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Female Trico Hen Spinner
By Dave Hughes

Most mayflies can be matched with dressings that work for more than one species. You need do no more than observe the size, form, and color of a collected specimen, and choose a pattern that matches it and is appropriate for the water over which you'll be casting it.

Tricos are a special case. They're rarely important in the nymph or dun stages, almost always important as spinners if they fall to the waters you're on. Because they're so tiny, size 20 and at times even size 26, you need to match them with patterns tied specifically for them.

Take some time, after the frenzy of a morning spinner fall of Tricos, to collect some specimens and observe them closely. Use a loup or handheld magnifying glass. Note their features, and compare them to the flies you've tied to match them. You might find some tweaking of what your are tying beneficial in your own fishing.

Materials List:

    Hook: Standard dry fly, 1x fine, size 20 to 24.

    Thread: Brown 8/0.

    Tail: Blue dun hackle fibers, split.

    Abdomen: Olive fur or synthetic dubbing.

    Wings: White or pale gray hen hackle tips, spent.

    Hackle: Brown, clipped top and bottom.

    Thorax: Brown fur or synthetic dubbing.

Instructions - Female Trico Hen Spinner:

1. Fix hook in vise and layer with thread. Form a bump at the bend, and tie in split hackle fiber tails a bit longer than the entire hook. Twist fine olive synthetic dubbing to the thread, and wind a slender and tapered body forward over two-thirds of the hook shank.

2. Select two matched hen hackles a bit broader than one hook gap. Measure them the length of the hook, and clip excess fibers from the stems. Tie them in together on top of the hook shank, at the end of the body, and use thread turns to position them spent. Clip the excess stems.

3. Select a hackle with fibers the length of two hook gaps. Tie it in behind the winds. Twist fine brown synthetic dubbing to the thread, and form a thorax with figure 8s between the wings, then tapered down to the hook eye.

4. Take two to three turns of hackle behind the wings, two to three in front. Tie it off, clip the stem, whip-finish the fly, anc clip your thread. Clip the hackle from the top and bottom of the fly, leaving enough to support the winds on the water.

More About Tricos:

Tricos hatch in July, August, and September in waters all across the continent. They usually show up in the morning. Trout might feed selectively on the size 22 and 24 nymphs, but it's rarely been noticed, and its doubtful they become selective to them. Trout also might focus on the duns, but again that is not very common. But spinner falls of these insects are massed, with a whole flight of them moving over the water and dropping to the surface almost at one time. Trout, even the largest of them, come up to concentrate on them when that happens.

It's not always easy to notice Trico spinner falls. They can form large, lifting and falling balls in the air, impossible to miss if the light strikes them right. But they can also move over the water and show up on the surface as if by magic. If you see trout that appear to be rising to nothing, get your nose next to the water, or better yet seine the currents with a net, and look closely to see what shows up. If it's Trico spinners, you'll need to match them to take trout. ~ DH

Credits: From Matching Mayflies, by Dave Hughes, published by Frank Amato Publications. We appreciate use permission.

For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.

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