The first time I ever heard of Henderson Springs Lodge was from my old friend Dr. Ben Kliger RIP over 25 years ago. He spoke about a great place to visit that had a bunch of different fly fishing opportunities–a combination of lakes, ponds and streams with a great comfortable lodge. Recently, Jim Cramer invited me to join a group of fishermen headed by Norm Sauer, a group of flyfishermen that have been going to Henderson Springs annually for over ten years and are all seasoned fly fishermen. It was great to actually have some mutual friends in common with some of the guys. Trent Pridemore, a retired dentist, was someone I admired and had met when I was in high school working for Creative Sports Enterprise’s Andy Puyans back in the early 70’s. I had never fished with him but he has been a active part of flyfishing conservation and restoration for over 40 years. Tim Ackerman emailed me a couple weeks ago off of Dan Blanton’s board to discuss stripping buckets . He loves to flyfish for Stripers more than trout which makes him my brother. Dirk Reed, just came back from an offshore Tuna trip with our mutual friend Dan Dee. Turns out Dirk also is friends with Al Whitehurst (he was using a rod Al built for him). John Bjorkholm and Mike Conner have flyfished all over the world and have converged on one of their favorite destinations if not for the trophy trout but for the camaraderie and accommodations. Both had great fly fishing stories to share.
Henderson Springs, located near Big Bend in northern California is only a 5 hour drive from San Jose, It sits on 500 acres of remote wilderness and encompasses 4 large lakes, two ponds and a spring creek. It is a purely catch and release fly fishing resort that rents float tubes if you don’t want to lug yours up. Open from September 22 to November 27 and from February 15th to June15th, the lodge has 8 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 2 living rooms and has TV and Internet as well as a 75 foot long salt water pool and hot tub. The chefs–Michelle and Marsha–can be hired to cater your trip and cook wonderful dinners. The Kitchen is stocked with lunch and breakfast food so anglers can cook or eat on there own schedule.
We had a chance to fish three of the 6 ponds and all the lakes seem to produce equal amounts of large fish. We fished Chironomids and stillwater leeches and streamers with good success in all they lakes. I pumped one fish and found small chironomids and calibaetis mayflies. There was not much of a hatch per se and I don’t think anyone hooked fish on a dry fly but someone told me that they hooked a fish on a “cicada” Fly\Indicator. As per the quantity of fish, I managed to catch two to three fish an hour including the time it took to figure out the lakes. The first thing I noticed was you can get a good idea where the fish are by just walking around the lake or pond and looking in the flats. The fish were feeding and schooling in area transitioning from the deep (20ft) to the flats (5ft). If I didn’t see them in the flats, they were in the deep middles and ate trolled\and cast streamers. The most fun was casting Chironomids and site fishing rising or jumping fish with a streamer. The lakes contain large triploid rainbow trout and Mark Henderson (owner of the lodge) mentioned that they spend over 40 thousand dollars stocking the ponds with quality fish from 5 -25 pounds.