Farmington River Report 4/17/20: Hendricksons & spectacular wet fly action

“Do you always fish three wet flies at the same time?” I get this question a lot. “Almost always” is the answer. The “almost” comes from days like today when I had to remove the middle dropper because I was catching multiple trout on every cast.

I certainly didn’t expect it to be that kind of day.

Wind was an issue. Cold was another. The Hendrickson hatch I experienced was nothing extraordinary — I’d give it a four out of ten. But I hadn’t done a session dedicated to wets this year, and the start of the Hendrickson hatch seemed as good a time as any.

Spot A below the permanent TMA was a blank. Off to Spot B inside the permanent TMA, which was fully occupied. (If you haven’t been to river yet, you may be shocked by the number of anglers. Church Pool was as close to looking like the Riverton Opening Day Fishing Derby as I’ve ever seen it.) But then, as luck would have it, one of the anglers decided to leave, and I took his place in the lineup. Thank you, generous stranger, because I discovered a pod of ravenous trout that showed themselves the moment the hatch began.

Today’s lunch, fresh from a captured brown’s mouth. 


So, for two hours, I bailed trout. The tally was surely in the multiple dozens. I know I had close to ten doubles, even after I took one fly out of the mix. Business was about 10% on the Squirrel and Ginger and the rest on the Dark Hendrickson Winged Wet, which, if you don’t tie, you should. (You can thank me later.)

Having so many active feeders was certainly a plus, but the guy above me was nymphing and I didn’t see him hook up. Ditto the guy below me, who, after I waved him up and he changed to wets, began catching in earnest. I’d say most of my fish came from placing my team over the positions of active feeders. The trout did the rest.

This is great time of year to be swinging wet flies. Hit a prolific hatch (like the Hendrickson) just right, and you’ll be giggling in your waders, too.

9 comments on “Farmington River Report 4/17/20: Hendricksons & spectacular wet fly action

  1. Steve says:

    Fishing lower in the TMA there wasn’t as much action as you had, fish or anglers! One on a Quill Gordon Wet middle dropper and a few plucks. Luckly I had switched to a Comparadun when the light hatch began, and took a nice 19-20ish Brown. By then my leaky waders had frozen my foot so time to end on a high note, and start to research new waders!

  2. Dick Sablitz says:

    Excellent day of on stockers!!!

  3. James J Berry says:

    yo, just got done finishing up my catskill style Hendrickson’s – so I went to order lemon wood duck to tie up some of the above so I would be prepared – try and buy some lemon wood duck = its not available any where. I’ll try some mallard.

  4. Joseph M. Wicklow, III says:

    I really enjoy, and benefit from your tying videos, especially when you weave in a bit of piscatorial history. Having just finished tying up a 1/2 dozen of your Soft Hackled March Brown pattern, I’m on to your Dark Hendrickson Winged Wet.

    • Steve Culton says:

      Good stuff, Joseph. I want to thank you for your kind words and for taking the time to comment. A reminder that both of those patterns are a lot older than I am! Enjoy, tie and fish on… 🙂

  5. […] When I give a wet fly lesson, I always tell my clients this: “If you hit a hatch just right, you can have one of those days you’ll never forget.” And it so it was for me on a cool afternoon in April. Hendrickson season can be tough on the Farmington, especially if you’re looking for an unoccupied mark. But sometimes luck smiles upon you, and on this day it was so. The run I wanted to fish was on lockdown, but just as I arrived, an angler left, leaving a prime lie open. Armed with a three fly team of wets, I proceeded to wreak havoc upon the residents. This was one of those days where I quickly lost count of fish, but it was easily in the multiple dozens range. (Fresh fish + epic Hendrickson hatch + wet flies = stupid good.) I had doubles galore. I finally quit because it was so ridiculous for so long. Really. You can read about it here. […]

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