Fly Of The Week
Trico Dun
Tricorythodes/Tricos - Dun
By George E. Emanuel
Previous Flies
Fly Tying Terms

Tricorythodes/Tricos - Dun

Tricorythodes stygiatus.

Tiny, tough to tie, hard to thread the tippet into, and darn near impossible to see at more than three feet on the water. No doubt the most difficult fly in our box!

But the darn thing catches fish and big fish at that.

In the Not Quiet Entomology section is more on the life of this most productive of tiny flies. Suffice it to say that you want to become very comfortable with it, for at some times of the year it is the only hatch you are likely to find.

The dun and spinner are the phases most commonly imitated by fly fisherman, though a small (size 18 or smaller) all black nymph can be fished in the bottom or in the film as an emerger.

The tails on the dun are particularly important as they prevent the fly from rolling over on the water. They should be splayed widely and about twice the length of the body. The natural has three very long tails, but fortunately, as fish do not count, we can make do with just two tails.

The fly shown here is tied with size 12/0 black thread. It is all thread, but could be dubbed in the larger sizes if you like. The hook shown is a normal TDE. In the smaller sizes for gap clearance you might want to go to a turned up, or at least a straight eye type hook.

With the above caveats, let's tie a Trico Dun (next week we will do the spinner).


    Hooks:  Mustad 94840 sz 18 to 26.

    Thread:  Black 12/0 or smaller.

    Body:  Thread or Black Beaver or Seal

    Wings:  White or Very light dun Duck Quill.

    Tail:  Dun Micro Fibbets.

Tying Instructions:

1. Tie on at the eye of the hook and wind on a thread base to the bend. Leave a long tag end for use later in splaying the tails.

2. Select four Micro Fibbets and tie them in. These should be approximately twice the length of the shank.

3. With your bodkin, divide the Micro Fibbets and bring the long tag of thread we left at the tie in forward through the two bunches and take a couple of turn of thread. Now pulling gently on that long tag, you will note the tails splay nicely. When you get a good angle on them, (about 60 degrees) tie the tag down firmly and cut off the end.

4. To get the Micro Fibbets to lay together in pairs, place a bit of dubbing wax on your finger and thumb and stroke the Micro Fibbets in pairs. The wax will gather and hold the four pieces into two nice distinct tails.

5. Your thread should be at about mid shank, wind it forward one or two more turns so you are just forward of that point.

6. From a right and left quill select slips that are as wide as the hook gap. Holding them together so that they splay outward, tie them in. Adjust and figure eight as necessary to get them into a pleasing attitude.

7. Using your thread finish building a body. I prefer a slender slightly tapered body made with thread only. It is fast and easy, and seems not to suffer from the sparseness. If you like a more robust tie, by all means feel free to add some dubbing.

Fishing Suggestions:

These flies are meant to be dead drifted in very quiet water, the same type that the naturals hatch in coincidentally. Long leaders, in the 12 ft plus lengths, and fine tippets (7 and 8X) are also a good idea.

In most of the country Tricos rule the mid summer season, tie up a bunch and go catch some big fish. But, go to bed early, this is usually an early morning hatch, and a beautiful time to be on the water.

Good luck! George E. Emanuel

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