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This topic is about the Mayfly Genus Tricorythodes

A cult following is something to which few insects can lay claim, but the tiny Tricorythodes mayflies certainly qualify. Their widespread, reliable, heavy hatches draw impressive rises of ultra-selective trout which demand the most of a technical dry-fly angler's skills.

It is surprising that such a great hatch took so long to come to the attention of fly fishermen. The Tricos were first introduced to anglers in a 1969 Outdoor Life article by Vincent Marinaro, who misidentified them as Caenis. By the early 1970s the identification had been corrected but Swisher and Richards still wrote in Selective Trout, "Few anglers are familiar with these extremely small but important mayflies." The next wave of publications boosted Tricorythodes to its current fame. I suspect their early dismissal was due in part to tackle limitations; anglers in the 1950s had no means to effectively tie and present size 22-28 flies. Read more...

There are 4 more specimens...

The Discussion

MartinlfJuly 21st, 2007, 8:56 am
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2833
I'll start with a fly patterns, follow with a bit of what I think I know about Tricos (Entomologists, please offer corrections if needed), and close with a few questions.

I love designing different patterns for Tricos, partly to keep myself entertained, and partly to show the fish something new from time to time. Jason's photos and the opinions of some fussy fish have led me to tie an extra large thorax recently on all my Tricos. My old standby is a parachute tied reverse, with a high vis post over the bend of the hook, and grizzly hackle, with no tails. It's modeled on Al's Trico, which could be found on the Little Lehigh Flyshop website until Rod closed the shop. An internet search may provide images now. It's very visible and fish generally approve. My newest fly is a take off from one of Gonzo's (Lloyd Gonzales) patterns in his book Fly-fishing Pressured Water, and it also shows the influence of Al's Trico. Gonzo ties an upside down Trico on a wide gap hook using synthetic material for the wing. I tie this fly also, and it certainly does catch fish, but I recently tied a version with grizzly hackle, making an oversize thorax and palmering hackle over the thorax to create a full wing. I then clipped hackle from the top of the fly (which becomes the bottom, as this is an upside down fly) so that the fly would sit flat, upside down, on my tying table. A drop of Locktite brush-on super glue on the bare recently clipped thorax after darkening the hackle stem with black marker and the fly was done. (By the way, I put tails on this one to balance it [P.S. Later correction: this pattern doesn't need the tails. I've caught plenty fish now on a tailless version] .) It caught several fish the first time I tried it on a heavily fished stream.

I believe for some, if not most species of Tricos, males hatch at night, females in the morning, and that the spinners fall when the air temperature hits the upper 60's. This generally means that as the season goes on, spinners hit the water later and later. Sometimes by 7:00 am (or earlier) in the early summer, by 10:00 (or later) in the fall.

It's been unseasonably cool in the Northeast the past couple of days, and I would have gone out this morning but for taking my daughter to a midnight showing of The Order of the Phoenix (I just couldn't get up) but I'm wondering if the spinner fall happens later than normal on cool mid-summer mornings like today's. I hope to find out Monday, but am curious if anyone has experiences to share. Also, does anyone have an effective Trico pattern to share? I'm always looking for ideas.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
JADJuly 21st, 2007, 10:38 am
Alexandria Pa

Posts: 362


Hi Louis

On July 15 Tim and I went to the Bamboo Conference ,we crossed the bridge at Barrie and maybe 300 yds up stream at 2 PM their they were .The morning had been over cast and cool. I felt like turning around and fishing.

As far as patterns yours are far better than mine.

JaD

They fasten red (crimson red) wool around a hook, and fix onto the wool two feathers which grow under a cockís wattles, and which in colour are like wax.
Radcliffe's Fishing from the Earliest Times,
GONZOJuly 21st, 2007, 1:53 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Louis, I like the way you combine ideas from different flies to create a new "look." I've always found that the easiest way to create an upside-down dry was by tying a "buzz" hackle and then trimming the top. Have you played around with wet (drowned) spinners? I know that such a fly might defeat one of the main pleasures of Trico fishing for some (fishing dry), but I've also found that wet spinners--for a number of mayfly species--can sometimes be another way to give jaded fish a different look.

