09/29/12

Insects and other foods the trout should be eating:
Hatching:
1.    BWOs (Little and Eastern BWOs)
2.    Little Yellow Quills
3.    Little Yellow Stoneflies
4.    Slate Drakes
5.    Needle Stoneflies
6.    Mahogany Duns

Most available/ Other types of food:
7.    Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
8.    Craneflies
9.    Beetles
10.  Grasshoppers
11.  Ants

Midges - Part 4
Midges are like caddisflies in respect to their life cycle. They undergo complete metamorphosis.
This means they start out as an egg, then change to a larva, then a pupa and finally an adult fly.
Trout eat them in three of those stages. Most all of them have at least two generations a year and
some species, depending on the type of water, have more than that. In some cases it only takes a
few weeks for the complete life cycle to take place.

Something I think is interesting is that if you carefully watch a stream in the Smokies during the
Winter, in below freezing air temperatures - one that has ice around the banks, you will probably
see some hatching midges. I doubt you will see any trout eating them on the surface but trout will
eat them subsurface under those conditions. I know because I have caught a few trout on
imitations of midges under those conditions.
Midges are one of the few types of aquatic
insects that can undergo a complete life cycle in very cold water.

I think that if I were determined to do so, and was willing to put up with the chill, I could catch a few
trout on midges under those conditions. If anyone good at fishing midges stayed on the water and
fished all day under those circumstances with the same intensity they might display on a nice warm
day, my guess they would probably catch a few trout. This is pure speculation but it's also based
on some facts and experience. Other than just staying warm and keeping the ice out of the guides,
I think the biggest problem is purely a mental one. Anglers loose confidence under such
conditions. When you loose confidence, your not able to concentrate and concentration is an
absolute must under those conditions. The trout are not going to knock the rod out of your hands
hitting a midge in water that cold. I'm not suggesting everyone should fish under those conditions.
I'm only trying to point out that the fish will eat midges in water that cold.

Something that's different about midges from other aquatic insects is the fact in most cases, they
actually get smaller as they develop. The change is usually about a hook size per stage of life. In
other words, a midge larva might be a hook size 20, but only a 22 when it changes to a pupa.
When the pupa hatches, the adult may end up being only be a hook size 24.  

In the next few articles, I will get into the details of each of the midge's stages of life and how you
go about imitating each of those stages.
Copyright 2012 James Marsh