Monday, August 10, 2009

The Trico

early morning
coffee
ridiculously small dry flies
12 foot leader to 6x
bugs everywhere
fish rising in steady rhythm

That's kind of the list that can describe a trico outing. Relatively new to me, being that I have to date always leaned on the nymphing crutch. The more I get to know our SE MN hatches though, the more intriguing they are and the more enjoyment I get out of fishing our landscape.

Sunday morning around 6 AM I got a thump on the window from friend and BWCA partner Andy, at Canning Chronicles. Fifteen minutes early he was - I liked that and it turned out to be critical. We pedaled south to a somewhat-tucked-away-but-not-ridiculously-secret-reach-because-none-are section of one of the blue ribbon waters of The Driftless Area. No one present, despite the fact that the famed trico hatch has been on for some time now. We lined one rod, thinking we'd take turns, and set off... on our heels a gold minivan from Iowa pulled up. We didn't look back - trekked down to a sweet little hole that I knew of... and right away saw bugs in the air and fish rising. It didn't take long to get into some very fascinating and very enjoyable fishing. The recent rain had driven this stream to a peak the day before, but it was already receding and plenty clear. The tricos were in the air from ~730 to near 900 on the dot. There was a clearly a time at which they disappeared. After that time, we could still pick up a fish or two using the same patterns.

Regarding those patterns - we had #20-22s that I had tied up over the previous nights. Some were hack jobs but some were decent. A number of them caught fish. The one pictured in the previos post fished pretty well.

Later in the morning we switched to a variety approach: hoppers, beetles, black wet flies. A little bit of action on each of those was what we got.

We never pinched a split shot on the tippet, nor did we use a strike indicator. No tandem rigs. Straight up one dry fly all day. Pretty satisfying. Steady action. We each caught our share of fish and Andy went home with enough for a meal. For me, two things stand out about this trip: (1) enjoyment of fishing with a good friend (usually I'm a hermit out there) and seeing him catch fish, (2) the fascination in watching these bugs and watching the fish eat them... and thinking how easy and cool it would be to stand at this one great reach all morning and do nothing but try to catch every fish rising in it.

Some streamside bergamot - same species we have in our garden - good for a chaw here and there:
The fly, despite being extremely small, is too big. Still worked. Note is taken though. Pardon the fingers - black walnut stain.

The bugs - the first pic was a cloud of them - you can kind of make it out. Note that the tail is pretty long relative to body.






Andy brings one to hand...

...as the swallows look on and the limestone that is the defining feature here gets another day older.

15 Comments:

Blogger Paul said...

Sweet - I haven't seen this hatch yet - but it's right in my usual timeframe. Nice report - sounds like a blast.

1:02 PM  
Blogger winonaflyfactory said...

Very cool man. You know how much I love the bug pictures and honestly they make a huge difference for me so thanks, you were right on the tails for sure. I was on the stream today at 6:45 and saw not a single trico, very few rising fish but I tried new ties with much longer tails. I see what you mean by the wings wanting to fold back. I'll take note if that when at the bench next time. Glad your getting some productive time in, it was really great to hang with you and the boys, take care.

3:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How to fish the trico hatch:

Go early.

Wait till it's happening.

Fish -under- the hatch with a #8 pass lake streamer with some pearl krystal flash in the wing.

Super-strong 2x is good, don't monkey with a candy-ass leader.

Hang on tight.

And finally: brag.

3:19 AM  
Blogger winonaflyfactory said...

So final thought on these small creatures...Should I be tying them on a #24? What size was the one with the walnut fingers? If that was a #22 then a #24 for sure. Also, thoughts on tails? Go big or go home? I did some reading, those two shots are of a male, I want to say dun. Males have much longer front legs and long black tails of three, females come in slightly olive with much shorter tails that are clear/white and very short stubby front legs, all have three tails. Some pictures I've seen show male spinners with shorter tails that are clear/white, by shorter I still mean longer than the body but not nearly as long as the images here.

My thought: Tie up #24 Charcoal bodied with long tails, I might even try a sharpie to make them darker. Tie up a few with short clear tails, tie up a few females with a light olive body and short tails. Keeping in mind the wing position and wanting to keep the wing straight out to the side.

7:57 PM  
Blogger Wendy Berrell said...

I think 24 would be good. I've read different things. Seems like a lot of guys fish 20-22 unless they find it not working. 22 seems to be a good compromise. I spent a lot of time looking at the bugs on the water: the two most noticeable features of the silhouette are the wings - flat out horizontal (spent), and the tails - very long. I thought those tails made of 7x tippet would be too fat, but those flies actually fished pretty well. Exaggeration can be good maybe.

Anonymous: interesting take there. I did some bigger fish come up and I'd would have enjoyed hooking into one or two of them. I may try that streamer approach at some point. If I ever get out to fish this hatch again this year... That's a big IF.

11:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It really does work. I'm unfortunate enough to live in Fargo now, but back in the days when I fished all over western Wisconsin I knew a number of guys that were uber-clued-in on fishing the tricos. I tried it, found it just a bit too nit-picky. And with all the nit-pickiness I was catching tiddlers, not to mention the shiners, etc who were very much into the hatch. Since I also fished a lot of these places at night, for the big fish, I knew they were there, and knew they were fond of eating their smaller brethren....hence my trico hatch method. Just drift your streamer in under the action and if you scare some little fellas, then you do. Keep your line controlled tightly and lift the fly up a few times. It won't work every time, but the times it does work will be memorable. I should also mention that I haven't regularly carried any flies smaller than a 16 (oh maybe a couple of 18s) in at least a dozen years. Just not my thing, and it should be obvious I'm not really a religious hatch-matcher.

1:34 AM  
Blogger Wendy Berrell said...

I believe it works man. Most recent outings though, couldn't tear myself away from those little dry flies.

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