Fishing Tricos: Advice?

OK, I feel very motivated.

As I wrote yesterday, I hit the Farmington in time for the Trico spinner fall. With dozens of fish rising all around me, I just couldn’t buy a bite. Nothing worked, including floating an ant and a beetle. Two trips ago, I did well with a #28 black WD-40.

This time: nada.

Tricos are my “nemesis bugs.” A few years ago, I was fishing in Montana and had experienced the same thing. Fish everywhere except at the end of my line. Brutal.

So, I’ve done some research and have tied up some new flies:

  • Tiny black pheasant tails
  • An experimental emerger pattern: black thread, split micro-fibbet tails, black dubbing for a thorax, and a small bud of a wing (a less-elegant version of the RS2)
  • Ed Engle’s sunken Trico spinner (from his book, Tying Small Flies, which is great)

Any advice? This is really gnawing at me.

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6 thoughts on “Fishing Tricos: Advice?

  1. I was down the Farmington in the boneyard last week and spotted a couple groups of fish get started rising about 9am. I tried the caddis I had been fishing earlier, switched to an ant, then a baetis before I noticed the trico spinners in the air. The fish that I could see I had good drifts over didn't even look at my flies. First cast with a trico that I put on got me my best fish of the day and he put up a great fight. For the next half hour every time I put a good cast over a rising fish I at least got a solid follow and a half dozen fish landed. When the fish stopped rising it was back to fishing the sporadic risers with maybe one out of ten good drifts over fish getting them interested but they wouldn't hit the trico anymore. The fly I was using was about a 26 tied with short plastic film wings, black body and an undersized cream hackle, with two long cream fiber tails about three times the length of the shank. When you see the spinners flying in the air the super long tails are a striking feature and may be what the fish are keying in on. I believe/have been told that the duns on the farm hatch in the night or early morning in the dark so most of the hatch fishing is with the spinners. Tricos are a great hatch on some rivers, I haven't fished them much on the Farmington I guess because I'm usually fishing that river starting later in the day, the heat/low water got me on the water earlier last week. The hatch did seem to get a bunch of fish up and interested and certainly provided the best action for that day.

    1. MW: Thanks for the insight on the hatch. I am going to try this hatch this week instead of my usual nymphing, as I have been frustrated trying to time and find the spinner fall. I am going to try some backwards tied spinners and use a long mono tag as one tail, and the leader as the other.

  2. With spinners the profile is very important, and because tricos here tend to fall on flat water (in my experience) a floating trico spinner is often most productive. They have very skinny tails. to micro fibettes the length of the hook are best. I lean towards a synthetic that becomes completely transparent in the water for the wings, and a black thread body. And I'd go a size lower than you think the naturals are. I'm sure you've got the rest down considering the size of flies you often fish!

  3. My experience with Tricos is also a bit frustrating. Because it's mainly the spinner fall an absolute dead drift is essential. Hard to do with such small flies. I also find that trout tend to sometimes concentrate on slurping down clumps of the tiny spinners making it difficult for your individual fly to stand out from the crowd. The Trico hatch has always been hit-or-miss for me but when it's going well it's a lot of fun.

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