PS--Very timely observation, John. Sorry that the meeting of the cane coterie prevented you from fishing. ;)
MartinlfJuly 21st, 2007, 4:25 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2833
Gonzo, I have several wet spinners in my box now, and have successfully used them on difficult fish several times in the past. I just need to remember this trick when the refusal meter is going off the charts and I'm getting more and more determined to get a fish to take a dry, any dry. I had two little monsters a few weeks ago who wouldn't touch anything I put over them. Too bad the wet spinners didn't come out to play. It would have been good to see the smug self-satisfaction wiped off their sadistic faces. OK, too anthropomorphic. but I could imagine the conversation they were having: "He thinks we're going to rise to that? What an idiot!" I actually tied the new pattern with them in mind, but the wet spinner might be much more to their taste. Thanks for reminding me. Also, what is the earliest you've found fish rising to the hatching female duns? I've caught the hatch a few times, but it often happens earlier than I can get to the stream.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
GONZOJuly 21st, 2007, 7:35 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
The earliest was probably pre-dawn, Louis. But it seemed that the fish and I had similar trouble seeing the little buggers before the sun came up.
GONZOJuly 22nd, 2007, 8:10 am
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Hey, Louis, I just remembered another tactic that you might want to try. It is for times when trout are engulfing clumps of Trico spinners wholesale on the surface and comes from John Betts, I believe. (Or was it Darrel Martin?) Anyway, I'm sure you've seen Double Tricos, but this tactic was to cut the bend off of a few imitations (a good use for retired patterns with broken or worn-out points) and string one or two on the leader just ahead of the "business" fly. I found it helped if the fly with the point had an oversize gap.
MartinlfJuly 23rd, 2007, 6:36 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2833
Interesting. Leave it to you to come up with something I've never heard of. Often tips I hear or read remind me of a good tactic I've forgotten, like the double spinner, but I haven't come across this one. It would look more random than the double spinner, yet still give the fish a bigger and one would hope a more tempting mouthful. Thanks.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
WbranchJuly 24th, 2007, 6:27 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2373
I seldom fish any of the local PA streams as I hate fishing over stocked trout but last Monday I did take a ride up to the Tully but got there around 8:45 which was far too late. I parked at the Paper Mill and there were many fish rising in the pool directly adjacent to the parking area. There were even a few pods of fish which was pretty neat to see with many heads poking out at the same time.

I had nothing lighter than 6x with me so you can imagine I didn't do very well. Althougth I did manage five fish; two on Tricos, two on a micro caddis, and one on an ant. There are some decent fish 11" - 13" present but very few fish more than 100 yards upstream from the riffle water. The river was very low and there are so many carp milling around that I'd not go back again.

I fish the Missouri every year for at least two weeks and the duns there do emerge at night and more in the morning. I like to be on the water at first light as that is the time to find large bank feeders sipping in the Trico duns.

My tie is pretty straight forward; #20 - #22 hook, a couple of stiff cream tails just splayed with the thread, not split. Olive biot body, black thorax, and a CDC Puff wing. It is effective and has accounted for many 17" - 20" fish on the Moe.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
MartinlfJuly 24th, 2007, 2:11 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2833
WBranch, Thanks for the pattern. I have some flies with CDC wings and one day on the Little Lehigh a CDC fly was the only thing I could get one picky fish to take. Do you use hackle fibers or Microfibbets for your tail? Also, do you x wrap the wing top and bottom, or does your wing look more like a comparadun wing? Finally, do you have a favorite hook? I know most of these things are more personal preference and don't matter too much, but I'm curious.

I used to fish the Tully more, back when it was stocked with fingerlings that grew to act much like wild fish. My biggest fish on a Trico was taken there, a 15 or 16 inch rainbow that jumped a time or two and gave a terrific fight. That was years back. There are some larger fish in the Tully these days, but they are very tough to find and hook as the stream is pounded daily.

Spinners didn't fall on the Little Lehigh today until around 11, by the way. The cool morning seemed to delay them. I fish for the little wild browns there, prefering them to the larger stocked fish on the Tully. Some larger fish can be found by nymphing after the spinner fall.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
WbranchJuly 24th, 2007, 3:37 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2373
Louis,

"Do you use hackle fibers or Microfibbets for your tail? Typically I use Hoffmann cream hackle fibers, say 4 - 6, with one thread wrap under and up to splay the fibers. The microfibbets don't appeal to me for this pattern however I still use them for the Trico spinner and smaller thorax or compara-duns. Also, do you x wrap the wing top and bottom, or does your wing look more like a comparadun wing? Remember the dressing is for the Trico dun and not the spinner, therefore I'm looking for an upright, or at a minimum a 45 degree angle. Finally, do you have a favorite hook? Regarding hook type/style I normally buy Tiemco as the shank is longer than standard and it gives me a little more room to tie the fly and still make a neat head. I have a business license and my supplier sells Tiemco so I get good pricing. I know most of these things are more personal preference and don't matter too much, but I'm curious.

