as good as it’s going to get. GO FISH!
June 6th, 2014 – The Hendrickson Hunt continues. The Hendricksons are hatching up and down the Kennebec River Valley. Well, at least from Bingham down to Fairfield. I admit since I discovered them on the Shawmut Section I haven’t gone further North than Bingham to fish them. They will be stopping soon in Shawmut and Madison and the end for Solon will come shortly after. Not so for Bingham. While they have started in Bingham they have just started and if they run their normal 10-days to two week course they will be there for awhile longer.
The water temperature in Solon on June 3rd was 56 degrees and while the hatch wasn’t really heavy it will be. As it was there were enough Hendricksons coming off so that I could easily seine them both from the water as nymphs and riding on the surface as Duns.
The fish still aren’t looking up in Solon. They are looking up in Shawmut and Madison. Or perhaps I should say they weren’t looking up in Solon on the 3rd – the fish have probably figured it out and started feeding on top by today the sixth. I’m heading out today for another shot at Shawmut hoping to find one or two of the fish IF&W stocked last fall.
If you’ve got a minute or two you might want to watch the video clip below. I was lucky enough to seine a nymph just as it was hatching. I didn’t get the whole emerging sequence but I got enough to be very interesting. Check it out.
May 30, 2014 – I found the Hendricksons or perhaps I should say they found me. Weekly I’ve been going over to the Little Ossipee River in search of an early Hendrickson hatch. Never found it. I found Hendrickson Nymphs but never saw one in the air or on the water. On my last trip over I had good fishing and high hopes but nothing for a hatch.
I looked high and low for Hendricksons. I walked the banks looking at spider webs. I looked at the underside of leaves. I seined the water looking for emergers and of course I was on the water looking for Duns from about 1:00pm until after 5:00pm and not a Hendrickson showed.
So I got in my truck and headed home. I had caught fish, had a great day, ran into Chris DeLisle for a streamside chat and yet I felt disappointed – I was sure I’d see Hendricksons in the air that day but it wasn’t to be.
The 24th it rained and on the 25th I was going to head back to the Little Ossipee. The Kennebec was still running high and even though the Hendrickson Hatch is normally on here in Fairfield I hadn’t seen any. Just for grins on the 25th I checked the Kennebec Flows – they were low. I wouldn’t find out why until the next day – a feared drowning was the cause of the low flow. It turns out nobody drown – something for which I’m happy – and I didn’t go to the Little Ossipee.
The resulting low flows were to tempting to leave and so off to Shawmut I went. I launched about 12:30pm and by 1:00pm Hendricksons were showing. Color me happy. No fish were rising – typical for an early Hendrickson Hatch but the bugs were in the air. I managed to net a male and female and they agreed to stick around long enough to pose for a photo or two. The guy on the left with the big red eyes is a Red Quill which is what people call the males because of the reddish brown tint to their bodies.
The mayfly below that one is also a Hendrickson but is noticeably bigger, has smaller black eyes and a completely different body color – but it’s a Hendrickson. That’s just the way they roll. No wonder people often think the Hendrickson hatch is two different hatches.
I didn’t get back on the water until the 28th and the hatch was much heavier by then. And even better than that the fish had started looking up. There was surface activity – I couldn’t hook up but fish were rising. However, since then rain and the release of all the water they held back looking for a drowning victim (who as I mentioned fortunately wasn’t a downing victim) has kept the flow too high for safe fishing. But that should change any day now and it’s back to the Hendrickson Hatch for me.
Here’s a video clips showing a couple of the Hendrickson Mayflies I saw at Shawmut.
May 09, 2014 – Wednesday morning I headed for the Little Ossipee river. It was my third trip over I figured I had a good chance of catching a Hendrickson hatch. Well – I saw Stoneflies, Caddisflies and Mayflies but none of the Mayflies were Hendricksons.
Big March Browns like this one danced over the water all afternoon and caddis appeared in waves pushed by the wind but no Hendricksons showed. I might have missed them but I don’t think so.
The water temperature was 52-degrees when I got there Wednesday morning and it topped out at 55-degrees late in the afternoon. That’s great for Hendricksons – but – the next morning the water temperature was 51-degrees and that’s not so good for Hendricksons. Or at least that’s the way I remember it.
I’m leaning towards the Hendricksons are almost ready but not quite. They are waiting for two or three consecutive days of 52-degree or warmer water temperatures – morning temperatures – before the hatch begins in earnest. Or said another way I sure hope I didn’t miss the hatch altogether. I mean, heck, they hadn’t started last week and the hatch normally goes at least a week – normally two – it can’t be over – I couldn’t have missed it – could I?
I’m heading for camp tomorrow morning and won’t be able to hit the Little Ossipee again until the 14th or 15th. If the hatch hasn’t started yet I should hit it because the water temps are right on the edge now. If it started and ended in less than a week and I missed it altogether than – well – I just prefer to think it hasn’t started yet
Anyway, here’s a video showing you some of the stuff I did scuff up off the bottom and picture or two of some bug activity.
Oh, and there were trout.