I went to look. They were there……

After returning from the West I made my first serious early morning missions to visit my favorite mayfly of the year. Up by 4;30 AM out of the house by 5:30, rigged, ready and in the water by 6. The word was out two weeks ago that folks had begun to see the little Trico mayflies in the air and on the water. All true. The temps are finally cooling this week and with overcast skies I was sure it would be a fine morning of fishing. When I arrived at the river the air temps were in the low 60’s and a quick look  up found the birds feeding happily on the clouds of insects. Yes! I would take a long walk upstream and give the other angler on the stretch enough space to feel I was not crowding him.  The first heads did not poke up above the surface until 8AM so I spent the first part of day nymphing up a few fish from a fast water trough. A #12 prince nymph, #20 black soft hackle and a #20 zebra midge all took fish in the pockets behind rocks. The fish were between 10″-13″ and active, a good sign. At 8 I re-rigged with a #20 CDC Trico comparadun followed by a #20 CDC Trico spinner as my trailer. I made my first cast. The flies dragged through the water like a pair of synchronized jet skies. It took about 10 more casts before I could move myself into position and adjust my drift to eliminate the drag on my flies.  One small fish eventually fell to my imitation. After this fish, all fish in that area refused to rise again. I instantly remembered the word frustration as the number of  nice fish in the edge water vanished. No worries, I got back on my horse and decided to move back down stream to a flat section of water and try my hand at some of the finicky fish that should be rising along a deep rocky shoreline.

As I began following the stream side trail, walking past the other angler for a second time,  I quickly found myself  surrounded by a jungle of 8 foot stinging nettles, wood nettles and stringy potato vines. Foolishly, and driven by my excitement to get to rising fish, I ripped , tripped, and fell to the ground twice navigating my way  through the fire breathing vegetation.  My hands, arms and face all felt the familiar burn of the fire weed. I laughed and cussed and cried out until I could get back to the stream to rub my exposed skin with the cool water and sand that would provided only momentary relief from the uncomfortable sting. The Touch-Me-Not plant, which carries within its stems and leaves the soothing antidote  to the burning effect of nettles, was no where in sight.

Arriving at the targeted water, I studied long and hard every feature along the shoreline. There were no fish rising. None. The tricos were still in the air, on the water and flying low as they made their way up-stream. I decided I would rather cover water to find rising trout  instead of waiting for something that may never occur.  I would move again.

Being careful this time to stay in the water I fished my way downstream casting to the few, tiny, village idiot trout whose lips broke the waters surface. I was however, staying totally focused on any water movement that might reveille where “Walter” the giant trout might be stealthily sucking spinners.  Unfortunately I tripped on a submerged rock and face planted in a mid-stream riffle. Feeling even more athletically inclined now and knowing every fish within 50 yards of me was bent over, busting a gut and laughing uncontrollably. I decided to laugh with them. I also decided that my Trico dream was not meant to be this morning. The car was within view and I reeled up my line.

As I arrived at the bridge crossing I took one more look at the river. Along the edge of a fast water cut above the bridge there was a small pod of fish working the surface. Obviously they had not seen my entertaining fall. I worked into position and eventually caught 2 brookies and two small browns. All fell to the spinner. I was the man…..for 12 minutes.  I was a moron for three and a half hours.

In summary, the Tricos are hatching.  The 68 degree air temp held roughly true. I never felt that the hatch, spinner fall, duration of hatch, or number of feeding trout was as strong as in years past at this favorite Trico spot. I wondered if last falls flood had diminished the population. I wondered if  the hatch in this spot will still continue to build  for the next month. I wondered if  I would trip and fall anymore today:)