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Hendrickson Dry Fly

Updated on November 4, 2012

May's Best Fly

After the chilly wind blown start to the spring fishing season, many of us fly-fishing guys and gals here in Connecticut look forward to the warming days of spring. I've seen this fly hatch in great numbers on both the Farmington and Willimantic Rivers. When this event happens I know in my mind and soul that really warm weather is not far away.

On the Farmington River I've seen the fly hatch in early afternoon from Riverton Ct., south to as far downstream as Canton Ct. My earliest observation of the fly in New Hartford was on April 21st of one year, however it was also a 90 degree day. On the Willimantic River which I've fished less frequently I've observed fine hatches off Route 32 in Willington and behind the rest area off Route 84 west. As we know this generally occurs from the first of May onward.

This past year on the Farmington I caught the majority of my good fish using a size 16 Hendrickson, tied with a dark body. In past years I had great success with a size 14, but for some reason a size 16 worked best in 2009. Tippet size was generally 7X or 6X depending upon water height and wind conditions.

All of us have had days when we seeing rising nearby but no strikes to our offerings. During these tiring days I'll often use a Red Quill dry fly size number 14 or number 16. If the Hendrickson is being ignored at times the Red Quill is the answer. We all like turning an unproductive day into a winner and switching to the Red Quill will at times do the trick. Consider me a very honest person, so I must confess that I am not the worlds best Nymph fisherman. However many times in the early spring I've had success using a Hendrickson nymph a bit prior to the main hatch. Using a size 14 drifted deep or drifted and raised slowly to the surface can result in hooking into some nice fish. And to note, although the March Brown hatch is still a few weeks away, at these times I've also had success with that nymph.

Some days when I'm fishing in the afternoon and its warm and breezy I'll ask myself if this day is the best day of year to be on the water. Many times during a Hendrickson hatch the answer is YES.

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