This is a little trico spinner pattern that I came up with back when I was guiding the South Platte. Tricos are such tiny bugs, and sit so low in the water, it’s just plain hard to see ’em. I got to playing around at the bench and came up with the idea to add a hackle through the thorax to increase the angler visibility without compromising the silhouette of the fly. A happy side effect was that the hackle helped the flotation of the fly too. I also believe that the hackle actually adds to the silhouette of the fly, providing that wide wing profile that fish are looking for when searching the surface for their next meal. This type of spinner pattern is really nothing unusual, nor is the addition of the hackle, but it did sprout from my weary head, so I’m claiming credit for it here. I like to grease this up with a bit of floatant and attach it to a long, thin leader. I prefer knotted leaders for this type of fishing, where presentation is of paramount importance. The knotted leaders turn over so much better than factory extruded leaders and are much more accurate. Fish feeding on tricos won’t move far for a bite, and you’ve got to get the fly right between their eyes to interest them. This pattern, coupled with an accurate drift, has proven to be money in the bank for me.
Hook: TMC 101 #18-26
Thread: 10/0 Black for male Spinner, 8/0 Pale Olive for female spinner
Tails: 3 White Microfibbetts
Abdomen: Tying thread
Hackle: Grizzly neck or saddle
Wings: White McFlylon
Thorax: Black Superfine Dubbing
Clip an eight-inch long section of tying thread from the bobbin and set this piece aside for the time being; you’ll need it in a minute. Attach the thread to the hook and wrap a thin base back to the bend.
Clip three microfibbetts from the clump and measure them so they are at least twice as long as the hook shank. Tricos have very long tails, but if you make the stiff artificial tails too long they can act as a deterrent to the fish getting the fly in his mouth, so don’t go crazy with the length.
Tie the tail in atop the hook right at the bend of the hook. Wrap forward over the butt ends about three turns.
You should now have the three tails slightly elevated and separated from one another as shown.
Grab that extra chunk of thread that you set aside earlier and loop it around the bend of the hook. This piece of thread will separate the tails.
Pull the loop of thread up on either side of the center tail fiber. The thread loop should be between the center tail and the outside tails, separating them into three single fibers. Pull the thread forward along the hook shank. By varying how tight you pull on the thread loop you can control how much spread there is to the tails. I like them to be fairly widely spread to enhance flotation on the back of the fly. Once you have the tails positioned where you want them, bind down the loop of thread with the tying thread.
Clip the butt ends of the tails as well as the tag ends of the thread loop. Build a smooth thread abdomen from the bend of the hook to the seventy percent point on the shank. The body can be either very thin or slightly robust. The natural is pretty chunky, but the fish don’t seem to notice if yours is a little on the skinny side.
Select and measure a hackle feather so that the barbs are at least one and a half gap widths wide. Prep the end of the hackle feather by stripping the barbs for a length of about three eye lengths
Tie the hackle feather in by its butt end at the seventy percent point/front of the abdomen. Lay a thread base from the front edge of the abdomen to the hook eye and back to the eighty-five percent point (center of the thorax).
Take a smallish clump of McFLylon and attach it to the hook at an angle with a couple turns of thread.
Pull the McFlylon wing on the far side of the hook toward the front of the hook to lay the wings perpendicular to the hook and take another couple thread wraps over the center of the wing in an X pattern. That is, the first two turns went from back to front, near to far side, and these two turns will go from front to back, near to far. You are X-ing the wings into position.
Once the wings are locked down, dub the thread with a very thin layer of dubbing and wrap a pronounced thorax from the front of the abdomen, forward through the wings, to the index point on the hook. Make an X-wrap through the wings with the dubbed thread as you go.
Palmer the hackle forward through the thorax, with three turns of hackle behind the wings and two turns in front. Tie the hackle off at the index point and clip the excess.
Whip finish the thread at the eye of the hook and clip it. Cut the wings to one shank length long.
Trim the hackle flat across the bottom of the fly, as close to the thorax as you can get.
Finished fly, front view.
Female trico spinner with an olive thread abdomen. All other components are the same. Sometimes, the fish like the lady version too.