Wisconsin Fly Fishing for Trout

Hendrickson Mayfly Hatch
Ephemerella subvaria


subvaria nymphHendrickson mayfly hatch (Ephemerella subvaria) is is a major mayfly on the freestone streams throughout Northern Wisconsin. The abundant nymphs are found in the riffles among the rock and gravel bottom. Depending on the Spring weather pattern and the stream, Ephemerella subvaria nymphs will be hatching anywhere from mid-April to mid-May. If the temperatures stay cooler the hatch can last for 2 to 3 weeks. Offering fly fishermen some great Spring trout fishing.

During this time in the mornings the trout will begin to key in on the Ephemerella subvaria nymphs. The nymphs become very active and their wing cases will turn very dark prior to emergence. A size #12 hare's ear nymph can be deadly prior to the hatch. Once the hatch first begins a CDC wing emerger or a soft hackle wet fly can take a lot of trout. When the small gray winged sailboats start to cover the water a size #12 or #14 comparadun, or the classic light and dark Hendrickson dry flies can make an exciting afternoon of fishing. The male subvaria are generally smaller and a dark reddish color. The Red Quill dry fly is an excellent imitation for the male Ephemerella subvaria dun. Tthe female duns are more of a gray-brown color and have smaller eyes. (Click here for Hendrickson mayfly patterns).

Generally in cooler Spring weather the hatch will begin around 1-2 pm in the afternoon and can last for a couple of hours. On overcast days the hatch may sporatically occur from morning to late afternoon. If the weather is unseasonably cold the duns may ride on the water for quite a long time before being able to fly off. This makes the helpless duns very easy meal for rising trout.

In the evening don't pass up the terrific Hendrickson spinner falls. They generally occur around dusk over the riffles and faster sections on the stream. Hendrickson spinner falls may also appear in the morning with warmer Spring temperatures.

Ephemerella subvaria nymph

Ephemerella subvaria nymphs
Ephemerellasubvaria nymph

Below is a short video I took of an Ephemerella subvaria nymph (Hendrickson) swimming. Notice the swimming motions of the nymph. This is why a small, dark wiggle nymph pattern works so well when the trout are feeding on the nymphs, if you have the patience to tie them. :-)

Ephemerella subvaria dun

Hendrickson duns
Ephemerella subvaria male dun (red quill)

Ephemerella subvaria male dun (red quill)
Hendrickson comparadun pattern

Male Hendrickson emerging
Male Hendrickson dun mayfly

Hendrickson Dun Mayfly
Ephemerella subvaria water

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Page Reviews

Web Page: Hendrickson Mayfly Hatch | Red Quill | Ephemerella subvaria
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Overall Rating: 4.5 stars - 4 reviews

Paged Reviewed: Hendrickson Mayfly Hatch | Red Quill | Ephemerella subvaria
Reviewed By: M. Nieboer
Page Rating: 4.5
Review Date: 10 March 2015
Page Review:
Great photos of the naturals, and great flies...I'm already tying.
Paged Reviewed: Hendrickson Mayfly Hatch | Red Quill | Ephemerella subvaria
Reviewed By: J Hosking
Page Rating: 4.5
Review Date: 7 August 2012
Page Review:
Very informative page, helps me better understand the Hendrickson hatch. Love the photos!.
Paged Reviewed: Hendrickson Mayfly Hatch | Red Quill | Ephemerella subvaria
Reviewed By: B Towle
Page Rating: 5.0
Review Date: 3 January 2014
Page Review:
Very informative. Great pictures on the lifespan of a Hendrickson and what they look like.
Paged Reviewed: Hendrickson Mayfly Hatch | Red Quill | Ephemerella subvaria
Reviewed By: Matt
Page Rating: 5.0
Review Date: 15 February 2014
Page Review:
Well done. Lovely page of one of my favorite mayfly hatches. Great pictures. I fish almost exclusively on the Delaware system and see more Hendricksons (females?) than I do see the Red Quills (males) might you be able to offer an explanation of that? Thanks.
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