Tips for Fishing The Trico Hatch - Written by Ben Rock

Fishing conditions have been holding steady the last week. With a few PMD’s still popping throughout the day, and a handful of Yellow Sallys, there is still a smorgasbord of options. The Yampa and the Elk are finally down to recognizable summer flows. The much awaited hopper season is in full swing, however high-water years tend to yield less Hopper eats than we would like.

With warmer early summer temps, there have been some technical afternoons recently, however the next week or so should yield a slight respite. The nighttime lows are dropping, which should improve the bite throughout the day. Cooler nights not only keep the fishing decent throughout the heat of the day, but also push the bite back to late morning. Don’t be discouraged if the fish are not active until 10 or so. Recently the best early-morning option has been subsurface Trico Emergers fished behind an attractor point fly... stones, worms, eggs etc.

Tricos Tricos Tricos!

The joke about the Trico hatch is that they named em Tricos because all the bad words were taken!

This little black mayfly has quite the reputation in those circles lucky enough to know them. Not sure the word “little” is really appropriate... these bugs are downright tiny! If there was such a thing they would be a true 34 or 36. Because there’s no way we could possibly throw imitations of insects that small, there are ways to get creative with the Trico hatch. First of all, forget the idea of trying to imitate a bug that small. Think color and profile! There is a reason you can catch fish on 3 inch long grasshoppers when the biggest hopper out there is only 2 inches. Trout are often more interested in color and profile then necessarily the size of a fly. They are watching hundreds of thousands, potentially millions of these insects drifting down river. Often when we are dealing with is what we refer to as “mat hatches”, it is the bug that stands out from the rest that gets the fish’s attention. This is why some of the best blue winged olive spinner patterns are tied with reflective materials. This is because, once trout are fixated on an abundant hatch, something a little different becomes attractive. One could imagine, eating M&Ms all day is fine, but a whole chocolate bar is better.
Anglers inclined to strain their eyes trying to thread 7X through a size 22 fly are more than welcome to fish the Trico hatch that way, but I will tell you it is not the only option.

Those anglers struggling with the ratio of fish hooked to fish landed during the Trico hatch owe it to themselves to try much larger midge patterns to imitate them. Whether fishing emergers subsurface before the hatch, duns during, or spent insects after the fact, try going bigger! A size 20 is considered big for a Trico, however trout will happily go bigger. Last season I experimented with size 16 hooks to tie all my Trico patterns on. I had more action than ever before, and actually landed some of the big ones. I regularly opt for black ant patterns to imitate spinners after the Hatch, when most fish capitalizing on spent insects are in the tail out slicks of the runs. We regularly throw midge cluster patterns knowing that fish would prefer a bunch of insects over an individual, but people rarely associate this approach to the Trico hatch! The month of August can be a challenge, but can also be a great opportunity to experiment. Fish the Trico hatch. Embrace the Trico hatch. And don’t be afraid to go big!

Tight Lines Until Next Week!

-Ben Rock

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