Our first notable hatch of the season - the hendrickson hatch - seems to have ended more quickly than it began. Just a week or so ago, there were enough duns on the water to make henny stew if one was so inclined. This week, nothing.
For many bug chuckers - and I count myself as one of them - the hendrickson hatch reminds us of why we took up fly fishing. Hendrickson season is all about the dry fly and watching outsized fish come to the surface. Oftentimes, the hatch provides us with opportunities to catch our best fish of the year as the early season trout we encounter are both winter-hungry and winter-dumb. Fishing is easy; life is good.
And then the hatch ends, the world settles into its summer pace, and we're reminded that we're not river gods. We're mortal, and many of us are mediocre fishermen.
Truth be told, anyone can hendrickson. As the water warms and buds form on the trees, trout come out of their cold water lethargy and are almost always more eager than wary. They'll whack garish, articulated streamers. They'll swallow every pink worm and purple caddis in your box. They'll come up top to gulp hennies, ignore your flubbed casts, and eat your rusty spinner as it is dragged, cork screwing and rooster tailing across the pool. All that nonsense ends as the hatch wanes, and march browns and sulphurs take the stage.
It's hardly a coincidence that social media witnesses a marked decline in hero shots and keep 'em wet photos as May turns to June. Rivers drop and clear, trout aren't quite so famished or eager as they were only a month before, and the fishing is markedly more difficult. The only way to be successful is to change tactics, and bug chuckers can be awfully resistant to change.
In a way, I'm kind of glad to see the hennies come and go. I'm in the mood for a challenge, the kind that leaves me scratching my head, perhaps even leaves me without another amateurishly composed keep-em-wet photo. Hennies don't leave you scratching your head; they don't leave you without photos. Hendricksons leave you thinking you've got it all figured out,