These tiny white winged, dark bodied Trico (Tricorythodes) mayflies can trigger aggressive trout feeding. The males normally emerge as duns in great clouds in the evening and overnight on bankside vegetation where they transform into spinners by the following morning.
DRY FLY PATTERNS. Hook size 20 22 24 - $US each
The larger white bodied female duns emerge in the very early morning and change into spinners within minutes. They then enter the mating swarm of male Trico spinners. The males fall back to the water after mating where they are eagerly sucked up by lurking hungry trout. The females collapse into the water after laying eggs. The massive hatches and spinner falls turn the trout into surface feeders. The aim of every Trico fly fisherman is to join the 20/20 club (20 inch trout on a size 20 dry fly) and then progress to the even more elite 24/24 club (24 inch trout on a size 24 dry fly). You have to have good eyes and patience when it comes to knotting these tiny flies on. But the art and challenge is worth it.
The last time I was lucky enough to be in the water during an early morning hatch large trout began sucking the fallen spinners and unfortunate stillborns off the surface. In one 12 foot square area of water I saw over 20 large fish turn a flat water surface into rippled bubbling surface as their snouts broke the surface. I tried to pick the largest fish and entered the water upstream. I dead-drifted a size 24 trico into its path. First cast, he ate. My hope was to enter the ranks of the 24/24 club and I fought that fish very carefully. Four minutes later I was releasing a lovely mature trout but it only measured twenty three and a half inches. Oh well you always have to have goals in your life. I'm still after that 24 inch trout on a size 24. I managed to join the 20/20 club three years ago.
The Trico duns of this mayfly normally emerge after dark, and are not as important to the flyfishing angler as the spinners. If you are out fishing on a cool early morning you may see a few Trico duns take off from the top off the water, but not usually in enough numbers to bring lots of trout to the surface. If you are night fishing a small hook black gnat parachute is a great Trico Dun imitation that I have found successful. Knowledge of local air temperature conditions on the river you intend to fish is very important in judging when to expect Trico spinner falls. They normally occur in the summer months when the air temperature ranges from 68-70F (20-21 Celsius) during a relatively brief hour to hour-and-a half time period. I like to check the local weather forecast predicted overnight low temperature the day before I go fishing and try to estimate when the sun will warm the air to the correct level.
Trico hatch fishing needs good drag-free presentation. I use a long leader of about 10 feet that turns over efficiently with light supple tippets at least two and a half feet long 6X, 7X or 8X, depending on water conditions. The natural Trico spinners are dead-drifting in the water surface film and flow with the current. I therefore dead drift my trico flies without any movement to mimic the natural tricos as any drag will result in rejection by the hungry trout. When the Trico fall has finished do not pack up and go home. Open your fly box and tie on some terrestrial fly patterns like a hopper, ant or beetle. The Trico feeding trout have been focusing on the water surface. I have found that terrestrials, work well on trout that are still looking for more food from the top.
I wanted to try and fish the nocturnal emergence of the tiny mayfly Tricos. It was about 11pm. I knew the river near my vacation rental house held a strong Trico population. When I opened the car door I heard the glugs of fish rising. I saw Trico duns carpeting the water. I was very excied as good sized fish were taking full advantage of this natural food bonanza. Following your advice I used one of your #24 black gnat parachute. The white post helped with visibility. What an evening, I caught fish after fish. Ian MacLaren, Chicago USA
Craig. A good guide to when the Tricos are starting to swarm in significant numbers is when you see insect eating birds like the swallow diving down to ten feet above the water with there mouths open. That is when I get my trico spinners on line. I like to use a 9' 5 weight rod for most of my trout fishing but I will use a 3- or 4-weight rod when fishing on streams and rivers where the trout run small. I use quite long (12-15') Trico leaders, ending in long sections of soft 6X Dai-Riki. I love fishing Tricos. Tight lines. John Hinton, Kansas City, USA
I was fishing up at Mammoth Lakes, California in the Fall. As it was mid September it was starting to cool down. The hook size #22 Trico spinners start at around 9am and the fish were feasting as long as they lasted which was normally about an hour. Thanks for the last shipment of Tricos. They were indispensable. Kevin Lewis, Boston, USA
Craig here is my Trico fishing tip I would like to share with you. I have noticed that smaller fish usually feast on the drifting Trico Spinners first, while the larger fish wait until the amount of floating spinners has increased before they begin to feed. These smaller sized fish often feed in an excited splashy way. The larger trout hardley disturb the water surface as they inhale a tiny floating trico. I study the water for these telltale subtle signs and cast to the larger fish. I try to cast so that my fly lands a foot or two above the trout so than I can have it drift right over its nose. I only pick up when the fly drifts a foot or two below the fish so as not to spook him. Edward Gavins, New York, USA
Craig, I have worked out how to increase the time I can fish with your trico flies. You are correct in saying that temperature controls when and how long a Trico fall occurs. I take this into consideration when planing where to fish. I start my morning fishing in open medow areas as these will warm up first and when the spinner fall has finished I move into shady tree lined river locations where the Trico spinner fall has started later and will finish later than the sunlit water. I therefore choose flyfishing river locations with both open sun next to shady tree lined river banks to increase my trico flyfishing experience. Phillip D’Souza, San Deigo, USA