Pro Tips: Doc’s Top 5 Trico Patterns

By Doc Thompson


Tricos can hatch in huge numbers throughout late summer and early fall.
Photo by Doc Thompson

It’ s Trico time on many trout rivers and streams, especially here in New Mexico. Tricos adults have three tails with a small, black body and clear-to-whitish wings similar to scotch tape. Tricos are small to tiny mayflies, ranging from size 18 down to 22 or even smaller. In New Mexico, we have an early Trico hatch that is size 16, but for the most part we see sizes 18 to 22. Here are several highly effective Trico patterns for fishing fast riffles to slow moving water.

1. Black Snowshoe Spinner

2. Black Splitsville Spinner

3. Cannon’s Trico Bunny Dun

4. Parachute Trico

5. Trico Emerger

If you’re like most people, it’s hard to see a size 20 Trico dry or spinner. A simple trick is to tie the tiny Trico dry fly or spinner about 20 inches off a slightly bigger dry fly, such as a size 16 Parachute Adams or Elk-Hair Caddis. If you see a rise near the bigger dry fly, set the hook!

Doc Thompson is an Orvis-Endorsed Guide in northern New Mexico, as well as an Orvis contract fly tier.

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