I have a question for you; do you use wound hackle or synthetic materials for your spinner wings? I like palmered hackle and then figure 8 through the hackle to get the barbules onto the sides and then I form my fur noodle dubbing and figure 8 it again to create the thorax. I've never tried to determine which of the two are more effective but from an esthetic view you can't beat the appearance of a well tied hackle spinner wing. Besides it never loses it's shape like synthetic material.

Years ago, when I first moved to PA in 1984, I started to fish the Tully as I was dating my wife and needed to be home on weekends to see her. Anyway the fishing from say 1988 through the early 1990's was nothing short of amazing for a river in a metropolitan area. I used to catch lots of nice fish, both rainbows and browns, from the Paper Mill all the way up to the next bridge upstream and downstream to the Rte 222 bridge. I used to especially like the water where the trip comes into the Tully at the Paper Mill. I'd start there and nymph or fish to rises all along the far bank and caught many 14" - 16" fish.

I also used to like the riffle about 200 yards upstream from the Paper Mill and used to basically "camp" there for hours on end as there were lots of rising fish and it was also a great place to nymph. I stopped fishing there years ago when after a few trips I saw the angling had really gone down hill. It is a shame because it was so good and accessible to lots of guys and it is only about 50 miles north for me.

I fish the Little Lehigh a couple of times a year but for the most part the quality of the experience is not worth the 90 mile drive each way to fish around 100 other guys. Many of the fish know the drill and once hooked wiggle in like they are on muscle relaxants.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
MartinlfJuly 24th, 2007, 8:50 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2833
Matt, somehow I had missed the "dun" part of your description. Duh. I tie a few duns and fish them, but mostly fish spinners and was automatically thinking spinners. I tie many kinds of spinners, one a double wing with either synthetics or white CDC in which I tie a bunch of fibers parallel to and on top of the shank at the wing position then split and X wrap the back of the bunch into a typical spinner wing and then stand up the front bunch into a comparadun wing. This is like Kelly Galloup's spinner pattern. It's visible and most fish take it. But most recently I've been favoring the hackle spinner I describe in my first post above, either tied right side up or upside down. I've also recently tied a few spinners with snowshoe, based on someone's recommendation who fishes the Little Lehigh a bit. I've been using Varivas hooks for Tricos for a while, liking the wide gap. I also use Tiemco 2488's sometimes, for the same reason. I don't fish the Heritage section of the Little Lehigh, partly for the reasons you cite, and I find the little wild browns outside the project to be very feisty, though mostly small. Oh, gotta go, my daughter needs to be picked up now. See what I mean about family duties calling?
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
MartinlfJuly 25th, 2007, 3:42 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2833
Here's a follow up. Today a snowshoe winged spinner took some Trico eating fish that would not take a hackle wing fly. I don't believe it was just a better drift. I had put the hackle wing fly over these fish many times before I switched, then quickly got hits and hook ups on the snowshoe fly. The hackle wing fly did have full hackle except for the bottom, while the snowshoe fly was x wrapped on top and bottom. I don't know if a hackle spinner with the hackle clipped or X wrapped on the top as well as the bottom would have fared any better. I also caught some fish on a dun pattern early, and wished that I had tied up some of Matt's to try them. Next time.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
GONZOJuly 25th, 2007, 3:51 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Louis, before you lose faith in your hackled pattern, remember that sometimes it's just the switch that trips the trigger. On another day, a switch from snowshoe to hackle might do the trick. Only long term performance really tells us much about a pattern's superiority. Over well-tried fish, however, options are always useful. Just a thought.
GONZOJuly 25th, 2007, 4:07 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Hey, I just thought of a strange scenario related to the above. Here's how it goes:

Louis tells his pals about his successes with his clever hackled Trico, but forgets about the thousand or so readers lurking in the ether. They all tie his pattern and proceed to slay the fish on his favorite streams. "Louis is the man!" they all shout. Then Louis goes astream to find the fish want nothing to do with his hackled fly, but he reports success with a new snowshoe pattern. Once again, flies are tied, and fish are caught. "That Louis is amazing," the lurking readers whisper. But, of course, Louis is unaware of his impact on the local fly fishing community, and again sallies forth to find no takers for his snowshoe fly . . . and so on, and so on . . . .

I don't know, Louis; perhaps it's time to start playing your cards a little closer to the vest! :)
WiflyfisherJuly 25th, 2007, 4:43 pm
Wisconsin

Posts: 598
I don't know, Louis; perhaps it's time to start playing your cards a little closer to the vest! :)


It never hurts to play a wild card from time to time. It reminds me again of a book I recently read... like fishing from the opposite bank. :)))

My close ff'ing friend out West found a snowshoe hare's foot on his neighbor's driveway. He thought "Hmmm, that looks like a PMD wing!" He used it one day last week and nailed a huge bow with it that had refused everything else. It just goes to show you that being innovative can pay off sometimes.
John S.
https://WiFlyFisher.com
GONZOJuly 25th, 2007, 8:17 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
It never hurts to play a wild card from time to time.

