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The Great Hendrickson Hunt – June 6, 2014

June 6th, 2014 – The Hendrickson Hunt continues.  The Hendricksons are hatching up and down the Kennebec River Valley.  56 and holdingWell, 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 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAsixth.  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.





The Great Hendrickson Hunt – May 30, 2014

May 30, 2014 – I found the Hendricksons or perhaps I should say they found me.  Weekly I’ve been going over to the Little Little Ossipee Stocked BrookieOssipee 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.

Spider Webs hold cluesThe 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 – Red Quill - Male Hendricksontypical 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 Hendrickson Femaledifferent 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.



The Great Hendrickson Hunt – May 9, 2014

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.  March Brown SpinnerWell – 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.

Brook Trout






The Great Hendrickson Hunt – May 02, 2014

Well last year’s Hendrickson Hunt was a bust. A weird spring and a bunch of other things (gas money for one) sort of shut it down. But this year I’m at it again and here’s an update.

So far I’ve made two trips over to the Little Ossipee River in search of early Hendricksons. I know they may be

Water Temp - 42 degrees

hatching somewhere but they aren’t hatching there yet. The first trip the water temperature was only 42-degrees. My second trip (April 29th) I got a water temperature of 49-degrees and saw nymph activity.

At 42-degrees there were no nymphs to be found in the shallows but at 49 they were busy and moving around along the edges.  Them and lots of other bugs. I found Stoneflies, smaller Clinger Mayflies, Stick Cased Caddis and one good sized Dragonfly Nymph.

So the hunt is on. I’m going to give it about a week to 10-days and hit the Little Ossipee again. If it would stop raining every day I’d go sooner but I don’t think the water is warming very fast with the cool rains and cool nights.  Next week I should get to fish the hatch.

Here’s a short clip showing one of the Hendrickson Nymphs I caught and if you aren’t aware of how well they swim you should check this out. Oh, and this is what will pass for Friday Updates for awhile. There’s not much to post about the Kennebec River right now except it’s high and dirty.

01/17/14 – Gold Dredging Again

01/17/14 – Hey – how am I supposed to know this is Friday not Thursday – I’m retired. So a day late but here goes.

A couple of weeks ago I posted about a bill that placed some needed restrictions on Gold Dredging here in Maine.  It was a first step and now it’s time for the next one.

Step two is LD 1671:
An Act To Prohibit Motorized Recreational Gold Prospecting in Certain Atlantic Salmon and Brook Trout Spawning Habitats

When I posted about the last bill I linked to a video showing some dredging.  Well, I kept looking and found more videos and after watching them I decide to make a short (about 2-minutes) showing some of the damage that these dredging operations can do – a condensed consolidation of what I saw on YouTube.

Check this out.

This bill needs some support from the fishing community. Believe me the Gold Dredger are organized and they will be there in force. There were plenty at the last hearing and they aren’t shy about speaking out. We need to be just as vocal and supportive of this bill as they are in opposition to it.

If you can attend the hearing and want to the time and location are listed below. If you can’t make it but are willing to send an email please send it to the Committee Clerk also listed below.

The hearing is Monday, January 27th, 1 pm, in room 216 of the Cross Building (right behind the Capitol building in Augusta, parking in the parking garage).

Jacob Stern
Clerk, Committee on Enviornment and Natural Resources
Maine State LegislatureCross Building, Room 216

To track the bill or find a PDF with the bill text follow this link. … =l&ld=1671

01/09/14 – World’s Best Fly Box

01/09/14 – Ahhhh……………the search continues for the World’s Best Fly Box.  Something I’m convinced doesn’t exist.  There are lots of them out there.  Yep, all kinds – thick ones, thin ones – metal ones, plastic ones – and all of them are the “Best” when I buy them but it isn’t long before I find some shortcomings.

Altoids TinLike many my first “fly box” (that I remember) was a tin of some sort. Small enough so that I could stick it in my pocket and it had a cover that fit tight so it wouldn’t come open and spill all my flies if I dropped it.  I didn’t see why anyone needed anything more than that.

Until one day while applying great pressure trying to get that tight cover off it suddenly released and the resulting jerking motion I made with my hands tossed every fly out of the box onto the water.  After that I started looking for a “tin” that opened easier.

What I found was the ubiquitous 35mm film can.  Something that’s not so common today. I had plenty of those and some of them were clear, well you could sort of see through them anyway, and you could at least pick out a colorful fly like a Royal Wulff that had been stuffed in there.  Yep – stuffed – space was becoming a problem.  Dry flies didn’t float so well back in the day of “Agricultural Fair” selected rooster hackle and crushing that poor hackle didn’t help flotation.

Perrine Fly Box

Then I found Perrine Fly Boxes and my search was over.  They were themselves practically indestructible and they were thick enough so hackle didn’t get crushed. And they had springs and clips – all sorts of good features.  They were the answer until I opened up a box one day and found the ventilation holes didn’t really allow your flies to dry and rusted hooks became one of my ever since reoccurring nightmares.

So not liking the water retention features of springs and clips I moved to foam fly boxes.  Ripple Foam – yes sir – now there was the answer. At least until I realized that barbless flies don’t stay in foam very well.  I was tying my own flies by then and I didn’t pinch the barb until I tied the fly onto the leader.  Mainly because if I pinched the barb on a fly when I tied the fly it wouldn’t stay in place in the ripple foam. I could always tell which flies I had pinched the barbs on – they were the loose ones that fell out when I opened the fly box.  I was right back to the problem I had with the Altoids Tin.

But then someone came up with the idea of cutting slits in foam and trapping the hook in a slit instead of shoving slim fly boxthe point of the hook into the foam. They simply let the foam “grip” the hook bend.  Good idea. And that’s what most of my fly boxes are now.  Some are thick, some are thin but most all of them have foam with cutouts for hackle space and slits to grab the hook bend.

The slim box shown here doesn’t take a hackled fly very well (no cutout in the foam in front of the slot to prevent crushing hackle) but it sure does a good job on nymphs and parachutes (small parachutes or you crush the post). It also holds a LOT of flies in a very small space. That’s a good thing because the larger boxes are just that – large.

For a larger box I go to the C&F waterproof boxes (you know the ones that are really only water resistant not waterproof) or another brand of box with similar design.  I really like the double sided fly boxclear top ones Orvis offers now but only for streamers and nymphs.  You can’t put big dries like Drake imitations in them because there isn’t any cutout in the foam to prevent crushing hackle. But the clear tops are nice.

So my search for the “World’s Best Fly Box” continues and I think the answer might come in my lifetime.  If we could only get Orvis to put C&F foam in their big clear top fly box we’d be a lot closer.

But then maybe I don’t have to wait – if I get out my X-acto knife and do a little careful carving…….how hard could it be…………………