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DayTripperMarch 11th, 2010, 3:27 am
Northern MI

Posts: 70
The two images below are of the same bug, which was collected last summer (July 21) on the South Branch of the Au Sable River in northern Michigan. The weather the entire week was seasonable. I think it is a male trico, but wanted to get a second, or third opinion first.

It was one of those times where it took a while to figure out what exactly the fish were feeding on, and when I caught it I was a little bit surprised as everything I've read on tricos says that the spinners fall in the morning. This spinner fall started sporadically about 2 hours before dark, then became pretty intense as the sun fell behind the trees. I caught a lot of these in a butterfly net, all were roughly the same size, and none had any different coloration.

sorry for the slightly out of focus pics, the lighting at my in-laws' house is horrible.

So if these are tricos, has anyone heard of or seen them falling in the evening?
OldredbarnMarch 11th, 2010, 8:05 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608

Just a couple questions...Can you give us a better feel for the size of this critter? Maybe a rough measurement or a hook size you may feel would be correct.

I have a couple doubts that this is a Trico...It appears to have two tails...Tricos have three, but I know it's not too difficult to lose one in the process of nabbing one or just in the trials of it's life. Also, there is banding on the legs and tail and though I know my eyesight astream isn't all that good anymore I don't really remember this banding occuring on Tricos.

There are quite a few other tiny mayflies about during the time of the Trico hatch and it's not uncommon to just lump them all together as the "fisherman's curse". You just have to look for the smallest fly in your box and hope for the best! Fish can be a royal pain when they are on tiny flies.

I have been "fooled" more than once when fish are on the so called "hidden hatch"...If you figure it out in time and catch some fish make sure you take notes...A few years back in May I was between Daisy Bend and The Hanger and watched a few fish actually together in a pod feeding. They were 12-14 inchers and appeared to be "midging"...I floated just about everything over them to no avail...I was down two or three more bends in the river when I spotted this tiny little Baetis crawling all over me!

I know that this is nit-picking, but were there any actually on the water? I know it sounds counter-productive but males may swarm but it takes two to tango. A spinner "fall" is usually post copulation and carried out by the egg laying females...Though the "spent" males can fall to the water as well.

Anyway...That should do it for now.

Where were you on the South Branch?

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
DayTripperMarch 11th, 2010, 11:10 am
Northern MI

Posts: 70
Thanks, Spence.

I was back home visiting the in-laws on this particular trip, so I didn't have my ruler (not a big fan of hook sizes) with me- thus the dime in the background. Judging by the relationship of the bug vs the dime, I'd estimate it's body length at ~5mm.

I have doubts it's a trico, too, hopefully we can crack this puzzle- a puzzle that is easier cracked on the river by tying an ant on :).

Honestly, I can't say with utmost certainty that they were actually on the water in the earlier phase of feeding activity, but as the sun hit the tree line, I seined the surface and got a bunch of them, so they were falling.

I was here, one of my favorite places in the world.
OldredbarnMarch 11th, 2010, 11:51 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608

Nice looking spot! Does your in-laws have a place on the river? That looks like a very large boulder across the river there...I don't know if you know any of the spots on the stream by name, but there is a large boulder like that near a favorite spot of mine as well...The one I'm speaking about I kind of use it as an indicator on water depth...I have seen it actually under water in the spring...Mine is downstream from what is known as the Third Island which is the third island down from Chase bridge.

The South Branch/Mason Tract is a very special area! Have you ever visited Gate's Lodge when you were up that way?

The ant idea works...for you no doubt know. I have a friend that used to say that during the summer months if you are on the South Branch without ants in your box you aren't prepared to be there. I have stood in the middle of the river and had ants fall from the tress and land on me. They line up behind anything hanging over the stream and wait for a breeze! They are like caviar to trout.

If you happen to be up there towards fall and are lucky enough to run in to a flying ant fall...It's a blast! They see that bug all year and just can't say no to one!

Take Care!

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
GONZOMarch 16th, 2010, 7:08 am
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Hi Alex,

This is not a Trico. Although the images are fuzzy, clicking the enlargement button allows you to just make out the origin, leading edge, and some of the veins of a hindwing in both photos. This is probably a small ephemerellid that is missing a tail. Spence is right to point out the darkened "elbows." My best guess is that it might be Serratella/Teloganopsis.

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