Classic Video: How to Tie a Hendrickson, Catskill-Style

Note the hallmarks of Catskill tiers: a slim body, careful proportions, and bare hook behind the eye.

All the anglers around Orvis HQ are waiting for that first report of a Hendrickson sighting. The emergence of Ephemerella subvaria is the most anticipated event on many Midwestern and Eastern anglers’ calendars, and last May, the hatch produced some of the best fish of the year for our colleagues. (See here and here).

In this great video from Tightline Productions, author and blogger Matt Grobert takes on the venerable Catskill-style dry fly, which is actually pretty brave. For some tiers, the importance of getting every detail correct in tying Catskill-style patterns is of the utmost importance, and they will argue about proportions, materials, and even the “correct” number of thread wraps. I suspect that Grobert, while clearly respecting tradition, is more interested in creating a fish-catching fly that performs well on the water. Of course, you can use this pattern to imitate any of the mayflies on your local waters. To learn more about Catskill patterns, check out Mike Valla’s book Tying Catskill-Style Dry Flies.

          Catskill-Style Hendrickson Dry Fly
          Hook: Standard dry-fly hook (here, a TMC 100), sizes 12-14.
          Thread: Olive, 6/0.

Wing: Wood-duck flank feather.
          Tail: Dark dun hackle fibers.
          Abdomen: Hendrickson Australian possum dubbing.
          Hackle: Dark Dun.
          Head: Tying thread.

          Note: You can imitate many other mayfly emergers by changing
          the colors and hook size.

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