I guided Jordan and Chris on Thursday and we started off on the lower river. Given the recent cold, dank weather, I was hoping the morning sunshine would kick-start some bugs, but that was not the case. We plugged away with nymphs, fished drop-shot under an indicator, and although both anglers hooked fish, I wasn’t happy with the action. So we moved upstream to the PTMA.
The next task was getting Chris into some fish. I took him to the same slot where my client Jason had had success the day before, and the fish were still there. Chris did a good job getting his nymph rig where it needed to be, and he was rewarded with multiple hookups. Around 2:30pm, creatures began stirring. This was to be the first major Hendrickson event of the year for me. I hustled down to Jordan’s position and re-rigged him for wet fly with a simple two-fly team. Our Blessed Lady of the Soft Hackle smiled upon us, and Jordan banged up a hefty brown on the dangle. I left Jordan to swing away, and rigged Chris for dry fly. I tied on a Usual, one of my favorite Farmington River patterns, and we got to witness one of those epic Hendrickson dry fly eats: a perfect drift in the feeding lane, the trout committing to the fly, white mouth agape, and the turn with the hook buried in its jaw.
Friday was play day for me. I found some space in the lower end of the PTMA, which delighted me no end because Friday was sunny and warm and the kind of day that especially draws a crown this time of year. Unfortunately, it was also blustery, and the gusts sent a torrent of tree seeds into the water. To make matters worse, the seeds were about the size and shade of a female Hendrickson, so I made sure my wet fly team had darker flies. It was a bittersweet afternoon for me because I ended up in some water that was a netherworld of activity. Plenty of rises below me — but two anglers, too. Plenty of rises above me — but same angler density. I managed to take several fish on wets using an upstream presentation (and I slipped in a couple downstream victories as well). What was significant about this was the fly the fish ate. On my three fly team (Squirrel and Ginger top dropper, Dark Hendrickson soft hackle middle dropper, Dark Hendrickson winged wet on point) the only pattern the trout ate was the middle dropper. When the hatch indicated that I should switch to dry (the trout will no longer show interest in the subsurface fly) I had one of those days where there were so many duns on the water, I had trouble getting the trout to find my fly. I consoled myself by watching the sheer number of naturals that didn’t get eaten. And the trout that I did hook made those successes seem sweeter.
Many thanks to everyone who shared the water (Jack and Dennis, you should have stayed a bit longer!) and to those who came to say hello. I hope the flies I handed out served you well.