Every year I can’t wait to challenge my clients and myself to the most difficult of the mayfly hatches……..

This year fishing the Tricos has been the most difficult I have seen in years. First and foremost, I have observed  a much lower concentration of the insect both in the air and on the water. In years past the mating clouds that I search for prior to the spinner fall have been sparse in number or nonexistent. As I search for the birds that normally dive and drive through these clouds of bugs, it seems their activity has understandably been diminished as well. As the air temps begin to warm and the mating is complete for the day, the clouds of mayflies get closer to the water. The females lay their eggs and fall to the waters surface in the spent position. This is usually the time when the fish go nuts. In the past the insects would fall to the water in mass and all the fish in the area would be beckoned to the waters surface to feed on these tiny morsels. They would eat as if a free bucket of popcorn was placed at every seat at the movie theater. Over the years there would be hundreds of the little carcases in every square foot of water and the fish would feed with reckless abandon. The back eddies would be choked with hundreds of thousands and the spider webs would be full. Not this year. In all of my outings this year, I am lucky to observe two or three tricos in a square yard. Don’t get me wrong, the Tricos are there, and some fish are up on them, but in my opinion it is obvious that this is a down year for this population.

On a positive note, fish are still being caught and the number of brook trout being caught seems to be on the up tick as I talk with other anglers. Some brookies in the 11″, 12″, 13″ have been landed by my clients. In past years, once the morning trico hatch was over fish would be difficult to catch. It seemed they would feed heavily on the tricos and then go to their holding lies, resting after the large breakfast. Many anglers would go home. This year I have stayed and found the nymph fishing to be very good in the afternoon. To me this makes sense since they are not feeding as heavily  on tricos and may have room left for a side dish and dessert.

 I have fished this hatch on many rivers both here in the Mid-west and in the West and although I get the sense that pickin’s are slimmer this year, it is still great to be on the river at sunrise and see the fish come to the surface. Let me know how your trico fishing has been this year.