Red Brown Nymph–Hendrickson
The Hendricksons are upon us, and it’s time to haul out the old vise and crank a few imitations. I love the Hair Leg Nymph style for all my mayfly nymph imitations. It’s a very easy design to tie, quite rugged, and highly effective. While mayfly nymphs vary in color, this Red Brown Nymph works just fine for most of the medium to small species. By the way, this was the first Hair Leg Nymph that I designed, in the spring of 1971, and I still rely very heavily on this color and the design.
First tie in a tail of pheasant tail fibers, and a piece of fine copper wire for the rib
Add an abdomen of coarse red brown dubbing and counterwind the copper rib. Wind the ribbing wire as extra weight under the thorax.
Tie in 6 pieces of peacock herl to be used for the covert, form a spinning loop and apply coarse red brown dubbing loosely to one side.
Pluck a clump of guard hairs from the back of a cotton tail rabbit skin and place them in the loop on top of the dubbing and at right angles to the thread. Spin the loop tight and wind it forward to form the thorax. After each turn, stroke the hair legs back so they don't get trapped under a subsequent turn.
TOP VIEW. Stroke the legs out to the sides before pulling the herl forward to make the covert.
After pulling the herl forward tightly over the top of the thorax, tie it down securely at the head. Tie the finishing knot in front of the herl and immediately behind the eye. Clip the herl to leave the butt ends the same length as the hook eye. Clip the hair legs off thee bottom of the fly.
TOP VIEW. I use a drop of thin, flexible head cement to coat the thread and butt ends of the herl. The finished fly gives a very good impression of the Hendrickson nymph. I fish it from about 11 am until the hatch starts, and perhaps into the first part of thee hatch until bigger fish begin to show in the surfacer feeding zone.