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Fly Tying Terms

Female Hendrickson

Tom Deschaine, Westland, MI - July 13, 2009

Most fly fisherman are familiar with the Hendrickson fly created by Roy Steenrod in 1916. The fly was first developed for the Ephemerella subvaria hatch and fished on the Beaverkill River, in the Catskill Mountains. He named it after his fishing companion A.E. Hendrickson. The body was originally tied with what Roy called, “fawn fox belly fur (light reddish).” Art Flick’s version called for using, urine stained fox belly fur from a vixen fox. This has been the most popular version of the fly for many years.

George Cooper is credited with the origin of the Female Hendrickson --- the same fly but with the addition of a yellow egg sac. George was a blacksmith and tyer from the Catskill area, who is also credited with being the first commercial tyer in the Catskills. I’m presenting to you today the most commonly tied pattern.




Step #1 Lay in a good base of Gray, 6/0 thread.

Step #2 Tie in your tail of Blue Dun Hackle Fibers, then run your thread forward to the wing position.

Step #3 Tie in the wing material of Wood Duck Flank Fibers and trim off the excess, unwanted material.

Step #4 Divide you wings and using the figure eight tie them in. When you have finished run your thread to the rear of the hook.

Step #5 Tie in your Chenille.

Step #6 Wrap the egg sac and tie it off.

Step #7 your thread with dubbing wax and apply the fox dubbing.

Step #8 Bring your dubbing forward and secure the tread at the head of the fly. I take the opportunity now to trim the dubbing.

Step #9 Securely tie in your Blue Dun Hackle.

Step #10 Wrap your hackle, hand tie or whip finish the head. Using your Bodkin, secure the thread using a half hitch.

Step #11 Trim your thread off. Give a final trim to the fly if necessary. Add head cement to the head and tail section of the fly.

Notes: The fly is significant for a lot of fisherman because it is used for subvaria, invaria and rotunda species hatches. For many fly fishermen these hatches are the first major hatches of the spring --- running through May and June. Only the very brave venture out for the earlier cold weather hatches.

Normally, I would not concern myself with egg sac flies but the afternoon hatches allow the egg sac to be extremely visible to the fish. If youíve ever fished with Female Hendrickson you already know what a great producer it is during the spinner phase.

The difficultly is that the material (urine stained fox belly fur of the vixen fox) is very hard, if not impossible to find. I am fortunate in that regard because in years gone by I laid-in modest supply of the material. If any of you are fortunate enough to locate it, please share that information with web sites like this one. Iím told that cream fox belly fur is the most appropriate substitute today (also no easily found).

See you on the water…..
Tom Deschaine, Westland, MI

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