Hatches Made Easy:
Hendrickson and the Red Quill - Nymphs
The subvaria nymph is a crawler nymph that is occasionally exposed although
they do their best to stay hidden from the trout. Like most mayfly nymphs, they
are much more susceptible to being eaten just prior to a hatch than at any other
time. These nymphs hatch in the surface skim in smooth to moderately flowing
water. Even so, it usually doesn't take very long for them to be caught by the
faster currents and carried downstream. The first key to catching trout on
Ephemerella subvaria nymph imitations in the Smokies, is finding the
areas of the stream where the Hendricksons are present. You will want to
look for smooth water such as the shallow parts of pools, large pockets, the
ends of long runs and other areas of water that is moving along moderately.
These nymphs prefer softer bottoms consisting of sand, soil and/or bottoms
made up of small gravel or cobble. If you have prior knowledge of where the
Hendricksons hatch it will certainly help.
This hatch normally starts about the last week of March. It usually follows the
Quill Gordon hatch but may start before the end of the Quill Gordon hatch.
Remember, the exact time of year varies with the weather and existing water
conditions but the order in which the insects hatch does not change. These
mayflies hatch from the mid to late afternoon depending on the weather.
Sometimes the duns are not completely finished coming off before the spinner
fall starts. If you find the duns or spinners in the late afternoon, you will know
that same area of the stream will most likely have some nymphs ready to hatch
the following day and you can usually do well using a nymph imitation the
In the mornings prior to the hatch, imitations should be presented right on the
bottom in the slow sides of seams bordering faster moving water and along the
edges of pockets. In the mornings, I would first try "high sticking" with short up
and across stream cast.
In the early afternoons, before the hatch starts you may try fishing the current
seams using a longer up and across presentation. Allow the fly to drift
downstream of your position, and then stop the rod and allow the fly to rise to
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Copyright 2008 James Marsh
Hendrickson Nymph: Thumbnail -
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