Tiny presentation; big returns
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If all goes as planned, and it usually does with the trico hatch, expect some superb fishing on the West Branch of the Ausable River over the next few weeks.

And don't be intimidated by the prospect of fishing a size 22 dry fly (and sometimes smaller). You can do it. In fact, the hardest thing about it will be tying the tiny fly on the end of your tippet. After that, the rest is fairly easy.

The trico – Tricoythodes if you really want to get into the entomology of it all – is one of the most consistent hatches on the famed West Branch of the Ausable. And it's also, perhaps because of the tiny size of the mayflies, one of the most underfished.

That's a shame, because many anglers miss out on some memorable mornings – yes, mornings – on the water. This is a hatch that comes on banker's hours. No need to get up early for the trico hatch. You can have a big breakfast, an extra cup of coffee, and stroll out to river at mid-morning for some of the best fishing. It's about as reliable a hatch as you'll see, and stretches through the summer, bringing fish – often big fish – to the surface for pods of the little mayflies as they drift helplessly downstream.

That's where your fly comes in. Chances are you'll be competing with plenty of naturals, and you'll need a drag-free drift. And if you're like me, you probably won't actually see your fly. But you don't have to. Strike when there's a rise in the neighborhood, and you'll be right often enough to have a great morning on the river.

Still not quite sure you're ready to tackle a trico hatch on your own? No problem. Hire one of our experienced Ausable river guides for a day and you'll get not only great instruction you can carry with you forever, you'll get some tips on some new stretches of river to fish. We're not shy about sharing our fishing secrets up here, especially with so many miles of river loaded with trout.

(One word of caution: weather has been pretty warm of late, so keep a close eye on water temperatures and, if they climb into the high 60s, give the trout a break. Cooler nights are what's needed to bring water temps to fishable levels, and that usually happens in short order after a warm spell.)

So yeah, the trico is a tiny mayfly, but it's a big deal here on the West Branch of the Ausable River. Fish the hatch and you'll see why – even if you can't see your fly on the water.

Steve Piatt

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