Clouds of Tricos

blur sky

heavy sky

“Tricos! They’re everywhere! They’re on my raincoat. They’re on my glasses. They’re in my mouth. There are clouds of them undulating along the river. And the fish are up. They’re up all over the place. I have to get out there. This isn’t going to last forever. Nothing does. Things come and go. They come and go. I have to gear up fast. I have to get out there before it goes”.

-robert garnier


It has been cool and rainy and the bugs have made an appearance, and so have the fish. I’ve been on the Crowsnest river after work looking for sippers feeding on Baetis and this weekend I got to spend a full day on one of my favorite rivers out on the prairies. I was expecting a good Trico hatch so I got there early. It was full-blown when I arrived and the fish were already pushing the surface chomping on Tricos, the primary may fly, and Baetis (secondary). My heart started racing.

back bow

broad back rainbow

blur bow

post valley (1)

hike down to river


tree stand

spent tricos

spent tricos


rainbow caught on size 20 dry


trico hatch

There are few Trico rivers in my area. Most of my experience fishing this hatch has been on the Missouri river in Montana and Silver Creek in Idaho. What I witnessed today was comparable and the fish bigger. It always amazes me how single-minded trout can become when they focus on this little may fly. What also amazes me is that you can actually catch, with some luck, a large fish casting such a tiny fly, size 20 or less. What was just as unbelievable is that I fished in solitude. It was just me, clouds of Tricos and rising fish down in the coulee.

Impressive trout feeding on tiny flies often in a foot or less of water. Fly fishing just doesn’t get any more challenging or better.

head on

rainbow caught on size 20 trico



2 thoughts on “Clouds of Tricos

    • Les: Thanks for dropping in. Really enjoyed your recent post on Henry’s Fork on blog: the Ignorant Angler. It made me want to drive down there and fish. The two fly shops in Last Chance are always fun to visit and quite impressive. Take care.

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