So, I’m back on my home water dealing with all the demons associated with the trico hatch, its spinner fall, aging eyesight and having just returned from a trip where all I fished were dry flies and none of them were smaller than a size 12. Add in that it’s July 3 and all the jittery nervousness that goes along with fishing on the day before a major holiday. But I’ve just spotted the first rising trout of the day after waiting and watching the river for close to an hour. During that hour it took every bit of my willpower to not just cast helter-skelter to the water. I’ve learned that on this river you just have to wait for the first rising trout and it requires the same kind of discipline and resolve that keeps good big game hunters from fidgeting on a stand. In my case it also takes a solid faith that the trico hatch and spinner fall will happen today. It may be heavy or it may be sparse, but it will happen.

I start off with a size 22 trico dun imitation and get a few refusal rises which tell me either the trout will be picky today or somehow my imitation isn’t presenting in a natural fashion. And that’s a drag. I fuss with that, change fly patterns and still the trout don’t like what I’m showing them and never do until the first of the spent spinners arrive splayed out on the water’s surface. I like get on the spinner fall fast so I knot a 15-inch long section of 6X to the bend of the hook on the trico dun imitation and tie my favorite size 22 trico spent spinner imitation to it. All the while more and more trout are rising.

I’m figuring I hit pay dirt when I get the first strike, but I’ve actually foul-hooked the trout on the trailing spent spinner imitation. I try to convince myself that I was just late on the strike, but I know the trout might very well have been going for a natural and just happened to be in way of my trailer when I set up. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t count. But I do manage to land and release three or four legitimately hooked trout before the spinner fall trails off. I have been so involved with the fishing that I don’t even notice that most of the other fly fishers have left the river. They are probably frustrated because the spinner fall was pretty short-lived today or they’re getting antsy about the pre-July 4 traffic that is bound to be chugging its way up the pass toward the mountains.

Fortunately, the PMD’s aren’t worried about traffic on the pass and start pouring out of the riffles. I live for this. I have most of the river to myself and the trout are rising to a different hatch. I also have the secret fly patterns. I know this for a fact unless something has drastically changed over the past 10 or 15 years. I also know that unlike the tricos you don’t have to fish to rising trout during this PMD hatch. If you can spot a fish in a feeding lane and put a bleached blond Elk Hair addis over it or a more specific match such as a PMD floating emerger pattern you’ll be into trout.

And it’s true. I’m thigh deep in the river talking to myself. I’d be singing but I might put the trout down.