One of the Little Lehigh’s treasures was Al Miller.
Al fished the Little Lehigh about fifty-five hours a week, fifty-two weeks a year. He did so for thirty-five years. He was a vigilant observer of the stream insects and their imitation. His observations sometimes resulted in patterns which out fish traditional patterns. One such pattern is Al’s Trico.
Most of the consistently successful patterns have two things in common They are easy to tie and look the same from all angles. Al’s imitation of tricorythodes stygiatus meets these criteria.
Imitative patterns have a primary triggering device, which induces the “take.” For some organisms it’s the silhouette, for others it’s the color, behavior or size. It’s important to capture the “primary triggering device” and once captured, not to hide it or make a mistake. For trico duns and spinners it’s the silhouette of the thorax and abdomen.
Al’s pattern starts at the eye of a size 24 Mustad #94840 hook and winds 12/0 thread (black for males, white for females) to the bend. A #22 grizzly hackle is tied in. A black thorax is dubbed and tied in over the spear of the hook. Two or three turns of grizzly are wrapped over the thorax and tied off. Wind the thread to the eye and whip finish it. The fly is completed.
Between July and October male Trico duns emerge through the night; females in the early morning. Swarms of spinners hover above the water (particularly over canopied riffles) peaking at mid-morning, falling spent by late morning.
During the first weeks of the hatch the trout are easy to catch as they gorge themselves with reckless abandon. As the season progresses they become very selective, rising to the silhouette then refusing the fly as they see oversized wings or other mistakes.
Al’s pattern eliminates this problem. Selectively feeding trout are looking for what’s right not what’s wrong. Since Al’s trico has no wings or tail to turn them off, they rise to the silhouette and take the fly. The pattern works for duns and spinners.
The Little Lehigh Fly Shop enjoyed the opportunity of hosting Fran Gough and his entourage as he studied Tricorythodes Stygiatus.
Fran placed nets in the water, checking them every hour periodically for four months.
It's interesting to note, many of the millions of specimens had RED thoraxes! When we brought them to the attention of Dr Greg Hoover he
identified the red to be caused by internal mites.
I started fishing Trico patterns with red thoraxes with success!