sausner blog

sausner blogGuest Blogger: Brandon Sausner

Every dry fly enthusiast and “see the take addict” has found themselves out of answers. The fish are exploding to the surface in what has to be cruel mockery and the behavior of an indecent species. A day when elusive native trout take insects so close to you the noise startles. You’ve methodically rummaged through the dry boxes, the midge box, and the emerger box. Have you “unmatched” the hatch?  Maybe you even swung some wets that a friend of yours tied and never named and explained to you. You’re glaring at the surface, the film, the bubble lines and back eddies but you don’t understand. You came out for the areas fabled Trico hatch that will sometimes mingle with a rogue flurry of Blue Wing Olives but the best you get is a few refusals. It’s not fair you researched the patterns tied by local legends and have several different imitations and they all look great, at least to you. Knife, fork, revolvers, the bill and tip paid in advance, but the trout gods won’t bring out your steak.

Three hours later the feeding frenzy begins to wane and you stagger downstream to find your also skunked compatriot.  The two of us walked the stream for a while encountering water flogging client crushing trout on top in a mystic riffle and notoriously disliked local guide trying to fix bad casting from the shore. It’s all wag the dog anyway because this slap caster is hooking up regularly and can’t bridle his excitement long enough to listen.  After standing mesmerized for a small eternity my affable and loquacious pal strikes up a conversation with guide, and spins our tale of failure.  The guide was friendlier than anticipated as is often the case regarding those who are ground up in the rumor mill.  All of a sudden he cocks his head and makes the sort of face that may have garnered him his sullied reputation and says “Tricos, the Trico hatch ended last week, the fish are on Caenis now and won’t even touch a Trico.“  I think we would have preferred being punched in the face. I had never ever heard of this Caenis hatch and we had none in our quivers. We headed for the car and laughed at the whole thing. I got home and looked up the fly and its difference from a Trico is legitimate yet minuscule. Two important lessons learned!

  • Fish are pricks!
  • It never hurts to ask.


  1. Timely story and all too true. As I was floating back to the put in today around 11AM after five productive hours on a lonely stretch of river, I happened on another old guy fishing the river. We had met before and he knew I was a streamer guy. I don’t know when he got on the river, but the Tricos started about 9AM. At the head of every deep hole or deep riffle corner, rainbow and brown trout made the river look like a simmering pot of boiling water. For him, finding fish was not the issue. Clearly one of those “see the take addicts”, he was tossing tiny dries into the fray of rising fish. Although he was connecting regularly, most of the fish were on the small side. His lament to me was that anytime he connected with a strong fish, his light tippet quickly broke as the fish sought cover in the thick weeds.

    My technique was clearly more effective, yet barbaric, than his and I occasionally got to “see the take”. I offered to show him how I did it. Positioning myself slightly above and to the side of the pod of rising fish, my fly, a 2 inch long black bugger plopped into the fray. Of course the largest and most dominant fish in the pod charged the fly, leaving behind a discernable wake (see the take!). I quickly landed a nice 16” rainbow, the 0X tippet unencumbered by the fish’s attempt to escape into the weeds. Of course the commotion of the fight put down the Trico feeding frenzy, but a couple of more casts deeper into the pool resulting a two more nice trout (although I didn’t see the take). Unfortunately, the old angler was un-equipped to feed the fish the way I had. We talked trout, kayaks, flies and gear for a while before I headed downstream again. When you want to catch a trout that’s feeding—feed um!

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