One of my absolute favorite tactics for fishing spinner falls is dropping a Sunken Trico Spinner off the bend of a dry fly or nymph. These little guys are especially deadly on pressured creeks where trout see dozens of sloppy presentations and artificial flies. Sunken spinners are nothing new to the Trico scene and have proven themselves on many tough trout streams. Like any hatch, fish get wise to the whole (dry) fly fishing game, but sunken spinners will often fool fish that are hesitant to take a fly on the surface.
Along with taking cautious fish, sunken spinners will still provide good action long after trout have stopped rising to the morning spinner fall. This is one of my personal favorite tactics for late summer and early fall. Tricos are one of the most prolific and dependable hatches on Driftless streams (and many other regions), popping of quite regularly during the summer and fall months, and trout become accustomed to seeing sizable numbers of these bugs on a daily basis. Plenty of them get churned underwater and drift through the system long after the duns and spinners have quit their aerial activity. On any given moment in early September, you’re likely to find at least a few drowned spinners flowing through a trout stream, particularly in the lower stretches. And trout don’t ignore them.
Sunken spinners are nearly always on my nymphing rig during Trico season. I like to hang them 14“ behind an attractor nymph, usually something like a Trout Snatcher or Squirrel and Copper. Fish them as you would any prospecting nymph rig, casting to any likely riffles and pools. Back eddies and foam lines are particularly productive spots as they collect tons of bugs – and feeding trout. And while they’re certainly quite effective right after the trout stop rising, don’t forget to toss them during later hours.
Here’s the recipe (or try a few from the shop HERE)…
Sunken Trico Spinner –
- Hook: #20 Tiemco 2488H (wide gap, short shank, heavy wire)
- Thread: Black 8/0 UNI
- Bead: 1.5MM (1/16″) Black Nickel
- Tail: Microfibbets or grizzly hackle fiber
- Abdomen: Black thread
- Wing: Gray or white cdc
- Thorax: Black superfine dubbing