Camera: Nikon D200

Lens: Nikon Micro 105 f2.8

Here is a piece I recently wrote on tricos for the Sun Valley Magazine blog:  

There is really nothing physically large about a tiny trico. In fact, you could fit about a dozen of the adult mayflies on the tip of your pinky. And yet, their lore in the fly fishing world looms large. Tricos may well be one of the most talked about hatches in the West.

The diminutive size of the small bug, coupled with the sheer volume of their dancing airborne swarms, makes for an absolutely magnificent display. Added to the wonder of the prolific, face-tickling hatch is its general predictability: like many of the best firework shows, it is as brief as it is glorious, appearing for maybe two or three hours on summer mornings at Idaho’s Silver Creek. And, in case you come to expect the glittering, clockwork-like trico spinner fall, the wind will decide to blow every trico all the way to some abandoned and dry motel swimming pool in the Midwest.

But it’s the brevity of the thing that brings us back—the heavy concentration of an extreme number of mayflies that will only last three hours at best. Those in-the-know make the most of it: the alarm is set to get us to the creek by 7:45 am. By noon fishermen are headed north for cooler weather or lunch, and the clouds of tricos have settled and died. Rain clouds may follow in the afternoon, as a baetis hatch takes the place of the trico show and a few terrestrial fishermen armed with beetles, ants and hoppers lick their chops in the aftermath.

For the finned predators who are the real winners on these days, it can be a frenetic thing. Once the tricos start hitting the water as spent (dead) mayflies, they are extremely easy targets for the trout below. The fallen hatch—resembling miniscule crashed airplanes—cover the water in such extraordinary numbers that the adept feeders below will often move through the water like humpback whales feeding on krill, attempting to sip as many spent tricos as possible in one graceful motion. The feeding can be so good trout will pod up in the best feeding lanes and take as many of these tiny fallen creatures as time will allow. Imagine dozens and dozens of beautiful trout feeding on the surface like it’s their last meal.

It’s this last meal concept—and the thought of tying on a #22 female trico spinner to the end of a 14-foot leader in cold, gin clear, spring-fed water—that gets many of us through a particularly long winter.

Link to the Sun Valley Magazine Web Site:  Click Here