Have Trico, Will Travel

[I’ll be going off the grid for a week or so beginning in the afternoon on 8/22, so if you leave a comment here after that time, it may be a few days before I can respond to it. In any case, thank you, and I’m planning to return!]

Trico Town, the Bridge of Sighs (or Small Size)

Trico Town, the Bridge of Sighs (or Small Size)

I was in the creek at 7 a.m., a bit early for the trout to be rising seriously, but I noticed several fish sipping in the low calm waters under the willow trees. The stream temp was a safe 60 degrees F., as it has registered through the summer, thanks to a multitude of springs throughout this section of the creek.

The long rod was necessary to keep my casts above the streamside vegetation; and a nine-foot leader tapered to a 7X point seemed the best way to present the tiny Trico spinner imitation so not to frighten the breakfast scene.

Hook keeper keeps the faith...

Hook keeper keeps the faith…

Tricorythodes is the smallest mayfly I keep track of and attempt to imitate with an artificial fly. The adult insect is tiny, about a quarter of an inch (3 to 5 mm, with tail) in length, just a pinch or two larger than the midges that I’ll drop on a spring creek in the winter season. When the egg-laying females, or spinners, are hovering above the early morning stream, they can resemble (as someone once noted), “a slow-moving white cloud of dust.”

I greatly enjoy casting over the Trico spinner fall and find it simultaneously relaxing and challenging. The white wings, tied with Poly Yarn, reflect just enough light to allow me to track its drift on quiet water. If I see even the slightest drag on the line and fly, it’s time to retract the line slowly and make another cast. It was tough work today, but an hour after I began, the long deep pool by the parking lot was dimpled with rise formations.

Placid pool, before the rise...

Placid pool, before the rise…

I inched my way into the water as slowly as a heron falling asleep. When I was nearly waist deep, I began the back cast, making sure the line was well above the grasses and away from willow branches. Timing seemed especially critical. It would all be over once the sun shone directly on the water, unless I wanted to continue by switching to an Ant or Beetle.

loosestrife, an invasive on the loose...

loosestrife, an invasive on the loose…

It had been a long time since the pool had favored me this well. Small wild browns and native brook trout rose to the Trico pattern as the naturals hovered in formation over the creek. As each of the brooks and browns regained its balance in the pool and scurried off, something in the spirit of an angler said a word of thanks.

the natives were restless at Trico time...

the natives were restless at Trico time…

there were lots of young representatives from BrownsVille...

there were lots of young representatives from BrownsVille…

sunrise on highway 61 (no not That One!)

sunrise on highway 61 (no not That One!)

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About rivertoprambles

Welcome to Rivertop Rambles. This is my blog about the headwaters country-far afield or close to home. I've been a fly-fisher, birder, and naturalist for most of my adult life. I've also written poetry and natural history books for thirty years. In Rambles I will mostly reflect on the backcountry of my Allegheny foothills in the northern tier of Pennsylvania and the southern tier of New York State. Sometimes I'll write about the wilderness in distant states, or of the wild places in the human soul. Other times I'll just reflect on the domestic life outdoors. In any case, I hope you enjoy. Let's ramble!
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23 Responses to Have Trico, Will Travel

  1. Brent says:

    A nice little send-off piece before your travels. Are you heading up to Vermont for the week? Also, random observation: the spots on the first trout match the color of the loosestrife.

  2. JZ says:

    The spots on both of the fish pictured couldn’t be prettier Walt. Trico’s are indeed a nice hatch to fish over. Mainly because your on the water early, for the most part, and it always provides a challenge with long light leaders in gliding pools and smooth runs. Glad that the fish Gods were kind to you on the water! Those are the kind of mornings you remember and somehow leave a mark. I always tip my hat to the man upstairs, since he planned it to unfold perfectly as it did….Congrats.

    • I’m in full agreement with you, JZ, about the Trico opportunities. Fishing these little buggers is a challenge alright, but it’s fun because the early mornings are often clear and cool, and the fish are rising. Glad to be sharing that experience with you. Thanks, and I hope you have plenty of good days on the water this upcoming season!

  3. Mike says:

    Beautiful gems, Walt. 7x? I tried that too a couple of weeks ago with tiny midges. Each time I tightened knot to fly it would snap so simply. I wondered if the tippet, which has been in my car for about a year, was damaged by such storage or if it is just that frail. I went back to 6x. Maybe you could shed some light?

    Safe travels!!

    • Thank you, Mike! I’ll try… If your 7X, or any other size tippet, is snapping off while tightening, it’s probably a sign of brittleness and age, and time for a replacement. You might try wetting the tippet first and rubbing it down, but if it’s been lying around the car that long, exposed to light, etc., it’s probably gone bad. Good luck with your fishing, and keep me posted!

  4. Bob Stanton says:

    Have fun, Walt, and I’m looking forward to hearing the trip report.

  5. Grandpa says:

    Walt, I have too admit to a couple of things here. First off, I have never fished a Trico Spinner hatch before, even though I have had access to many a great western river. Secondly, this post sure triggers my appetite. Beautiful photos of fish and area. Have fun on your trip out and be safe.

    • Thank you, Mel; I sure appreciate your comments. For some reason or another, Trico fishing seems more of an Eastern phenomenon than a Western one, although I’ve probably read about it being Western, too. It’s relatively new as a popular hatch to cast over, getting a boost from PA anglers over the last half century or so. Colorado has bigger flies over its rivers at this time, or so it seems to me, but out here we’re down to terrestrials and Tricos till the caddis and Isonychia kick back in. Anyway, glad you like it. And best wishes!

  6. Walt some very pretty wild fish on tiny flies! Congrats! I am still learning the ways of the trico

    • Hi Mark,
      I’m starting to think that maybe the Trico is less widespread than I’d thought. Around here it’s commonplace, but I was up north in VT on several rivers and didn’t see it appear. It’s a good one to fish where found, especially on small streams! Thank you.

  7. I’m getting to the point that I’d rather catch a beautiful fish like that brookie on a small fly than 10 fish on something big. That fish is spectacular! Also, the vivid color of the loosestrife is unbelievable. Have a safe trip Walt, we always wait for another trip report.

  8. Salla says:

    Those fish are so beautiful coloured.

  9. rommel says:

    Coming to your blog always reminds me of my father. He loves fishing. As for myself, I love that you include nature views on your blog.

    • Rommel, Glad to hear that your father loves fishing, too. It’s a great activity when you realize that it’s so much more than simply catching. It’s about being immersed in nature, which is what I try to reflect here; and I’m pleased to have you check it out!

  10. plaidcamper says:

    I hope you’re having a time of it up north, Walt, with great fishing and some more tales to tell. Beautiful photographs once again!

  11. Doug says:

    Walt, Have a great time. These excursions always bring about new, refreshing insights and stories. Can’t wait to see your next post. Peace bro.

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