The “Traffic Jam” Trico Cluster
If you’d rather fish a #14 fly during a heavy Trico hatch than a #22, check out the Traffic Jam
Many of us who have fished Trico hatches probably have a love-hate relationship with them. These notoriously prolific hatches bring a lot of fish to the surface but it can be impossible to pick out your #22 imitation from the thousands of others on the surface. A fish could strike your fly and you wouldn’t even know it because there are so many rises surrounding it. Probably many of us have wished we could fish a larger, easier-to-see pattern that we could distinguish from the mayhem during these exciting hatches. This led some people to design double and triple Trico patterns that were a littler easier to see, but were unrealistic because of the way they are tied in perfect alignment (trunk-to-tail so to speak). After years of observation, I had an epiphany that led to the creation of the Traffic Jam.
What I noticed was that even during heavy hatches where many fish are gently slurping individual spinners, I’d occasionally see a seemingly unnecessarily violent rise to these diminutive flies. There’s no risk of a tiny, dead or half-dead spinner fleeing the surface so why would a trout attack a Trico with such force? What I realized was that the smarter (and often larger) trout were targeting clusters of spinners rather than individuals. If you think about it, it makes sense. When you’re down to the last few Cheerios in your bowl, you probably spoon up the ones that are clustering together by the forces of Cheerio-magnetization before going after the loaners. Much the same way, if a trout is going to expend energy rising at all, it’s a better return on investment to target a cluster of 6 or 7 than to risk missing an individual. After trying a few prototypes, I settled on this one and named it “Traffic Jam” because of the way Trico spinners tend to clump together during heavy hatches.
The Traffic Jam (because of it’s size) allows you to fish a much more visible fly during heavy hatches of the minuscule Trico. And because the rise to a cluster is more aggressive than an individual, you’ll be able to detect the strike to your fly better than the dozens of sipping trout taking individual naturals around it.
How to Fish it
The Traffic Jam was designed for heavy hatches but also works on thin ones. Fish it in a typical upstream, side stream, or downstream dead-drift presentation. I recommend coating the fly with floatant and using 6X tippet but be prepared for a hard strike (don’t set the hook too hard otherwise you’ll break the tippet).
Hook: 2X long Dry Fly Hook (Such as Tiemco 5212) #14
Thread: 8/0 UNI Thread, Black
Abdomens: White Hareline Ultra Chenille Micro
Thoraxes: Black Sharpie Marker
Tails, Legs, Wings: Grizzly Hackle, size 16