Farmington River Report 4/26/21: fun with the Hendricksons

On Monday I fished from 11:30am to 3:30pm. It was cold and crisp and the wind was honking. I started off on the lower River, swinging a team of three wets (Squirrel and Ginger on top, Dark Hendrickson winged middle dropper, tungsten bead head Hendrickson soft hackle on point. I fished both faster pocket water and slower, deeper pools. Both produced, despite the lack of hatch activity (I saw only two Hendricksons and no other bugs.) The takes were savage, all the them from recently stocked rainbows. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly these fish adapt to their new home. While I can’t get super excited about them, I have to say that these fish are quite powerful, not to mention great leapers. But with no signs of a hatch, I decided to head to the Permanent TMA.

Good call. By the time I arrived, the emergence was over, and two anglers, Andy and Bob, graciously allowed me a quick spin through their mark just to be sure. Wet flies are great way to determine the stage of the Hendrickson hatch; if you see fish rising, and you feed them the wets, and they mostly or completely ignore the flies, you know they’ve switched to the dun. (This is why you can be pounding up fish on Hendrickson wets, and then suddenly, despite visual evidence that the fish are still feeding, your catch rate slows dramatically. You’re fishing in the right place at the right time, just the wrong way.) I connected with only one fish on the wet, but I could also see the adults on the water, and the trout began snapping them up. So I hastily rigged a dry fly leader and had at it with some Hendrickson Usuals. Boom! All you had to do was mark a rise, then drift over it. There were so many trout rising, I was cackling with glee. By the time I left, the activity was waning. I wonder how the spinner fall was with this wind?

Despite cold and medium high water, I had plenty of takers on theSquirrel and Ginger top dropper. If you hit it right, this is a fantastic time of the year to swing a team of wets.

Farmington River Mini Report 11/17/20: A hard day’s nymphing

To be fair, it was only a few hours — I fished from noon to 3pm — but the going was glacially slow. I hit four favorite nymphing marks below (450cfs) and within the TMA (390cfs), and I found a trout willing to jump on in only one of them. I used a combination of tight line and indicator nymphing methods, and I even switched out my point fly and dropper — none of it seemed to make any difference. The angler traffic continues, with nine other folks sharing the water with me during my travels. Mine was the only fish I saw hooked all day, which is not to brag, but rather to illustrate how slow the fishing was. I stopped at UpCountry on the way home to do some shopping, and Torrey Collins said that nymphing has been slow for him lately, too. So it goes.

The day wasn’t a total loss. I scored this beautiful, webby dark dun hen cape at UpCountry. Just what I need for my next batch of Dark Hendrickson winged wets.

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.

700 Followers Contest Swag

Congratulations to Ron, Toby, and Michael, our three winners in the 700 followers contest! Each will be receiving a selection of a dozen wet flies, including classic North Country spiders, Leisenring’s favorites, traditional American wet patterns, and a couple Culton originals. Some of the flies are the actual ones featured in the photos for this winter’s wet fly series.

I had hoped to get these out today, but it will have to wait for the weekend or Monday. I’ll let the winners know when I ship.

A heartfelt thank you to everyone for reading and following currentseams. Without you, I wouldn’t be able to do this. Tight lines to all, and on to 800!

Gentlemen, start your drooling. From left to right, Ron’s, Toby’s, and Michael’s dozen. Get these wet and do us proud, gentlemen — and of course, we want to see photos.


Getting the most out of currentseams, or: the video you want may already be here

Thanks to everyone who has put in for the contest. Keep them coming! Get a friend to start following, and we’ll be at 700 and another contest before you know it.

I see several requests for Hendrickson tying videos, and it occurs to me that many of you may be unaware of what’s already on the site (like my Dark Hendrickson Winged Wet tying video).

Every post I make gets placed in a category. (For example, this one is in “General Ramblings.”) You can find the complete list of categories on the right side of the home page:

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Click on the “Select Categories” and that gives you a drop down menu:

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If you select the “Fly Tying Videos,” you’ll be taken to all that are posted on the site.

