Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
2. Little Winter Stoneflies
3. Blue-winged Ollives (Baetis brunnicolor) and Little BWOs
4. Blue Quills
5. Quill Gordons
6. Little Black Caddis (Brachycentrus)
7. Little Brown Stoneflies
Most available/ Near hatching and/or other types of available food:
8. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
"K.I.S.S. A Bug" Series - Hendrickson and Red Quill - Part 1
General Information and Name Origin
I'm finally going to get ahead of the season's hatches of aquatic insects, or at least I think I will. I
wouldn't be surprised to see the Hendricksons and Red Quills starting to hatch next week.
Normally, we show the earliest they start to hatch as the last week of March, but everything is
running at least a month ahead of schedule this year due to the unusually warm, winter season.
Just when you thought that my new K.I.S.S. series on aquatic insects made everything
simple as mud pie, here we come along with a mayfly with a two part name - The
Hendrickson and the Red Quill. Well, let me say it's also just called the Hendrickson hatch, but
most anglers call this mayfly by its respective gender, the Hendrickson and the Red Quill,
depending on whether they are referring to the male or the female. The males and the females
have completely different color bodies. That's why the male is called the Red Quill and the
female is called the Hendrickson. The real name of this mayfly, which you may instantly forget
if you choose to do so, is the Ephemerella subvaria.
That still doesn't quite explain the name "Hendrickson". According to Roy Steenrod, a New York
angler, the story behind the name goes like this. In 1916, he and Mr. A. E. Hendrickson were
fishing the Beaver Kill, a river near Roscoe, New York, when a huge hatch of mayflies came off
the water. He caught one, put it in his fly box and that afternoon, tied a fly to match it. The two
guys caught one trout after another on the fly pattern that day and continued to do so for years.
About two years after that happened, A. E. asked Roy what he was going to name the fly. He
replied, "I'm going to name it after you - I'm calling it the Hendrickson". The pool where that hatch
occurred is now named the Hendrickson Pool.
Thumbnail Images: click to enlarge, courtesy of Dennis McCarthy
Now that you think you have the names figured out, let me also point out that fly tiers
have made a even much bigger mess out of the Hendrickson and Red Quill hatch than
that. Over the years, two other fly patterns were developed for this hatch. One is called the Dark
Hendrickson and the other the Light Hendrickson. That wouldn't be so bad if the same two fly
patterns were not also thought to be used to imitate other mayflies, but I'm not going to get into
that mess. As far as I'm concerned, both of these fly patterns, the Light Hendrickson and
the Dark Hendrickson, are very poor imitations of any mayfly.
The nymphs of the Hendrickson and the Red Quill mayflies are crawler nymphs but unlike the
Blue Quills we just finished covering, which I call half crawler and a half swimming nymphs, the
Hendricksons and Red Quills are true crawler nymphs.
Let me quickly summarize some important KISS points about crawler nymphs in general.
Much of this was covered under the Blue Quill articles.
*They inhibit about all types of water (except very fast water) from flowing streams to still water.
*The shape of the bodies of some crawler nymphs depends on their habitat, some being more
like clingers and some more like the swimmers. (not specific to the Hendrickson/Red Quills)
*Most crawler nymphs are feeble swimmers. If scared, they will try to swim using undulating (they
wiggle) body movements but they can't really swim as such. This includes the Hendricksons and
*All clinger mayflies: Both the nymphs and the adults have three tails.
*Nationwide, the crawlers are very plentiful and constitute some of the super hatches, but in the
fast water pocket streams of the Smokies, they are not as numerous as the clingers or swimmers.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh