Hatch’s Emerger–And a ‘Streamside’ Johnny Appleseed

Last summer, I was fishing a particular river in New Hampshire. A beautiful stretch that is known to harbor some particularly nice rainbows and land locks. Over a period of time, I had some luck coaxing a couple of those ‘bows to my fly, but there was a fella who was catching 3 or 4 to my one. My curiosity got the better of me and so I ambled and stumbled my way over and asked him ‘what the heck’ he had tied onto the end of his line. I lucked out and rather than being greeted by a grunt and a vague non-committal response about some non-existent bug; this fella greeted me with a smile and reached into his fly box. He gave me one of those flies and said that it was a New Hampshire favorite and that I might do well to tie one on. I did. And fishing that very same water, began to hook up as many fish as this fella was–including a nice land lock salmon along with those bright rainbows. In addition to this kindness, he invited me to fish a particular run that he had been fishing, as he was packing up to leave. It wasn’t so much the water as the spot to cast from, as it provided better casting advantage–but I’ve moved ahead a bit.

At some point, a young boy of about 10 years appeared behind us up on the bank and being an inquisitive boy, eventually came in closer to look at the fish and exclaim his wonder. He would first talk with me a bit and then make his way over to the other fella and then back over again. This went on for a while and he was no bother at all–just a boy doing what boys do.

I could only see the interactions between the other and the boy. I couldn’t hear any conversation for water and distance, but one of his jaunts over to the other resulted in him coming over by me with a very nice chunky rainbow in his hands with a grin as big as the cheshire and a ‘wait till my Mom sees this’–and off he went.

The fella and I shared a glance and a smile just as big and a bit later a handshake, names and a well to do.

I’ve not been able to remember his name. I wish that I could, but that day and those circumstances have made this particular fly all the more special in memory.

I lost that fly and since I’ve been tying a lot lately, I thought I’d try to find and reproduce the pattern. That led to my posting to a fly fishing forum a bit of the story and a description of the fly, which led to discovering that I wasn’t alone in running into this individual and the fly that he seems to favor. I’ve discovered that at least two other individuals came by this pattern in the very same way that I did. To whoever you be, I am sorry to have forgotten your name and I do hope to run into you again. Thank you.

Turns out it is a pattern developed by one of New Hampshire’s own. One Ellis Hatch, who worked for NH Fish and Game and is a tier of some reputation, hereabouts.

The pattern has come to be known as ‘Hatch’s Emerger’.

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These pictures are of my first attempts at this pattern and although the version given to me was tied on a short shanked wet fly hook if memory serves; these are tied using a size 16 fine wired dry fly hook and peacock quill, fine copper wire, peacock herl, wood duck and a bit of black dubbing at the eye. I plan to show the progression of a new tier, as the fly improves with technique and care. It should be mentioned that Mr. Hatch won’t take credit for the pattern. Its reported that he thinks he saw it first, in some British publication. Still–Mr. Hatch has certainly made the pattern and variations popular and deserves some measure of credit.

The following video will be of some help for those who might want to learn more detail and give it a try. William (aka Flyspoke) was gracious to give me permission to post his work. Thank you, William. Thank you Ellis Hatch. And thanks once again to the kind stream side ‘johnny appleseed’ of the ‘Hatch’s Emerger’.

Another try. I tried to clean it up a bit. The first one is without the black dubbing in front of the hackle and using partridge instead of wood duck for the hackle.

Getting There--Need Better Twirling Technique

Sunday Best--In a Messy Kinda Way

I'm Getting Addicted--I Can't Stop

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~ by John McGranaghan on January 22, 2011.

6 Responses to “Hatch’s Emerger–And a ‘Streamside’ Johnny Appleseed”

  1. James,
    I saw you talking about this on the forum site.
    That thing came out nice. I think I have all the materials for it in my stash. I am going to have give that a shot.
    I don’t have anything like that in any of my boxes.

    Did you use just the fine wire to add weight to it? Didn’t know if you put a wrap of wire underneath it or thought of putting a small bead on the head…

    -Eric

  2. Eric–I followed Flyspoke’s instructions for these. There is no wire for weight, only for ribbing, as called for in this pattern. I have plenty of wood duck feathers and really liked the look of Flyspoke’s turn out, so I’ve decided to take this opportunity to practice his technique for winding a wood duck feather around the hook for a soft hackle. After I get that down, I plan to use partridge for the hackle for some variety. Feel free to post pics of your tie. I think it would be great to provide a showcase for this pattern, as an encouragement to beginners and notsobeginners alike.
    🙂

  3. James,
    I will.
    I don’t have any orange/rust thread… Looks like I have to make a run to Stone River- darn….

    I’ll definitely post my results.
    -Eric

  4. John,
    The fly looks great. Make sure you tie some extras for your friends! The story of how it fell into your possession is even better. I hope you run into that guy again.
    Ted

    • Yo Ted! Thanks for the encouragement. I’m starting to get the hang of it, but I’ve got a long way to go. I’ve got a bunch of them ready for you. Still tying them, today and trying to get the techniques down. Good stuff for a cold January Sunday.

      Tight lines and a dominant right eye.
      🙂

  5. John,
    BTW- sorry about getting your name wrong…
    Thought I remembered someone referring to you as James in your blog or on the forum once upon a time.

    They are getting better.
    SRO was out of rust brown 8/0… I have an order in online to get some. I have some copper wire out of some old electronics a buddy gave me. He is just getting into tying and had some of his products that had copper coils in them that he ripped out. I am hoping to give this a whirl later this week.

    -Eric

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