I hope that helps, and I hope you find some cool stuff you didn’t know was here.



Farmington River Report: A good day for Hendricksons (and nymphing)

There’s been plenty of  discussion about the possible negative effects of last year’s drought on the river. One concern was bugs. Friends, I’m here to tell you that the lower river near Unionville — an area that got torched last summer — was buzzing with Hendricksons today. Bugs everywhere. The hatch started around 2:15pm and it was still going in earnest when I left at 3pm. The bad news? High (930cfs) and cold water had only a few scattered trout slashing at the emergers.

Let’s back up a bit. Starting at 11am, I hit six spots below the permanent TMA and found trout willing to jump on in five of them. Most came via nymphing, no surprise, but I did get my first trout of the year on a swung wet. Before the Hendricksonstravaganza, I had seen only one H-word mayfly, seemingly lost among the prolific caddis and midges hatches.

We’re due some relatively dry, warm weather, so the good news will be a drop in cfs and a spike in water temperature. That should really get the trout going. Good luck if you’re out this weekend. Me, I’m avoiding that madness.

Hey! I know you. Missing most of the middle fork of the tail, but still the mayfly we all know and love.





Variations on a Dark Hendrickson theme

Some subsurface bugs for next month. The four with the wood duck wing are classic Dark Hendrickson wets. Clockwise, we have pairs of tungsten beadheads on a scud hook with the traditional tail, hackle, and body; black bead with Delaware River Club Spectrumized Hendrickson dubbing and a brown partridge hackle; and black bead with the traditional muskrat body and brown partridge hackle. I’ll fish the winged wets as the middle dropper and the beadheads on point. I can almost feel the frantic tugging right now.


Farmington River Report 5/17/15: Subsurface Fun

Part One: The Guide Trip

I had the pleasure of guiding the father and son team of Bob and Tim today. They booked this trip a month ago, and they won the weather lottery. Wotta day! We started off outside the permanent TMA and found trout and solitude (and a girl in a bikini). Not a bad way to spend a few hours. Tim had never indicator nymphed before, so I set him up, gave him a quick lesson, then went to go check on Bob. A few minutes later, I turned and saw Tim’s rod doubled over. Way to go, Tim!

Happy nympher. The first of two fish for Tim under the the yarn. His second was a brown. Both fish came on a black bead head Dark Hendrickson soft-hackle.  IMG_3091

Off to Spot B where old pro Bob connected with a feisty rainbow on a wet fly swing. Spot C was in the permanent TMA, and despite a few random rises, we were unable to persuade any trout to jump on. Spot D was on total lockdown (I’ve never seen so many anglers in such a small run), so we headed for Spot E where we had the pool mostly to ourselves. One more trout on a wet and we called it a day. Thanks again so much, Bob and Tim, for such an easy, relaxing day on the river. Water was 280cfs in the permanent TMA, cold, and clear. Midges, caddis, and a few random mayflies.

Part Two: The Quickie

I thought it would be too early for Light Cahills, but I had to see for myself. Besides, the lower TMA was conveniently on the way home, it was evening, and I might find some risers to present to. There were indeed a few trout shattering the surface with splashy takes. No Cahills, but there were size 12-14 tan caddis, sz 20 caddis, and midges everywhere. I fished some snotty pocket water for 30 minutes and took five trout. A plug for the team of three wets: I caught fish on every fly, one on the size 12 Squirrel and Ginger (top dropper), three on the size 12 Dark Hendrickson  (middle dropper) and one on the size 12 Light Cahill (point). Browns and rainbows with one wild brown in the mix. Regrettably, I had to call it (there was a grilled flank steak and a spicy zin awaiting me at home). How exhilarating to see the fish rise to feed, boil on the surface, then feel the tug moments later. I love fishing under the hatch with wets.

