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Hendrickson Hunt

02/14/13 – Years ago my oldest brother gave me a small wall plaque that reads:

“Many people who are uninformed about outdoor sports are under the impression that all hunting and fishing consists of is hunting and fishing. The truth is that only three percent of hunting and fishing involves actual hunting and fishing. The other 97 percent is devoted to getting ready for hunting and fishing. – Field and Stream”

The watersheds of major Maine riversAnd it is oh, so true.

Most of my haphazard “off season” planning this winter has focused on the “Great Hendrickson Hunt” which is something I’ve had in the back of my mind for years now.  And being retired I can now pursue it.  Here’s how I envision the Hendrickson Hunt.

Sometime around the 2nd or 3rd week in April Hendricksons should begin hatching in the Kittery area. I want to be there to greet them.

About a month later here in Fairfield, about the 3rd week in May, Hendricksons should begin hatching.   I want to be there to greet them.

If that time pattern holds somewhere around the 3rd week in June in Van Buren, on the banks of the St. John, Hendricksons should be hatching. I want to be there to greet them.

That would be 3-months of Hendrickson Hunting spanning the length (about 300 miles as the crow flies) of Maine.  The Hendrickson Hatch normally lasts about 2 or 3 weeks but if all goes well I’ll get to fish in for months.  Imagine.

Of course I might have picked a better hatch than the Hendrickson since it is my most loved and most hated hatch of the summer.  I love the Hendrickson Hatch because it’s the first big hatch of spring and during it the fish relearn that the surface is a feeding area.  I hate the Hendrickson Hatch because for the first week of it there are usually no fish showing.  Thousands of bugs hatching off and not a fish rising – fish take awhile to relearn feeding on top.

So I spend much of the Hendrickson Hatch fishing sub-surface with a SASH wet-fly pattern. It’s a pattern Tom Ames Jr. came up with and it works well for me. There’s a link to a video showing how to tie this pattern at the end of this article. Ames uses this pattern as a searching pattern from May through June in riffle, pocket water and on the edges of runs and pools.  I figure it’s his pattern so I do the same with it. The pattern is a consistent producer – especially if you fish it with an up and down motion – in sizes 16 to 12.

Jim Bernstein of Eldredge Bros. Fly Shop is going to help me with the timing of the southern Hendrickson Hatch and here in Fairfield I can keep an eye on the hatch for myself.  Actually, I can keep an eye on the Hendrickson from here to Millinocket since I’m frequently up there enjoying camp.

That covers the first third of the state (100 miles from Kittery to Fairfield) and the second third of the state (100 miles from Fairfield to Millinocket) but I’m at something of a loss for hatch and water temperature for the top third of the state (100 miles from Millinocket to Van Buren) as I must admit I’ve spent little time on any of the St. John watershed.

So if you’re familiar with the waters, hatches and timing in those St. John watershed waters and you’re willing I sure could use some help. Actually, I could use some help with start dates anywhere in the state.  I started a post on the forum titled The Hendrickson Hunt and if you have some Hendrickson information I’d sure appreciate you posting it.

In the meantime for any of you who tie or have friends that tie there is a video below showing how to tie the SASH.  The key to this pattern seems to be the dubbing blend and of course you can’t buy it blended anywhere I know of.  However, all you need to blend it is equal amounts of Green, Yellow and Orange Acrylic Yarn and a blender.  You’ll be able to supply yourself for life and all you friends to boot.  That or come to a Tie and Lie – I’ve got a ton of the stuff and I’ll share: 🙂