Farmington Hendricksons

April weather in New England is seemingly untamable. Like a new puppy, it can go from calm to cacophony in a hot minute, unbridled and volatile. And so it was for Jamie Carr and me for our Farmington weekend. It was increasingly unlikely that he and I could meet up in Montana this summer and so we decided on a Plan B.

We stayed at Chip’s Airbnb. Great spot! It was near the river and had everything you wanted, including a welcome sign. Five stars!

And no visit would be complete without a foray to UpCountry to buy fly-tying materials and learn from Torrey and Joey, who are great guys and full of practical advice.

One highlight: we went to a small dive bar. When we walked in, literally everyone stopped talking and looked at us. Jamie and I awkwardly took seats at the bar. Gradually, various locals came over to chat, and they were such a welcoming group. The food was incredible.

The fishing was hard. But it was rewarding. On the first two days, we nymphed a little bit but stuck mostly to dries. The weather changed a great deal and so it was anyone’s guess as to where the bugs would hatch or fall. Certain areas hidden from the wind saw decent hatches, and those areas usually were windy. We stuck to the permanent TMA stretch.

We lucked out with some ok hatches as we happened to be at the right places when the wind, air temperature, and level of sun were just right for the bugs to appear.

There were not many rises. And sustained rising rarely happened and were brief. When they did occur, they sent us into near-panic and resolved focus as we tried to seize the opportunities. I call it “dry-fly myopia”: time stands still, you block out the world, and you zero in.

It was tricky fishing for me. Wind gusts would appear out of nowhere, the water was cold, and the fish were not easy. I was grateful to see some nice trout. There were quite a few stockies, including some large ones.

On the next few days, it became much warmer, and there were more bugs. Rises were still few. I tightlined some decent browns with one taping at almost 17”. Stoneflies and my favorite spring nymph did well.


My favorite fish though was a clean-looking brown that was smaller than many of the newly-stocked but fought harder. I caught it on top with a Hendrickson emerger I had tied that very morning for fun:

  • Shuck: ice fur or Z-Lon
  • Body: turkey biot
  • Legs: grouse or Hungarian partridge
  • Wing bud: CDC
  • Thorax: Delaware River Club spectrumized dubbing

It was a fun trip, and I am grateful for the laughs with Jamie, the fish, and the chance to be outside!


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2 thoughts on “Farmington Hendricksons

  1. I agree that surface activity has been dismal compared to past seasons. Why, who knows!
    Glad you got into some fish.
    My one on top was a fatty brown to a Hendrickson parachute. One out of only three active surface feeders.

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