Halo, beautiful. Dark Hendrickson winged wet. IMG_3093

The Dark Hendrickson Winged Wet

We had spent the morning nymphing, but as the hour hand worked its way toward eleven, the bite slowed. One o’clock would be the visible start of the Hendrickson hatch — you can set your watch by it on the Farmington — but I figured right now was about time for creatures to be stirring a foot below the surface.

I rigged up a team of three wets, with a Dark Hendrickson on point, and began walking down a long, three-foot deep run. When I got to the tailout, I encountered an angler reclining on rock, enjoying the warmth of the late April sun. I hailed him and asked how his fishing had been. He told me he hadn’t yet wet his line. “Waiting for the Hendrickson hatch to start,” he explained.

Oh, it’s already started, I told him. “I don’t see anything coming off,” he said. I shook my head. You can’t see it yet. It’s going on below, and it’s going to be a good one. See my friends up there? I’ve been catching them all the way down the run, just swinging wets. They’ve been keyed on this fly here.

The Dark Hendrickson Winged Wet is a legacy American pattern that has been fooling trout for over a century. I’ve been fishing it only a fraction of that time, yet I couldn’t possibly tell you how many trout I’ve taken on it. This fly would easily make my Top Ten Wets list. Match the size of the naturals (about a 12 on the Farmington), then drift, swing, or dangle it over rising fish, and hold on.

The Dark Hendrickson Winged Wet


Hook: 2x strong wet fly
Thread: Grey
Tail: Dark blue dun hackle fibers
Body: Muskrat fur
Hackle: Dark blue dun hen
Wing: Lemon wood duck


Tying notes: I like to use darker muskrat fur, particularly the soft grey underfur. Pick out and discard the black, stiffer guard hairs when you snip off a patch. A little fur goes a long way, and if you happen to have an entire skin, you’ve got enough fur to keep your great-great grandchildren in Hendricksons. Keep the body thin; the hero of this fly is wing. Be sure to leave plenty of room for the head and the wing; you can see on this fly that I just about made it. (Although the trout won’t care a lick.) To form the wing, I usually fold a small section of wood duck over itself with the dull side facing in, but I don’t get too crazy about trying to make every fly perfect. Make the wing about as long as the bend. If you don’t tie this fly, please start. You’re going to be happy you did.

Looks like the Hendrickson hatch has started.



The Dark Hendrickson Rogues’ Gallery


Farmington River Report: Fishing under the Hendrickson hatch with wet flies

After’s Wednesday’s hatchstravaganza, I decided it was a moral imperative the go back to the Farmington on Thursday. Unfortunately, the time-space continuum prevented me from attempting another daily double. So I sacrificed a repeat of the morning caddis frenzy for Hendricksons in the afternoon.

Got to my spot at 1pm. Not a bug in sight, not a fish rising, but the Hendrickson hatch on the Farmington is like clockwork. Even though you don’t see anything on the surface of the river or in the air, there’s a lot going on down below. First cast, a mend across some current seams into a pocket, and bam! Just like that, we’re catching trout on Hendrickson wets.

Like yesterday, a good mix of stocker browns, chubby rainbows, and holdovers. This brown has been in the river for a while. It took me several attempts to hook him, but it was well worth the wait.


The hatch was even stronger today, and as it picked up in intensity, it was harder to catch trout, I think because of the sheer number of bugs in the water. Unlike yesterday, where all you had to do was pick a rise and put your flies over it, there were a good half dozen trout today that I could not entice to strike, and another half dozen that took repeated attempts over the course of an hour. Fortunately, there were plenty of wanton gluttons willing to jump on. I caught trout on the dead drift, the greased line swing, and the dangle.

My rig was a Squirrel and Ginger caddis as the top dropper, a Dark Hendrickson winged wet as the second dropper, and another Hendrickson below it. As the hatched waned, I did see some caddis start to come off, and a few of my last fish took the S&G caddis.

And, like clockwork, it was over by 3:30. Water temp was 53 degrees.