Hendricksons on the Farmington River: Wonderful news. The Hendricksons are on the Farmington River. In New England, this is one of the best and most anticipated hatches of the year. And its a moveable feat too. What do I mean? Well the Farmington River is a bottom release tailwater fishery. Hence the water is coldest up by the dam. But the water temperatures warm as you move downstream. ( 50 degrees is the minimum required to kick off the hatch) Consequently the Hendericksons (Ephemeralla subvaria) come off first way down in Unionville, Connecticut and then slowly travel upstream with each passing sunny day, eventually reaching the Hogback Dam in Riverton. All told there should be Hendricksons popping somewhere on the river for nearly a month! See 2021 Update here
Got up on the river yesterday. Right off I went to Upcountry Sportfishing and spoke with Bruce Marino to get the latest info. Bruce told me the Hendricksons have come up into the New Hartford stretch, adding typically there are “spinners” on the water in the morning, followed by duns around 2PM, and then a “spinner fall” near 6PM. Sounded great. So I asked world class fly tyer Bruce to pick out a few of his favorite flies for me, and then headed to the water.
The previous day had been very windy. And this morning’s low was near freezing. As we all know weather plays a big role in any hatch. Well, no “spinners” showed in the morning, but the duns appeared on schedule. Nice. The hatch wasn’t very thick, however, and came in fits and starts. Worst yet, the only rising trout were small hatchery fish. (They preferred the “emerger” over the dun.) On the other hand, the big boys browns on the Farmington River are legendary for staying down out of sight. (Yes I tried nymph, but no luck.) Believe me the poor dry fly action had everyone around me disappointed. We all struggled. But hey, that’s life. Fishing is wishing and your dreams don’t always come true.
Standing in water around 50 degrees for five hours has an effect on you. Man oh man my cojones were blue! And I think that cold water was also the reason the better trout were nailed to the bottom. I pulled stakes around 4PM, and limped to the car. Still I enjoyed the couple fish I caught. Always great to be on the river. By the way, right now the Beaverkill and Delaware Rivers are blown out. Hence, mucho anglers from New York and Pennsylvania are over here on the Farmington. The river is crowded, my friend. Best to get on the water early to secure a spot! I’m not kidding.
If you stay for the evening spinner fall, later you will be looking for a good place to dine. I recommend the Parrott-Delaney Tavern. Good food, good atmosphere and a good selection of craft beers. How can you beat that?