Nice extension of my metaphoric cliche, John, and quite right. My facetious scenario was mostly prompted by a quirky association of the generous and open way that Louis shares his ideas and Roger's wise reminder that we're not just chatting privately with a close circle of friends here. (Though it always feels that way to me, and clearly, I forget.)

Really, the only point (if there was one, I'm not sure) was to suggest the role we all play in pressure and education. Fishing pressure and its effects are fascinating to me. When we try to account for the reasons that a fly succeeds one day yet fails the next, we should remember that the fish's choices, day to day, are also influenced by our own. And no one delights in the striving and innovation that Louis displays more than I do. (Except, perhaps, Louis himself, which is just as it should be.)
WbranchJuly 25th, 2007, 8:19 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2373
Gonzo wrote -

"I don't know, Louis; perhaps it's time to start playing your cards a little closer to the vest! :)"

I'm new to this forum but for a couple of years I've posted on another forum based in the Catskills. Well recently I happened to specifically name a pool and indicate how well I'd done and I have been ostracized as if this pool was on a section of private water and I'd invited everyone to come and fish it. It has been suggested that I'm ruining the river and am contributing to the crowds on the WB.

I'd also posted a couple of pictures and got lambasted for them. I got tired of defending myself and being dissed so I deleted the pictures and all of the posts that seemed to have raised so many hackles.

I always thought it was sharing information to mention how well I'd done but from what I've been told I should keep my big mouth shut and stop ruining the fishing for others.

Like all the articles in Flyfisherman magazine haven't raised the consciousness of guys to come and fish there and Jim Serio's articles about huge fish, with pictures, went unread. Yea, right.

I do believe that some flies are so good because not every fly shop has them and not every guy on the river is pitching them. I have a couple of flies that my friends and I use in MT and also on the Delaware that are so good that it is hard to believe. We don't share these with anyone and I guess that is selfish but I figure I'll share other fly info, give as much advice as any body wants, and pretty much be a heck of a friendly guy on the river but if we want these particular flies to remain so deadly we just can't be sharing them with everyone.

Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Chris_3gJuly 25th, 2007, 8:33 pm
Posts: 59As I recently fished my first trico spinner fall the other day, I subsequently became more aware of what trico duns look like as well. That being said, I wanted to know if it was possible for female tricos to hatch at night?

After I managed to stop myself from casting anymore this evening, I flipped my headlamp on, and a small (#20 - #22) mayfly with a tan abdomen and an olive thorax landed on my camera. Furthermore, the thorax was disproportionately larger than I'm used to with mayflies. This seems to match with what female tricos look like, but I remember hearing (and reading on this website) that the females hatched in the morning and the males hatched in the evening. I'm assuming it's possible, but is it common, or is it more likely that I'm seeing a different insect. Thanks.

Chris.
GONZOJuly 25th, 2007, 8:38 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Matt,
Good for you. (And, of course, my comment to Louis was ironic, not serious. Though I do understand that irony can be tricky to convey in this format, hence the yuck-yuck sign.) The overall approach here seems to be that mentioning larger well-known waters is considered harmless, but there is little or no naming of tiny fragile fisheries. I think that's about right, though I guess it becomes a judgment call on waters in between those extremes. Your photos, advice, and reports are all welcome here. And I don't think you'd ever consider naming your favorite little brook trout trib, and neither would any of us.

Chris,
It is possible that the little mayfly you saw was a female Trico, but it might also have been Caenis. Both are small and similarly proportioned, but Caenis are more likely to emerge in the evening.

PS--Matt, if anyone was seriously suggesting that you were responsible for creating crowds on the WB, then be glad that you've found a site where reason and civility prevail. (At least when we're not being downright silly just for s's and giggles.) You could have suggested that anyone who was serious about alleviating that crowding could simply stay home. Think you'd have any takers? Geez, did one of them believe they had discovered the place or something?
MartinlfJuly 26th, 2007, 6:25 am
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2833
Louis is unaware of his impact on the local fly fishing community, and again sallies forth to find no takers for his snowshoe fly . . . and so on, and so on . . . .

I don't know, Louis; perhaps it's time to start playing your cards a little closer to the vest! :)


Good advice, Gonzo, and this now explains why I have to tie improved versions of your flies to keep fooling fish. ;>
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
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