Friday, March 30, 2012

Hendrickson Nymph

It is Hendrickson time here in New Jersey.  The hatch is a few weeks early due to the mild winter we have experienced here in the north east.  We are all hoping that the bugs stay around long enough for the season opener.  If you want to fish this hatch you can still get out on our trout conservation waters which are open year round, though they are likely to be crowded.  There have been no real prolific hatches report yet but there have been some sightings which mean the bugs are on the move.

Although I fish a number of emerger and dun patterns, I only fish on nymph pattern for this hatch.  I first found this fly in the book Flies for Trout by Dick Stewart and Farrow Allen.  I have been fishing the fly since the early nineties when the book first came out and I have never needed another pattern.  The grey band of dubbing in the center of the fly is essential to the pattern as the naturals often have a lighter coloration mid-abdomen.  I prefer the fly as shown (minus the crazy long guard hard that need to be plucked out!), though you can also add a bead if that's the way you roll.


Hook:  2x long nymph hook size 12 or 14
Thread:  Brown 6/0
Tail:  Well marked wood duck flank barbs
Abdomen: Reddish brown fur with a band of grey fur behind the thorax or in the mid section (look at your local nymphs)
Ribbing:  Copper wire (not in the original pattern)
Thorax: Reddish brown fur
Wing Case: Black section of turkey tail
Legs: Well marked wood duck flank or partridge barbs

These nymphs are active swimmers when emerging so subtle twitches and lift techniques are often productive when fishing this pattern.

Monday, March 26, 2012

"Winter" Fishing Wrap Up

This blog has been far too quiet lately.  My apologies to my regular readers.  Fortunately I have been busy fishing as well as working.  I thought I would share some images from some of my winter trips to the river.  We were blessed with a extremely mild winter this year.  I was able to fish in shirt sleeves or a light jacket for most of the days between December and the present.  Today we have seasonable temperatures in the mid fifties and it feels down right chilly!

The fishing this winter was phenomenal!   Although we experienced extremely high water during the spring, summer and fall, the lack of snow/rain this winter has really brought water levels down,  The low crystal clear water we typical experience in autumn has been with us all winter.  This mild weather has the bugs all confused as well.  Many hatches are several weeks early.  As it looks now we may miss our Hendrickson hatch completely as we suffer through three weeks of closed waters.

I had several months some of the best dry fly fishing I have ever experienced in New Jersey with loads of fish coming to the surface chasing our little black stoneflies.  This hatch has always been hit or miss because of weather and water conditions, but this year we had two solid months of consistent action on stoneflies.

There has been plenty of BIG fish as well.  My best this winter was a twenty six inch brown.  Unfortunately his picture will not be found on this blog because I was without a camera (my friends know that is a regular problem with me), but there are plenty of 22"-24" pictured on this post to make up for it.

Many of these big fish were taken on top but the largest were often taken dredging a nymph on a dark cloudy day.  This spring our rivers were chock full of suckers getting their spawn on.  Unlike some anglers, I have no aversion to matching that particular hatch so I am no stranger to sucker spawn patterns.  If its good enough for a fish to eat, its good enough for me to tie and fish!

When going down low effective patterns were my Yellow Stonefly Nymph, Cased CaddisChimarra Caddis and my trusty Pheasant Tail Anchor.  As far as dry flies went your basic black stone fly imitations produced well, the fish were not too picky.  But the biggest fish always seemed to rise to My buddy Lou's CDC Stone.  Water temps were high enough to get some great action on aggressively stripped streamers as well.

The last few days of the open season were the best.  Daytime temps in the seventies brought the water up into the mid fifties.  With temps like that the caddis and mayflies started popping.  I spent the last day of the open season fishing wet flies to very aggressive fish willing to chase down and absolutely smash the fly.  At the end of the day at dark I was treated to a caddis hatch and took several fish on Iris Caddis fished with movement in the film.

So my apologies again for the lack of posting but a man has to have his priorities.  Fishing will trump writing every time in my book!  I promise things will get back on track and you will hear a lot more from the Jersey Angler in the months to come.

Tight Lines!