Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
1. BWOs (Little BWOs)
3. Little Winter Stoneflies
Most available/ Other types of food:
4. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
This Week's Featured Trout Food - Midges
"Midge" is a common name for insects in the Chironomidae family. They are also known as chironomids.
They are non-biting insects as opposed to those that are similar but that do bite. They are closely related to
the Ceratopogonidae, Simuliidae, and Thaumaleidae insects all of which are similar in appearance to
mosquitoes. The exact number of species in this family isn't known but it is estimated to be over 10,000.
Chironomidae insects are so plentiful, it would be difficult to find water anywhere that didn't have the little
insects. I'm referring to water ranging from clear trout streams to mud puddles to sewers. This includes every
pond and lake as well as moving streams or rivers.
Midge imitations are not popular flies that are used in the Smokies. If you closely examined every angler's fly
boxes that fished Great Smoky Mountains National Park for the next three months, I doubt you would find
over a small percentage of them that had midge imitations. Those that did most likely would be anglers that
also fished tailwaters and just happen top use the same fly boxes. If you tried to find an angler actually fishing
an imitation of a midge in the Smokies, you may be looking for a very long time. It's difficult to find many
anglers fishing the Smokies during the Winter and those that do, usually don't use midges.
I did notice that Derek, a Perfect Fly customer from Atlanta, used them on his trip here last week and I put
that in my last "fishing report".
I fished double rig (I know that's not your recommendation) with bwo nymph on top and small 20-22 midges
below. Caught all with the midge (5 to hand and 3 that I didn't get close enough to know which they had bit.)
I switched over to bwo dun with midge dropper and nothing with that and caught again once I switched back
to the nymphs.
So - at least for where I was it was the midges that ruled the day.
3 of the fish were really fat. Fatter than anything I caught at Forney. Are these possibles females full of
eggs for the spring?
He doesn't know that you don't use midges in the Smokies. Poor Derek, he should pay more attention to the
local fly shop expert fishing reports and stay home and tie flies. One expert that hasn't fished the park in
years can actually tell you how many trout you are going to catch before you even go fishing. Accordingly, I
could have only caught two yesterday, so I stayed home and watched Hank Patterson advice on midges..
By the way Derek, I do use a double rig at times in tailwaters with fairly level bottoms with a larva as the
bottom fly and a pupa a few inches and in a few other specific situations.
The main reason for this lack of attention for the midge in the streams of the Smokies is simply that most
anglers just don't believe in the fly’s effectiveness in the small streams of the park. They have been taught to
fish by anglers that know as much about aquatic insects as I know about brain surgery.
Midges are small, usually very small. Imitations of them are so small that most of us have a very difficult time
tying them on our tippet. It's such a problem that it led to the development of a “midge threader”, a very
handy device, I might add. Make no mistake about it, the little midges are very effective on all trout
streams including the Smokies and lakes and yes, they will catch large trout.
It's thought that midges represent about one-half of the insects in streams and lakes. Although streams and
lakes with soft bottoms and weed beds usually have more than the freestone streams of the Smokies, where
there's water, you will find midges. If water supports trout, it has midges. This includes fast flowing freestone
mountain streams. It doesn't matter whether the bottom is muddy, rocky, or sandy, midge species of one type
or another can survive.
Another important consideration for local tailwaters, lakes and freestone streams is that midges normally
hatch periodically, just about year-round, and are available as food for trout in the larvae, pupae or adult
Midges are two-winged flies that begin life from an egg deposited by swarming adults as they mate and skim
over the surface of the water. Some species deposit their eggs underwater on structure and plants. Some of
the species are free-swimming larvae and others form tubes from the bottom materials that they live in. To be
continued next week............
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
New Schedule of Daily Articles
Mondays: Weather and Stream Conditions
Forecast - Coming Week
Tuesdays: Fly Fishing Strategies - Which
Flies To Use - Coming Week
Wednesday: Fishing Tales
Thursday: Smoky Mountains Fishing Report
Friday: Getting Started
Saturday: Fly Fishing School
Sunday: This Week's Featured Trout Food