Fly fishermen call the little black bodied/white winged mayfly a Trico. Aquatic biologists call it a Tricorythodes. Either name will do. If you have nothing better to do between now and the first frost, and enjoy fishing tiny dry flies during early mornings until around 11, visit most of our cold-water trout streams with a pocketful of tiny flies and some very thin tippet.
I begin looking for the clusters of airborne mayflies anytime after July 5. Falling Spring Branch is one of the more popular streams. It flows through Chambersburg, and I’ve spotted enough Tricos to entice trout to rise.
I tie my flies on a size 20 dry fly hook. For the tail, I use a few barbs from a white saddle hackle and use black thread for a body. I’ve tried a variety of patterns suggested by other fly fishers, but have settled on a stiff white rooster neck feather wrapped a few times around the hook near the eye. Instead of leaving the hackle full like a Catskill tie, I trim off the bottom and top of the feather so the fly lies in the surface film, but still floats.
As the summer progresses, the Trico seems to get smaller to a size 22 to 24 dry fly hook. I can’t see much less tie a tiny hook to my tippet, so I simply use size 20 hooks and shorten the length of the body. It seems to work for me.
As for the leader, I used to build leaders and tippets following the George Harvey pattern, but lately, I guess I’ve gotten lazy. Now I use a tapered leader of 7 1/2 feet, stopping at a 4X. From there, I use another short piece of 4X, then add about a foot of 5X, a foot long piece of 6X and finishing with about 30 inches of 7X to which I tie my fly.
7X tippet is a lot stronger than the sewing thread I learned to fish with. Today, 7X tipped has a breaking strength of about 3 pounds, which should be enough to land local trout.
Precision Flies in Mount Holly can help if you’re new to fly-fishing. It’s a good little fly shop, and the clerks seem knowledgeable.